EXPLOSIVE cannon fire heralded two days of thrilling jousting action and bruising battlefield encounters as thousands of visitors flocked to the spectacular annual jousting on Loxwood meadow.
In the fast-paced jousting tournament, crowds enjoyed a classic medieval tale as gallant Sir Thomas and Sir Charles took on dastardly Sir Kenneth and Sir Hector as they fought to claim the title Lord of Loxwood.
Organiser Maurice Bacon said: “Every year we aim to bring the very best medieval performers and traders – many of them local to Loxwood – to provide a terrific day of family entertainment.
“It’s fun and thrilling, but also educational and that’s the balance we look for.
“Seeing the faces of the children meeting their heroes is wonderful – I think we set a record for the number of selfies taken this year!”
Over on the battlefield, more than 40 re-enactors presented a tale of the Kings Men versus the freemen of Sussex, with cannons, archers and sword play keeping everyone on their toes.
All around Loxwood meadow, hundreds of children were inspired to try new skills – in archery, on a wooden jousting horse and in the jester’s juggling school.
It’s no surprise so many were practising with wooden swords and shields, their faces painted with wounds for the occasion.
They listened attentively as ‘The Executioner’ described his gruesome medieval torture and the falconer showed off the skills of his birds of prey.
On the woodland stage, musical entertainment came from the award-winning Medieval Baebes, the Chiddingly Mummers and The Dancing Roses – and there was plenty of crowd interaction as medieval characters including Jester Devil Stick Peat, ‘the lepers’, the Medieval Housewife and her Tyrannical Husband roamed through the crowds, entertaining of they went.
New attractions at the popular event this year included the ‘Battle of Nations’ – full combat medieval martial arts where competitors battle on to ‘the last man standing’.
Dressed in full protective armour, the heat undoubtedly played a part as Sharky, Skeletor and comrades eventually ceded to Papa Bear.
Throughout the festival, visitors discovered a treasure trove of lifestyles long lost in the mists of time.
They had the chance to wander through the living history village in the medieval meadow where inhabitants were living and working exactly as they would have done centuries ago.
The traditional wares that would have been plied by such folk were found in the medieval market place where stalls were selling arts and crafts old and new.
Younger visitors enjoyed the children’s kingdom where the medieval groat was the currency for the day.