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Middleham has celebrated its links with Richard….

Philippa at Middleham

A weekend of talks and concerts was held from Friday, 30th June until Sunday, 2nd July, to celebrate Middleham’s connections with King Richard III. I hope at least some of you managed to go along and that you enjoyed it to the full.

Richard III to be honoured in France

Unexpected news has reached us from Saumur in the Loire valley. The local wine growers have decided to commission a top artist to honour Richard with a “reclining statue” (possibly an effigy) in nearby Fontevraud Abbey. The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud is the burial place of some of Richard’s most famous ancestors: Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their son Richard I, “the Lionheart”.

A crowdfunding campaign for the statue, offering the chance to obtain bottles of a future Cuvée Richard III de Fontevraud wine and holiday stays at a four star hotel in the abbey complex, will be launched at the Grandes-Tablées de Saumur-Champigny open air festival. As a spokesman for the Grandes Tablées explained: “Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart did a lot for wine in Anjou [the old province centred on the modern department of Maine-et-Loire] and Bordeaux, so the wine growers had the idea of paying their respects to the family by offering a statue to Richard III in a few years’ time.”

The festival, which is going into its 15th year, takes place on 5 and 6 August and this year has a suitably British theme. British food made from local produce will be served, accompanied by local wine from 20 tasting points, and five bands will play British pop hits. Tickets, which include an engraved wine tasting glass, are available from the local tourist office. For full details see here.

The effigy of Eleanor of Aquitaine at Fontevraud Abbey

Castle Barnard celebrates the life of Richard III with a weekend of festivities….

Richard Weekend

This article has been taken from The Northern Echo, and was first published Sunday 24 May 2015 in the Barnard Castle News.

Barnard Castle Town Council and the Northern Dales Richard III Group, alongside the Friends of the Bowes Museum, are holding a several events between July 3 and 5, to celebrate the town’s close connection with the monarch who was Lord of Barnard Castle from 1474 until his death at Bosworth.

On Friday, July 3, Prof Lin Foxhall, Head of Ancient History and Archaeology at Leicester University, will be speaking at the Bowes Museum while on Saturday, July 4, a medieval fair will be held on Scar Top which will feature living history ‘Time Will Tell’ theatre as ‘King Richard’ and ‘Queen Anne’, medieval musicians ‘Caliban’s Dream’ and the period re-enactors ‘Time Bandits’.

At 6.30pm that night, an 80-ticket medieval banquet will also be held in St Mary’s Church, with a medieval-inspired menu of soup, a hog-roast and baked pudding, and specially-brewed ale.

The weekend will close with a commemorative evensong, on Sunday, July 5, at 4pm, at St Mary’s Parish Church, with the Heritage Singers and Heritage Masterworks Chorale leading the music, and the Right Reverend John Pritchard, former bishop of Jarrow and Oxford, preaching.

Kim Harding, Chair of the Northern Dales Richard III Group, has been working with children from Green Lane Church of England Primary School to create medieval banners of local ‘Ricardian’ families to decorate the church with.

She said: “Some of Richard III’s closest friends lived in and around Teesdale – the Fitzhughs of Cotherstone and Ravensworth, Brackenburys from Gainford amongst others – and it’s great for the children to be able to connect their locality to people and events well over 500 years ago.

“Barney is privileged to have such a close association with Richard who invested hugely in the castle, town and church, regarding it as one of his most favoured homes.

“We are delighted that Time Will Tell theatre will be recreating Richard and Anne as our hosts at what promises to be a unique experience: a medieval banquet in the presence of the Lord of Barnard Castle and his Queen, in the church he endowed and where his sculpted head still adorns the chancel arch and his boar symbol underpins a window.

“But for anyone worried about sourcing a doublet and pointy shoes, although our banquet will be late C15th, medieval costume is definitely optional.”

Banquet tickets cost £30 and are available from Ms Harding by calling 01833-637018 or emailing

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