Chairman’s newsletter

September 2019The Medieval Festival

The Medieval Festival has been and gone. It’s hard to make comparisons with previous years, such ids the size and scope of the event, but it didn’t make a loss, which is the key measure of success, and its continuing existence!

The Exhibition Tent, the Society’s primary contribution, was larger than previous years, but still too small for everything we wanted to do. It was busy for the entire weekend, and full of discussion about all sorts of things. The Society’s stall did well financially, which helps with the cost of sponsorship, and we helped lots of people with their understanding of the battle. It was good to welcome other groups and societies, and to swap notes on all sorts of matters of mutual interest. Networking is one of our main objectives.

In addition, the Society laid on a continuous programme of battlefield walks, led by Richard and Clive. These were very popular, with well over 100 people joining in.

 

Banners

The banner season is drawing to a close. It’s been windy, but we’ve not had a lot of problems this year. Such as we’ve had have been dealt with promptly and we’ve kept the banners flying.

We’re taking the banners down on Sunday 29th September. Any assistance would be very welcome, though it’s not as complex a job as putting them up! We meet at 10.00 at the Cross (Frisby’s Corner) for a briefing session then split into groups to take them down and transport them to their winter quarters.

Banner painting will resume again on the following day, though there won’t be any painting immediately; it will be a matter of sorting them through and prioritising work at the first session.

This is a date for the future, but the banner display and booking days in the Town Hall will  be on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May 2020.

 

Nibley Green

The Battle of Nibley Green was fought on 20th March 1470 between the armies of Viscount Lisle and Baron Berkeley. It was the last battle fought in England entirely between the private armies of great barons.

Adam Dolling, a Society member, has made a study of the battle and battlefield and leads regular walks around it. The next is on Saturday September 21st at 10.30am.

The Society will be having an outing to this walk. We’ll leave Morrison’s carpark at 9.30am in as few cars as we can fit into. If you’re interested in coming, please let me know.

Instead of, or as well, Adam will be giving a talk on the subject in the Museum’s autumn talks series, at 7.00pm on Tuesday December 3rd, at Trinity Church Hall, Tewkesbury.

 

Robert Hardys Tree

Robert Hardy’s tree has been nursed back to life, though it has taken a long time. It’s now fit to return to public view and the plan is to re-plant it at the end of September, but with little ceremony. We can only hope that it avoids the attention  of vandals this time.

 

A visitor Centre?

It’s early days yet and maybe nothing will come of it but the Society has, alongside the Borough Council and Tewkesbury Park Residents Association, been involved in discussions with the Gupshill Manor Inn about the potential to establish a small, unmanned battlefield interpretation room on the site. This would give a starting point, including car parking, for people visiting the battlefield.

There’s the potential to extend the battle trail to the Gupshill, so taking in the Yorkist side of the battlefield and Queen Margaret’s Camp. This would come with the advantage of a point for a coffee or beer half way round.

There’s a lot of detail to work through, and grants to obtain, but at the moment there are lots of grounds for optimism.

2021: The Museum

The Committee have agreed to commit funds towards the refreshing of the battle display in the museum. This is particularly appropriate because the centrepiece of the present display is the model and heraldry which date from 1971, so they have a fiftieth anniversary to celebrate!

During the Medieval Festival, Geoff Wheeler, who was the chief architect of the model, called into the museum and has given some suggestions about improving the display and the interpretation. These ideas have been all taken on board.

The museum is undergoing a staged refurbishment at present, which will last some years, so planning the battle room for 2021 fits in to the overall programme.

The museum needs volunteers to help with the battle room and all the other rooms, and would welcome people calling in to see what is involved.

 

2021: Walks

We’re mulling over other ideas for commemorating 2021, and are working with a group which is also focussing on the 900th anniversary of the commemoration of Tewkesbury Abbey. There are lots of events for the town in the pipeline.

A notable feature of the battle was the journeys which each army took to get here, so looking at them, and recreating them, is something to be considered.

Gloucester are planning a dramatic recreation of Margaret’s arrival at the South Gate and her failure to enter. This will be close to the anniversary. It would make sense to arrange a march from Gloucester to Tewkesbury following the river route following this little drama, and there are tentative plans for something which could be quite spectacular, ending with an unhistorical parade through Tewkesbury.

Barnet is rather further away, so the Yorkist army march would be much more difficult to organise, especially in persuading people to take part! We’ve had some very informal and very preliminary discussions about this with Barnet, who have raised the idea of a sponsored relay, after the style of the Olympic torch relay. This seems a good one, and might both raise awareness and funds for good causes. However, it would take a great deal of organisation which would need to start soon. We’d need someone with time and organisational skills to make this happen, so if it fires your imagination we’d love to hear from you!

 

Aldi’s car park

So much time has passed since Aldi’s planning consent to extend their car-park that we wondered if they’d changed their minds. The optimism was misplaced, though, as the contractors have moved in and the little copse of trees will soon be grubbed out.

 

Membership

July is the time for membership renewal, and reminders have been sent out to people who don’t pay by Standing Order whose subscription is expiring. Your renewal is important to us, and we’ve not raised our subscription in twenty years, which must be a record. We will be reviewing membership shortly, and updating our list to remove lapsed members.