What’s on this weekend: English Heritage myths and legends at Eltham Palace

An opportunity to experience medieval life will take place as spectators can witness one of Britain’s most historic sports in an authentic Tudor residence.

The thrills, spills and excitement of a medieval joust will be recreated at Eltham Palace and Gardens on Saturday and Sunday as part of the English Heritage myths and legends series, writes James Twomey.

Spectators will experience the exhilarating and colourful spectacle of speed and skill as knights in shining armour compete for honour and glory in the Legendary Joust.

Fearless fighters will charge at full speed on their brave steeds in an unforgettable display of chivalry and courage.

Audience members can choose their knightly champion to cheer on to victory – or console them in defeat.

Away from the jousting action, visitors will be able to discover the sights, sounds and smells of medieval life in a medieval encampment – complete with merry music, cooking and crafts.

There will be talks on medieval life and society, and the chance to watch the knights dress and arm themselves and their horses in preparation for battle.

Little knights can join Sir Cuss in a spot of squire training, and take lessons in jolly japes and joking from Peterkin the jester.

English Heritage myths and legends at Eltham Palace & Gardens

Peterkin said: “Jesters and Fools had the advantage over modern comedians and satirists in that they were friends with their lords or ladies and masters or mistresses.

“Their jests, while often dressed in jocularity, could often be very effective in causing the powerful to stop and think.

“Because they were kept within the household, almost a member of the family, they had the ear of those they served in the way that their modern counterparts – hurling their comic quips from the outside, could never dream of.

“To be honest, it’s the only job I could ever really do – silliness, stupidity and senselessness are my middle names (my mother was very cruel).

I first donned the cap and bells in 1992, having trained as a clown and performed at Billy Smart’s Circus.

“Whether standing upside down on an audience member, balancing on a rickety pair of stilts or setting myself on fire, I can promise incompetence at every turn.

“You will find me at Eltham Palace next weekend performing set shows at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm, and creating numbskullery and nuisance throughout the rest of the day.”

Thrill-seekers of all ages can test their aim in ‘have-a-go’ archery, and watch magnificent birds of prey being put through their airborne paces by historical falconers.

For more information about the day, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk

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