Battle Photographs part 3
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Maypole Dancing
 
Battle Festival which continues for two weeks - usually beginning at the end of May. This is a photograph of a traditional Maypole Dance of which more is mentioned in the next photograph. It is a time of year where everybody in the village gets into the spirit of medieval England. It is so strange to walk into the village and sometimes feel totally out of place because you are dressed normally. Many battle re-enactments are performed in the grounds of Battle Abbey. It would not be unusual at certain times of the year, to go into a local pub and have a Cavalier sitting one side of you at the bar and a Roundhead the other. Strange to be a filling in a historical sandwich.

 

The Maypole
 
Here is a traditional maypole. The origins of this festival are unclear. It is thought that it dates back to Roman times and danced as a tribute to Flora, the Roman goddess of spring. It must have spread through Europe with the Roman advancement. It is known that it was celebrated extensively by the Teutonic races during spring. The Saxons were of of course from these areas which would explain the tradition being introduced to England. The Romans had a presence in this country for 400 years, so it is possible that Mayday festival may not be totally attributable to the Saxons.

 

The Maypole Maidens
 
Even the youngest maidens take part.

 

Stocks
 
The traditional stocks. The use of this device is well known historically but is used to better effect nowadays by bolting your father in one and pelting him with flower or water bombs - As a money making exercise for charity of course.

 

Fire Eaters
 
Medieval entertainment. Fire eaters.

 

Medieval Craft Fayre
 
This is a view from Battle Abbey main entrance down the main road. The car park in the foreground is known as the village green. As you can probably see, there is not much grass in evidence. There are plans afoot to turn this area back to its original condition but is being resisted by the local traders as bad for business. It is the focus of village life as you can observe by this photograph of the medieval craft fayre. On November the 5th for example, the area was used until the last couple of years, along with the abbey to stage the Bonfire Boyes celebration. This ritual, carried out up and down the country to commemorate the foiling of the plot by Guy Fawkes to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 - along with King James I.

 

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copyright Glen Ray Crack - Battle - East Sussex - United Kingdom
Submitted 10th January 1998
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