East Cambsâ€™ first Medieval Pageant was hailed a great success as thousands of spectators turned out to wander round an authentic medieval encampment set up in Ely Park and watch the re-enactment of the Battle of the Bishopâ€™s Rebellion of 1342.
The two-day event featured a sprawling encampment of genuine medieval style tents, with armourers, blacksmiths, men-at-arms, knights, merchants, womenâ€™s quarters and camp followers. Nearby were hog roast stalls and a beer tent selling medieval-style honey beer and cider.
During each of the two days a continuous programme of 14th century archery, dancing, music and weapons displays kept the audiences entertained. The highlights of both days were the battle re-enactments when mini-armies of knights, archers, gunners, pikemen and foot soldiers clashed noisily and bloodily in a re-run of the decisive battle when the forces of William the Pretender, aided by the 14th century Bishop of Ely, were defeated by Edward II.
East Cambs Tourism and Events Officer Tracey Harding, who managed the marathon event along with Ely Museum said: â€œThis was the first large scale visitor event the Council has organised. We have built up a lot of valuable experience over the last few years of running bigger and bigger visitor events, such as the Apple Festival, now in its fourth year, the Eel Day, now in its second year, and the concerts in Jubilee Gardens and Ely town centre.
â€œAll of these events are aimed at continuing to build up Ely as a prime tourist attraction and shopping centre, and we are undoubtedly succeeding, as other market towns in England have been looking to Ely as a successful example of how to re-generate their own economies.
â€œThe medieval pageant is the biggest event we have run so far, and our first ever ticketed commercial venture. It took a huge amount of work to organise it, but it has been a big success, especially being the first paying event we have put on, and we have learned a lot from it. Weâ€™ve already got the planning for the Ely Christmas lights event well under way, and now weâ€™re even starting to think about events for the summer of next year!â€?