Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Raglan Castle Tudor Weekend - A Review

Raglan from the top of the tower

On our return from Raglan Castle's Tudor Weekend I wanted to sit down straight away and blog about the fabulous time we had but life got in the way and I am a little behind. After a busy couple of weeks promoting my latest novel Intractable Heart: the story of Katheryn Parr at last I have a spare few moments.

Me - shamefully cross laced
Two weeks ago my old fella and I got into our Tudor best and took a trip to Raglan Castle to sell books, meet the public and generally have a lot of fun. The weather for once was perfect, dry, not too hot, not too cold and the company was great. 
A family group
Neither of us had done this before and had no idea what to expect. Sometimes when you enter a new social arena you can feel out of place, not one of the crowd, a little gauche, but there was none of that at Raglan. As soon as we arrived on site we were given a lovely welcome from custodian Jane Mcilquham who quickly introduced us to the others. And what a lovely bunch they are.

Jane Mcilquham - custodian
There were various stalls and a medieval style bar, The Stagger Inn, plenty of refreshments on offer.
Under the banner of the White Boar
We decked our gazebo in medieval bunting and set out our wares right next to Henry VIII who, just as Henry liked to do, sometimes masqueraded as Minstrel Tom, entertaining the crowd with his music. 
Nathen Amin signing copies of his book
On our other side was Nathen Amin, signing copies of his guide book Tudor Wales which, as the title suggests, lists all the Tudor attractions in Wales.  Also nearby was photographer, Louise Burrows with a selection of her lovely photographs and cards, and Marion Davies who is better known as Mistress Grott was selling cures and curiosities. I bought a stick weaving kit and am now embarked on yet another handicraft.

A fair maiden
Raglan Castle is truly splendid; a proud building even now after years of wars and neglect, and the splendour was enhanced by the presence of two re-enactment groups, The Armourial Knights and the Beaufort Companye who staged some stunning events. 

Courtly love comes to Raglan
The costumes and attention to detail of both communities is unsurpassed, their camps acting as a portal to another time and place. I saw people of all ages, from small children to elderly women, and all were wearing authentic costume, embellishing the whole event and turning the day into an ‘experience.’ 

King Richard III waiting for the battle
Walking with my camera I came upon a company of knights on their way to Bosworth Field and I felt I was in a setting from one of my novels. I am very certain that many of the characters and scenes I saw at Raglan will be resurrected and used in my future work.

A family group
There was plenty of scope. I saw a mock execution, a re-enactment of the Battle of Bosworth, listened to a talk by historian Emma Knight on Anne Boleyn. There was falconry, spinning displays, a Tudor trail for the kids to educate them subliminally as they move around the castle, helping them learn the fun way. 

Henry VIII figuring out how to put on his own hat
I met several of my heroes and a good few foes; Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, The Stanleys … for me it was seventh heaven.

Richard - still waiting
I am a retiring sort of person and I went to Raglan with some reservation but I will not hesitate to go again. It was brilliant to meet my readers face to face and hear their enthusiastic feedback for my work. Next time, if you can't find me signing my novels, The Kiss of the Concubine, Intractable Heart, and The Winchester Goose, I will be somewhere in the crowd feasting on Welsh cakes and soaking up the atmosphere. 
Hope to see you there.
A gathering
 Judith Arnopp is the author of six historical novels. 
Click here to read more about her work.


  1. It was a pleasure to meet you Judith and we sincerely hope to see you and your husband at our events next year x

  2. You can count on it Jane, we had a great time!