Medieval banquet to mark 880 years since town’s biggest battle

Janet Crampton, President Rotary Club of Northallerton and Mowbray who is one of the organisers of the banquet watches potter Victoria Baker putting the final touches to souvenir ''beakers.
Janet Crampton, President Rotary Club of Northallerton and Mowbray who is one of the organisers of the banquet watches potter Victoria Baker putting the final touches to souvenir ''beakers.
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It is Northallerton’s most famous skirmish – the Battle of the Standard, in which English forces repelled the Scottish army of King David I, with the loss or injury of some 12,000 men.

A monument to the battle stands on Cowton Moor, on the fringe of the town, but next month its 880th anniversary will be the subject of a living memorial.

A medieval banquet, in the nave of All Saints Parish Church – the only building still standing in Northallerton that bore witness to the battle and its aftermath – will be followed by a “family friendly” two-day medieval encampment.

The banquet, on August 22, will include a three-course meal of meat, fish and vegetable dishes cooked to old recipes, but adjusted for 21st century palates.

Janet Crampton, one of the organisers, said: “It was a short battle but a turning point in British history and we would like to think that the banquet will fairly faithfully replicate what would have been eaten at the time.”

Tickets are £30, with medieval costume encouraged and a commemorative beaker included.

The camp will be created on the site of the former Allertonshire School in Northallerton, with performers, storytellers, musicians, archers, mock battles and horses.

The battle will also be commemorated by a lecture at Northallerton’s Forum Theatre on August 24 by Prof Matthew Strickland, professor of medieval history at Glasgow University, who will take as his theme the allegations of barbarism and chivalry that surround the battle.

The Scots had intended to take the outnumbered English by surprise, and the 12th century chronicler, Richard of Hexham, recorded: “In front of the battle were the Picts; in the centre, the king with his knights and English; the rest of the barbarian host poured roaring around them.”