Scorching weekend weather saw thousands flock to the Loxwood Meadows for the first of the Loxwood Joust’s two weekends of medieval fun and revelry.
With activities and entertainment taking place every half hour from 10am to 6pm, the jousting arena was surrounded by fans as the sound of thunderous hooves and four magnificent Jousting Knights ran the tilt whilst displaying breath taking horsemanship.
With Sir Hector of Horsham aided by the dastardly Sir Kenneth, challenging Sir Thomas of Loxwood for his honour and lands, the battle for victory was both in the saddle and on the ground with skilful sword fighting.
The quick witted banter and shameful displays of cheating by Sir Hector and Sir Kenneth saw the crowds booing, cheering, and laughing, as Sir Thomas of Loxwood and Sir Luke fought with speed, talent and chivalry.
However, Sir Hector’s celebratory moves when he was declared the weekend’s champion, were challenged by a crestfallen Sir Thomas who vowed to come back victorious and ‘knock him from his horse’ in the second tournament this weekend.
The festival which prides itself on adding new attractions each year did not disappoint, with many visitors placing blessings upon the wishing tree and learning about the nature spirits from the Faerie Goddess Mother in the woodland Faerie Realm.
In addition, couples and families celebrated love and friendship in handfasting ceremonies, and enjoying the sumptuous food and captivating entertainment in the luxury of the medieval banqueting marquee.
Jo Morris a first-time visitor to the Joust said: “This is our first year at the Joust and it is a big hit with all four of us.
“We were not quite sure what to expect, but there is just so much to see and do here. The children have loved the glitter and wound face painting, making a small pewter sword, watching the blacksmith work, talking to the witch and hammering out their names onto the small copper shields.
“Everyone is just so friendly and the people in the medieval village were great at answering all of our strange questions.
“My husband and son loved sword school and my husband really enjoyed using a real metal sword!
“We all adored the excitement of the jousting tournament and each wanted a different knight to win. We will definitely be back next year.”
Whilst many took full advantage of the cool respite in the woodland area, the birds of prey made full use of the spiralling thermals, with Zulu the yellow billed Kite soaring to over 50meters before plummeting out of the sky to capture the lure being swung by the falconer.
In addition, larger than ever this year, some 200 plus knights, 50 bowmen and more than 20 gunners formed the two sides of the ardent battle between Duke of Buckingham and the Sussex Rebels.
Fighting hard and keen to integrate himself with the King of England, the Duke of Buckinghamshire fought well to protect his wealthy kinsmen and with cannons firing, the Sussex Rebels were defeated.
Maurice Bacon organiser of the event said: “We have had an amazing weekend and it is so good to see the excitement and recognition of the Joust building year on year.
“The Loxwood Joust provides in insight into life in medieval times, with living history creating and making it interesting, informative and fun for young and old alike. It is great to see visitors really getting into the spirit of the medieval ages whilst trying on armour, handling swords, bows, helmets and taking in the shows from the executioner, medieval housewife, medieval chef and Queen Georgiana of Loxwood.”
He continued “The feedback we have had and the posts on our social media pages have been amazing, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to next weekend’s festival of medieval mayhem.”
The Loxwood Joust’s unrivalled programme of medieval revelry guarantees a day out like no other and is taking place for a second weekend from 10am to 6pm on August 11 and 12.
The Loxwood Joust is excellently located just off the B2133 between Wisborough Green and Loxwood and has ample free parking.