GALLERY: A blast from the past as Heritage Festival arrives in Huntingdon

THERE were public executions with hanging, drawing and quartering in Riverside Park, King Henry VIII turned up large as life in The Commemoration Hall and Oliver Cromwell alarming the crowd when he drew his pistol.

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THERE were public executions with hanging, drawing and quartering in Riverside Park, King Henry VIII turned up large as life in The Commemoration Hall and Oliver Cromwell alarming the crowd when he drew his pistol.

Over the hottest weekend of the year and when England were playing in the World Cup (though the fighting was nothing to do with that), 15,000 people turned out to Huntingdon’s Heritage weekend.

The weekend started with historical characters alarming children in Huntingdon’s Commemoration Hall in the High Street and continued in blazing sunshine down by the river on Saturday and Sunday.


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The open-air events included an English Civil War drill, a display called The Development of the Knight and presentations by Huntingdon Youth Theatre, the Wendy Burke School of Dance and a group called The Anarchy who took the crowd through The Conquest and the Vikings. These were followed by The Knights of the Damned.

The Wars of the Roses Federation time travelled back to Huntingdon in 1461 when the wars raged between the Houses of Lancaster and York. A pageant called The Queen’s Ambush showed how Queen Margaret of Anjou tried to thwart a plan of Edward IV of York who had driven the Yorkists back up Ermine Street and was going to muster new forces at Huntingdon.

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Town Mayor, Councillor Chris Doyle said: “The weekend was a great success. We had wonderful feedback from people who said we should do it again. The weather was brilliant, a lot rested on that alone.We had great reaction from both the re-enactors, the general public and the stall holders. It was a bit tough on those selling hot food in such heat but the guy making his own handmade cold lemonade in front of his customers had a very good run.

“One of the big successes was John the Executioner – kids were there with their mouths open as he talked them through hanging, drawing and quartering. It’s gruesome but all part of our history and the youngsters loved it.”

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