The Museum is coming to the end of its Living History fortnight for schools. Last week schools were enthralled with Albion Falconry’s displays of weapons and techniques used by Saxon Warriors over 1000 years ago.
What a treat to see the “Saxon Skirmish School” in action at the Museum on Friday 22nd April! Helen Rowlands and Andy Steward of Albion Falconry put on a fabulous display for Year 7 from Bishop Wordsworth’s School. A class at a time, the boys were fascinated by all aspects of the gruesome but highly skilled warfare practised by the Saxons, and expertly demonstrated by Andy. Spears, swords, seaxes, bearded axes and axe-and-shield were introduced and their functions clearly explained, then orchestrated to great effect into martial art-type set moves.
Several boys had a chance to be part of a shield wall, or to lunge at a shield with a sword. They loved it all, especially the bits about being covered in blood sprayed from a severed jugular vein! Stories of the Berserkers left the audience wide-eyed and open-mouthed in amazement. These warriors were usually high on magic mushrooms, naked apart from body paint, and very scary. Hiding behind the shield wall, they would suddenly leap right over the barricade, brandishing spears and yelling obscenities, and impale the unfortunate enemy soldiers from behind!
History was magnificently brought to life by the whole experience, something the boys will probably remember for a very long time! I thoroughly enjoyed it, adding context by going into the Wessex Gallery afterwards to inspect the collection of Saxon weapons on display. Thank you to Albion Falconry!