12 unmissable events at the Jorvik Medieval Festival 2015

Join in, the knight is young… Something for all ages at the medieval fest. Photographs: Jorvik
19 Aug 2015 @ 12.04 pm
| Entertainment, History
When most people think ‘medieval’, the immediate thought is of knights in shining armour, jousting and chivalry – but in fact, that is only a part of this huge period of our history which stretched from the late 5th century up until the demise of the last Plantagenet king, Richard III, in 1485

– Sarah Maltby, the Jorvik Group

The Jorvik Medieval Festival gets into full swing this week, bringing Middle Ages merriment in the form of a fantastic variety of events, talks and activities.

The fest, which runs from August 19-31, 2015 includes plenty for Richard III enthusiasts to get their teeth into, only weeks after he was finally laid to rest.

History talks, reenactments, sword-fighting workshops – you name it, the good folk at Jorvik have staged it.

You can browse every event in the special festival pages of our What’s On Guide.

In the meantime here are some highlights of a packed programme which will drag us back to the Middle Ages…

Family fun

As seen in the Canterbury Tales, the Peasants' Revolt of 1381. Photograph © Wikipedia
As seen in the Canterbury Tales, the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381. Photograph © Wikipedia

Canterbury Tales

St Helen’s Church

Aug 19-21 @ 7.30pm


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York welcomes back the captivating storyteller, Peter Carrington-Porter, in a lively retelling of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Little Diggers

DIG, St Saviourgate, York

Aug 24-29 @ 10.30am


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These activities for the smaller members of the family include medieval mischief, costumes and characters, and knights and naughty monsters…

Medieval Merriment

Merchant Adventurer’s Hall

Aug 31 @ 10am-4pm


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This get-involved event showcases a range of medieval crafts and workshops. Have a go at sword fighting, archery and falconry.

Meet the Medievals

Medieval marvel… Barley Hall. Photograph: visityork.org
Medieval marvel… Barley Hall. Photograph: visityork.org

History at the Hall

Barley Hall

Aug 19 & 24, all day


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Barley Hall plays host to a variety of reenactors telling tales of what life was really like for people in medieval times.

Medieval Arms and Armour

Richard III Experience, Monk Bar

Aug 22, 23 & 29


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Learn what life was like for a medieval soldier from Monk Bar’s own War of the Roses veteran.


Philippa Langley, who found the king in the car park
Philippa Langley, who found the king in the car park

Philippa Langley: Looking For Richard


Aug 25 @ 7pm


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The screenwriter who dedicated almost ten years to the cause tells the astounding story of the project which led to the discovery of Richard III in a Leicester car park.

The Mythology of Richard III

Explore York library

Aug 22 @ 5pm


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Dr John Ashdown-Hill examines the myth of this enigmatic historic figure. Does Richard’s ghost haunt a manor house near Leicester? Was he a drunkard? And most importantly, did he like chocolate?

Joan of Arc


Aug 29 @ 2pm


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Dr Helen Castor sheds light on one of the most infamous women of the medieval world – the peasant girl who heard voices from god and became a warrior.

Meet the Experts

Barley Hall

Aug 25 & 27


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Members of the York Archaeological Trust offer an exclusive peek at some medieval artefacts found around the city.

Out and about

Fun day at Selby Abbey

Inside Selby Abbey. Photograph © Michael Beckwith
Inside Selby Abbey. Photograph © Michael Beckwith

Selby Abbey

Aug 26 @ 10am-5pm


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Explore displays that tell the story of some of the abbots of Selby, and enjoy a range of family-friendly activities and games, together with drama and music to bring the history of the abbey to life.

Medieval Day at Knaresborough Castle

Knaresborough Castle

Aug 22 @ 11am-4pm


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With workshops, activities and tours this family event promises a smorgasboard of medieval offerings.

From Richard to Henry – walking tours

Start at Monk Bar

Aug 24 & 27 @ 2.30pm


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In a rare mix of history and exercise, this 90 minute walk tells the story of one of the most turbulent periods of English History: the War of the Roses.