Haughley Medieval Fair near Stowmarket marks 850th anniversary of castle siege
More than 2000 people enjoyed a medieval fair in honour of one of the most important sieges in British history.
Residents in Haughley, near Stowmarket, were transported to the 12th century on Saturday with a battle reenactment, Punch and Judy performances, traditional folk music, the lighting of the beacon, barbecue food and dance workshops from the Haughley Hoofers.
Organiser Kieron Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Bakery, was pleased with the event’s success and said a particular highlight of the day was seeing a fire juggling circus performer.
He said: “It all went very well and really brought the community together.
“The reenactment saw two groups dressed as knights marching and chanting around the village with swords.
“They got to the edge of the green and as soon as they saw the opposing army - they charged and there was a big mock fight between the two sides, which was very good to watch.”
The fair also saw an exhibition hosted in Haughley village hall and showcased historic documents for visitors to enjoy.
The four-day siege of Haughley Castle took place in 1173 and saw thousands of soldiers die during the rebellion of King Henry II.
The castle was one of the largest in the country at the time and the King often spent Christmas at the fortress.
After being destroyed in the siege, the castle was rebuilt in the 1500s with a Manor House being built within the Inner Bailey and the Outer Bailey gradually filled.
The Palmer family have roots in the village dating back to 1462 and have run a family bakery since 1869 - and the village’s history is very important to the current owner, Kieron.
He said: “A lot of people do not realise the extent of just how important Haughey's history is.
“It’s a really interesting piece of history and people don’t realise that in the centre of the village is home to one of most impressive fortifications in all of England.
“It was a castle manned by a thousand troops - and they knew what they were doing when they built it.”