‘Herstory’ at Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle - Credit: Archant

It’s not just about clashes, smashes and daring dashes during the nine-day Medieval Festival at Leeds Castle from 23-31st August. On Thursday 28th some of the nation’s best female Tudor novelists and historians will besiege the Maiden’s Tower for a day entitled ‘Herstory’

So often history is written about men or seen from an entirely male perspective, such that the women who have risen to the top throughout time have needed to be that much stronger in spirit, that much more intelligent and in some cases, downright scheming.

Visitors will be invited to the medieval Maiden’s Tower to join Amy Licence, Elizabeth Fremantle and Lauren Mackay who will be talking at intervals throughout the day on subjects ranging from the everyday lives of Tudor women, to notorious Tudor women and of course, Royal Tudor women. The morning and afternoon talks are free for visitors with a day ticket or annual pass and spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

In the evening a special ticketed talk and dinner will be hosted in the 17th-century oak-beamed Fairfax Restaurant by this country’s greatest-selling female historian, Alison Weir. Evening tickets are £40 per person available to book via the Box Office on 01622 880008. In addition, luxury bed and breakfast accommodation is available to book in either the Maiden’s Tower or Stable Courtyard as part of a Dine and Sleep package with prices from £140 including full English breakfast. To book accommodation call 01622 767855 or visit www.leeds-castle.com/dining

11.30am Lauren Mackay:

‘The Queen’s Champion: Katherine of Aragon and the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys’ In the first talk of the day, Lauren Mackay relays some of the salacious gossip swirling around the court of Henry VIII in her talk entitled ‘The Queen’s Champion: Katherine of Aragon and the Imperial Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys’. Chapuys, a shrewd, pragmatic lawyer and diplomat, quickly became Katherine’s most devoted advocate and fought tirelessly for her cause against Henry.

2pm Amy Licence: ‘In Bed with the Tudors’ Amy Licence uncovers the covers when she talks about her fascinating book entitled ‘In Bed with the Tudors’. How did questions of childbirth, fertility and sex shape Tudor history? What did Tudor women believe about the functioning of their bodies? And what strange rituals did they follow in order to conceive and carry children to term?

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Arms and Armour Talks: Wednesday 27 August: Expert presentation and talks from Royal Armouries’ Dr Thom Richardson, Deputy Master and former Keeper of Armour and Karen Watts, Senior Curator of Armour and Art. They will provide in depth background into the incredible armour displayed at Leeds Castle this summer and the specialist armour used for the joust. Dr Thom Richardson: ‘Arms and Armour in the Tudor Period’ is at 2pm while Karen Watts: ‘The Tournament’ is at 3.30pm both in the Maiden’s Tower.

‘Herstory’ day – Talks by women, about women of the Tudor age: Thursday 28 August: A fascinating day of knowledge awaits with three historians and historical novelists giving talks on the life of women in the Tudor period. Talks take place in the Maiden’s Tower at 11.30am with Lauren Mackay, 2pm with Amy Licence and 3.30pm with Elizabeth Fremantle. Books signings will be taking place after each talk and books will be on sale in the Maiden’s Tower and the Leeds Castle shops. Talks are included in entrance ticket free of charge.

An Evening with Best-selling Historian, Alison Weir at Leeds Castle: Thursday 28 August: Join historical author Alison Weir and other guests for an intriguing talk entitled ‘The Monstrous Regiment of Women: Tudor Queens and Commoners’ followed by a wonderful summer feast in the 17th Century Fairfax Hall and optional overnight stay in a B&B Stable Courtyard bedroom. Alison is currently the best-selling female historian in the UK specialising in queens from the Medieval and Tudor periods. Event price including dinner - £40 per person. Accommodation - £140 per room.

3.30pm Elizabeth Fremantle: ‘Tudor Women Behaving Badly’ ‘Tudor Women Behaving Badly’ is the title of Elizabeth Fremantle’s talk, drawn from her first novel, ‘Queen’s Gambit’ and her new book, ‘Sisters of Treason’. Hailed as a “major new voice in historical fiction”, the talk focusses on Tudor women who broke the rules and led extraordinary lives during turbulent times.

The Medieval Festival, 23 to 31 August 2014

Royal Armouries and Leeds Castle will bring history to life by staging a magnificent nine day Medieval Festival within the beautiful Castle grounds in Kent from Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 August 2014. There are endless sights and sounds to discover and at the heart of festivities, display of an exceptional collection of armour that belonged to King Henry VIII, The Tonlet Armour and The Horned Helmet, which will be on display in the Castle until 21 September 2014.

Leeds Castle visitors will experience life as it was in the Middle Ages with a different programme of inspiring activities each day, ranging from Royal Armouries’ Knight School, Princess School, a 15th century-style Longbow Archery Tournament, Mounted Skill at Arms and Infantry Skirmishes. Twice daily falconry shows, a medieval market and living history re enactment camps will allow visitors to embrace the sights and sounds of this colourful era for Leeds Castle’s flagship event of the year.

Annual tickets are valid for The Medieval Festival from 23rd to 29th August. Annual tickets cost £24 for adults; £21 for seniors and visitors with disabilities (carer goes free); £16 for children (under 4’s free). Annual tickets are valid for 12 months so you can pay once and visit all year round. Day tickets are also available to purchase on the day of your visit or in advance online. Adults cost £19, concessions £16 and children £11.

The Grand Tournament: Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 August

The return to a glorious past will culminate in a thrilling Grand Tournament comprising authentic jousts and a real life unplanned Mêlée on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st August. Visitors will see the squires arm the knights in full plate armour, before witnessing four knightly warriors compete in this thrilling special ticketed event. Tickets are £24 per adult, £21 per concessions, £16 per child. Annual tickets to Leeds Castle are not valid for this special event.

For more information on The Medieval Festival presented by Royal Armouries and Leeds Castle please visit: themedievalfestival.leeds-castle.com