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Medieval Christmas to be Brought Back to Life at Guildford Castle

Published on: 28 Nov, 2016
Updated on: 28 Nov, 2016

Have you ever wondered what went on in Guildford Castle when it was a royal palace in the middle ages?

On Sunday December 18, visitors to Guildford will have a unique opportunity to “step back in time” and experience a Medieval Christmas as it might have been celebrated around 700 years ago.

Medieval Guildford

Past Pleasures, the UK’s leading professional costumed live interpretation company, will take visitors back to 1347 to encounter King Edward III, Queen Philippa of Hainault and members of their Court – who are known to have celebrated Christmas at Guildford Castle almost 700 years ago.

Proceedings will begin at the Medieval Undercroft on Guildford High Street, where history enthusiasts and Christmas shoppers alike will meet members of His Majesty’s Court.  In anticipation, passers-by will be “instructed” in royal etiquette before musicians herald the arrival of the Royal Party – and the procession makes its way to the Castle.

King Edward and Queen Philippa will address the crowd assembled in the Castle Grounds before entering the castle where they – and members of the public – will enjoy festive merriment provided by medieval musicians and dancing – along with the promise of high jinx from the “Gong Scourer”, appointed on this occasion to be the “Lord of Misrule”.

Buoyed with Christmas cheer, the crowd will be joyfully dismissed back to the Castle Grounds where they will find seasonal stalls selling crafts, decorations and refreshments – all by local Surrey makers.

Mark Wallis, founder and artistic director of Witley-based Past Pleasures, a professional costumed live interpretation company, said: “The household accounts of the “Great Wardrobe” of Edward III show that his Court stayed at Guildford Castle in 1347, during which time the King and Queen enjoyed a Christmas masque.”

“Inspired by this visit, we are delighted to be working with Guildford Borough Council heritage services to return King Edward’s seasonal ‘disguisings’ and ‘mummings’ to the town in 2016”

Lynn Szygenda, of the council’s heritage services, organiser of the event, added: “It is very exciting to be working in Guildford with Past Pleasures who are renowned throughout the UK for their costumed interpretation in many historic venues.

“Their lively procession from the town centre and into the castle will certainly bring our medieval Guildford Castle to vibrant life this Christmas tide. We hope you will follow the King to the Castle – remember to buy your ticket to enter the castle if you want to see what happens when he goes inside.”

Christmas at Guildford Castle takes place on Sunday, December 18, 11.30am – 3.30pm.  Processions will leave the Medieval Undercroft on Guildford High Street at 12pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm.  For further information about the event:

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