Sherwood Through the Ages

King John's Camp ++

This is my second post about our visit to Sherwood Forest last Monday, which was mostly to enjoy the many encampments and historical reenactments there over the Bank Holiday weekend. I’d intended to do just a single post, but found that one would have been far too long. So in the first post I wrote about Sherwood Forest itself and its connections to the legendary Robin Hood.

Today, I’d like to share some of the photos of the events from this fun-filled day. The event itself was called ‘Sherwood Through the Ages’ and if you’d like to see some much better photos than mine, hop over to my daughter, Louise’s post at thestorytellersabode. Reenactment groups from several historical periods between the 12th century and the 1980s were present, as well as the odd tent with items of clothing and other period items:

The different encampments ย were spread out along the main pathways so they couldn’t be missed. There were interesting things to see all day, including demonstrations ย of skills and reenactments of events. But even whilst the reenactors were in their camps and carrying on their roles, they were happy to interact with visitors, answer questions and demonstrate the use of weapons and equipment.

Amongst the encampments we saw were the Bowden Retinue, a medieval group whose main theme was that of escorting ‘the lady’ on her journey, and ensuring her comfort at ever stage. This group put on a demonstration of archery which, unfortunately we mostly missed, except for the very end, when they were collecting up their arrows!

Bowden Retinue Collecting Arrows =

Other medieval groups included the ‘Crusader’ camp of King John and his knights – which also included Robin Hood and his Merry Men, the Hospitaller Knights of St. John and even a few unfortunates who had returned from the Crusades with leprosy . . .

. . . and the camp of the Wars of the Roses troop (15th century):

Reenactment groups from later historical periods included the Redcoat Scots and Jacobites (1745):

. . . and the Highwaymen who preyed on unfortunate travellers on their journey along the Great North Road as it passed through the heart of Sherwood Forest ((17th-18th centuries):

Jumping to the 20th century, we have aย group of British soldiers from WW1:

WW1 Forces A

And bringing us up to more recent times was a group of British soldiers from the 1980s:

To finish with, here are just three of the short videos we made. The first two show King John’s attempts to find a champion who was good enough to go after the ‘villainous’ outlaw Robin Hood. Several pairs of knights come head to head, and this is one of them:

And in this short video, Robert of Loxley (aka Robin Hood) – who had just stolen the Sheriff of Nottingham’s armour in order to compete – takes on the unpopular Sir Guy of Gisbourne:

The Scots Redcoats and Highland Jacobites entertained us with two reenactments during the day. One involved demonstrating how a man’s honour was satisfied by duelling. We didn’t film this, but here are a couple of photos of this event:

In this video, the Jacobites are ready and waiting to fight the approaching Redcoat Scots:


26 thoughts on “Sherwood Through the Ages

    1. Thank you, Cynthia. We’re real beginners at video-making, but they’re very useful at reenactment events like this. Photos don’t show the action half as well.

  1. Great photos! They’re really getting into it in those videos. I couldn’t help wondering in the first one what would have happened if the bloke had dropped his shield – that long axe thing looked like it would be quite difficult to control mid-swing!

    1. Hi Ali. I included that particular video because the poor ‘knight’ being attacked by the axe-wielding madman was a woman! She did well to stay on her feet as long as she did. Lou’s photos are much better than mine. I’m on my blog now because I forgot to link to her post last night. I’m blaming that on all the steps at Tintagel and St. Michael’s Mount – plus a dozen other sites – wearing us all out. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Yeah, both sites are “step-heavy” ๐Ÿ™‚ I was thinking last time I was at Tintagel in the English Heritage castle part, there’s no way I’d brave those steps in the rain.

    1. Thanks, Hedgey. Yes, I am well and enjoying the many sites of Cornwall this week. The weather has been really great, so far. Fingers crossed for the rest of the week. I hope all is well with you, too. I imagine Switzerland is looking totally amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. What an experience Millie!You have so brillianty documented the interesting reenctament events.The link you suggested has a magnificent set of photos,however yours are equally fabulous.Your videos are great too,you gave us the chance to watch everything live,to get into the real spirit of the stories and to relieve UK history.Best, Doda ~

    1. The reenactments were a lot of fun and everyone had a lovely day. We (meaning Nick and I) are still experimenting with short videos. They are so much better than just photos at events like this one. We really need a much better camera, so we’re looking into that at the moment.
      Thank you for your lovely comment, Doda,

  3. What a great post, and what a great event! How amazing, to have all those reenactments from so many different periods. So interesting, to be able to compare difference in clothing, weapons and gear over time. But I would find it hard to leave one group to go see the others!

    1. Thanks, Joy. It was interesting to see how the different groups organised their camps, as well as watching the reenactments. They were all very good and obviously well rehearsed and choreographed.

  4. That’s a great! What a lovely time you must have had at the Sherwood forest event. Wide array of attractions spanning centuries.Thanks for sharing, Millie.

    1. The people involved in reenactments are so dedicated to it all, too. They really are immersed in the time period they’re presenting. It’s great to see how much they enjoy themselves.

    1. Thanks, Lynne. Living in Nottinghamshire, our children grew up absolutely loving Robin Hood stories. We’ve all been to Sherwood many times. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Very elaborate enactments. Are they locals or actors who are hired to do this all the time? The videos were an interesting addition to the text and I would really enjoy spending a day or more here myself. The history you provided is a good background for a visit. Charley wants to know the best time to go to Sherwood Forrest. Cornwall is brilliant!

    1. The man who played the main highwayman was a really good actor. I also know from what he said to someone who asked him about what he did for a living in the ‘real world’ that he had a PhD in history. I’d say, he loved his subject.

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