King's Lynn's Mediaeval Christmas
A lavish 20-dish banquet is the highlight of King’s Lynn’s mediaeval Christmas
King’s Lynn hosts a mediaeval Christmas from 11-13 December, consisting of a market, a lavish banquet, and a carol concert by the Mediaeval Baebes.
The event begins on Friday 11 December with a mediaeval market in the Tuesday Market Place. From 2pm until 8pm, shoppers can browse rows of stalls selling handcrafted items; including jewellery, leather goods, bottles and barrels, homewares, trinkets and festive decorations. The market will include food and drink stalls, selling spit-roasted pig, baked chestnuts, honey meads, spiced wines, and other traditional fare. There will be games and activities for children to take part in, and many of the stallholders will be in traditional costume.
As an added attraction, the Mary Rose pop-up museum will also be part of the market. The Mary Rose is a Tudor ship that sank in 1545 and remained at the bottom of the sea until it was raised in 1982. The Mary Rose was Henry VIII’s flagship, and provides an incomparable insight into maritime history. Since it was raised, the ship, along with over 19,000 artefacts recovered with it, has become part of an award-winning museum in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The museum is about to enter a period of closure until summer 2016, and while it is closed a pop-up museum will be touring the UK, visiting festivals and historic events. The Mary Rose pop-up museum features real and replica artefacts, a shop, and activities where visitors can learn about the ship’s long and fascinating history. King’s Lynn’s mediaeval Christmas is the only event that the pop-up museum is due to visit in December.
The market continues on Saturday 12 December from 10am to 8pm, and Sunday 13 from 10am to 4pm, so there are plenty of opportunities to visit this wonderful and unusual attraction.
On the evening of Friday 11 December, a traditional mediaeval banquet takes place in the Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn. From 8pm until late, an evening of memorable entertainment takes place in this genuinely mediaeval venue. The Trinity Guildhall was built in the 1420s and its impressive stone floor, exposed beams, and great south window make the perfect setting for this night of mediaeval feasting in the company of the Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Cllr Colin Manning, and the Mayoress, Mrs Julie Manning, and 60 other guests.
The banquet will be prepared by master chef Gerry Rhodes, and will consist of 20 dishes served, as they would have been in the Middle Ages, over 6 ‘removes’ (courses). The dishes will include legges of fowl with a Saracen sauce; procession of boar’s head; sausage of game in a red wine, mustard and juniper sauce; urchins (minced meat with herbs fashioned into hedgehogs); gobbits of pig in a sauce of apple and cream; a tipsy moyse of berries (stiff cream with fruit soaked in fruit liquor); Snow in Sommer (gingerbread with whipped cream and sprigs of rosemary); subtleties of marchpane and fruit leathers. The full menu can be viewed at www.kingslynnchristmas.co.uk
As was traditional in mediaeval times, during the 6 removes music will be performed, and games played. Live music will be performed on the lute, a rauschpfeife, a slide trumpet, recorders, and a hurdy-gurdy, providing a perfect accompaniment to this memorable and festive evening. The games are based on traditional mediaeval revelries and include: The Wishing Tree, where every guests places a wish for his or her heart’s desire on a tree as they arrive and the wishes are to be granted by St Nicholas; A Day at the Races, much ribaldry racing wooden horses as wagers and rivalries abound between the guests; The Tankard Game, a simple knock-out game to win a tankard and a chalice; a Wassail Race, you may choose not to drink from the wassail bowl, but it must reach the top table to win; The Game of Huzzah, a raucous and ridiculous version of bingo with an outrageous ending to award the prize.
After the guests have eaten their fill, they are invited to dance as the live music continues. The dancing begins with simple, traditional dances such as “The Horses Brawl”, and then segues into a less formal modern disco to mark an end to this unforgettable way to celebrate the festive season. Mediaeval dress is optional. Tickets are £50 per person and are available from King’s Lynn’s Tourist Information Centre or www.kingslynnchristmas.co.uk
The mediaeval Christmas draws to a spectacular close with a Christmas carol concert from the Mediaeval Baebes. On Sunday 13 December the Mediaeval Baebes provide a remarkable evening of music, dance and theatre in the magnificent venue of St Nicholas’ Chapel in St Ann’s Street, King’s Lynn. The group will perform Christmas carol classics from their top ten album “Of Kings & Angels” as well as other contemporary and traditional songs. Doors open at 7:30pm. Tickets cost £20 and are available from www.mediaevalbaebes.com
For more information on all of these events, please visit www.kingslynnchristmas.co.uk