Roman re-enactments, gladiator training and a taste of ancient history – Castleford’s Roman Festival, celebrated on Saturday, demonstrated a flavour of what life was like in the town 2,000 years ago.
Revived two years ago, to celebrate the area’s rich Roman heritage, the festival has grown in popularity.
The weekend’s event, hosted in and around the town centre and Queen’s Mill, has been hailed a great success having drawn a crowd of thousands.
“What we’re trying to do is build on Castleford’s rich heritage, to make it a destination,” said Coun Richard Forster.
“It’s a way of supporting local businesses, and so many were involved, and it was really educational as well.
“This is the third year we’ve had it now, we were blessed with the weather and the crowds were even bigger this year. It was a really positive day.”
As well as treasure hunts, crafting and exhibitions, there were stilt-walkers, horse and bird of prey displays and shadow puppet workshops, with Castleford Tigers players past and present joining the celebrations.
The town’s Roman history dates back to the first century AD, with historic documents indicating it was formerly a fort known as Lagentium, meaning place of the swordsmen. As well as the fort, there were barracks, offices, granaries, stables and workshops.
Coun Forster said there was more planned to mark the town’s Roman history, and to build on the success of the festival.
“It keeps that history alive, and gives people an understanding of why Castleford is so important historically,” he said.