Corfe Castle Re-enactments...
Nothing brings the ruins of Corfe Castle to life like a re-enactment or living camp.
From time to time the remnant walls of this old fortress become home once again to nobles both noble and ignoble, warriors bold and down-trodden serfs.
While programmes like “Time Team” and “Horrible Histories” have done much to raise the profile of history and archaeology through TV entertainment, re-enactors have done the same by making them an outdoor pursuit that anyone can enjoy.
And where better to live life in the style of our ancestors than places where our ancestors once lived!
Corfe Castle makes an excellent backdrop and open air theatre for camps where real (if eccentric) people put on the clothes of other times and live, in all important ways, just as they would have done hundreds or thousands of years ago.
Events like the 2010 Saxon and Viking camp (see pics right) are an amazing opportunity for kids and others to get a real feel for what it might have been like to live in centuries past. Re-enactors young and old go to great lengths to dress in the style of the time and to prepare and eat foods just as they once would have been - no matter how unappetising to modern tastes! Craftsmen and others go about their work producing implements and everyday necessities from materials like wood, wool and leather. All using authentic tools and techniques.
After only a short period of immersion in this environment, especially in such striking surroundings, modern clothes and technology increasingly look slightly odd and out of place - as if you are the odd-ones-out and not the re-enactors. You’ll never quite forget that this is a show put on for you, but there is something strangely mesmerising about watching families at work and doing everyday household tasks in period dress that mean you get tantalising close to it.
Perhaps it is the attention to detail put into each aspect of the camps on display. Perhaps it is the smell of the wood smoke and cooking food. Perhaps it is the sound of the wood turners tools. Or perhaps it is just that the whole camp is exposed to the elements, whatever the weather may hold. But whatever it is, something makes camps like this an especially good way to engage with history, not so much with dates and great events, but with people like us, who just happened to live generations before.
And should you get too wrapped up in some romantic notion that it might be fun to go back to the simple, rustic life of the days of yore, there’s nothing like a bunch of marauding Vikings to bring you back to reality with a bang - or at least a scream of “Oden”!
Certainly a key part of the Corfe Castle Saxon and Viking re-enactment featured a Saxons v Vikings skirmish as it may have happened in Corfe, albeit before the Norman castle at Corfe was built and without bloodshed and loss of life. It is lots of fun nonetheless!
Such re-enactments are not an everyday feature of Corfe Castle’s offer, but they do make a visit all the more special if you can catch one. For the latest news on what’s on at the Castle click here.
Corfe Castle makes an excellent backdrop and open air theatre for camps where real (if eccentric) people put on the clothes of other times and live, in all important ways, just as they would have done hundreds or thousands of years ago..."