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Horses Through History Feature In Top Summer Festival
Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, 9-10 August

Horses and riding from Roman times to World War I feature in a new action-packed two-day history event this summer from English Heritage.

Festival of History, a superb celebration of the rich variety of England's social and military history is being held at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry on 9 - 10 August, from 9.30am - 6pm. Horses play a starring role - from carrying Roundheads and Cavaliers into conflict in a thrilling English Civil War battle, to being put through their paces in a Roman horse race as the finale to a gladiatorial spectacular.

One of the equestrian highlights, performed twice each day, is a Victorian Skill at Arms Ride by the Household Cavalry. Resplendent in the dashing blue and red uniforms of the Lifeguards and Blues & Royals regiments, cavalrymen will display breathtaking mounted skills-at-arms with carbine, lance and sword, including tent pegging at a gallop.

Horses will also play a major part in the action as a cast of around 700 Royalists and Roundheads clash in a re-play of the famous Battle of Edgehill which took place near Stoneleigh Park in 1642. Horses will also feature in a recreation of a Napoleonic battle.

Riding without stirrups was the norm in Roman times and as the climax to a display of military techniques by legionaries for the Imperial Roman Army and hand-to-hand combat by gladiators, skilful riders will show off their prowess in the saddle and compete in a Roman horse race.

From the 15th century, brave horses brightly dressed in bold livery colours will come face to face as dashing knights armed with lances try to outdo their adversaries in authentic medieval jousts.

Other Festival highlights include:
. Historic catwalk fashion with couples modelling cool period clothes
. Medieval falconry - magnificent birds of prey flying free
. Georgian cricket - costumed game played to entertaining 18th century rules
. A Victorian Warwickshire wedding - from the proposal to ceremony to feast
. Vintage cars and bikes from Coventry Transport Museum, including an historical bicycle race
. Swordfighting demonstrations from the middle ages
. Period fairground rides, with galloping horses, swing boats and coconut shy
. Traditional crafts demonstrations
. Stuart and medieval cookery demonstrations
. Music and dance through the ages
. Antarctic explorers - a three man sledging party from 1900 - 1915
. Family history, with a look at the ancestry of the famous like Victoria Beckham
. Hands-on children's crafts

Living history forms a central part of the Festival, with few aspects of historic daily life left unscrutinised. A township featuring ten historic houses and their inhabitants will show 'ideal' homes from medieval to more modern times. Grisly medical procedures, methods of hygiene and even the centuries-old methods of dealing with marital disputes and petty thievery come under the spotlight, making compelling watching! Gardeners will enjoy finding out how common plants have been used for medicines, soaps,
distillation, preservation and perfumery.

Admission is ?12 for adults, ?9 for concessions and ?6 for children; family tickets (two adults and up to three children under 16) are available for ?30. English Heritage members are admitted for half-price. Tickets can be pre-booked by calling 0870 333 1183. Stoneleigh Park's easy-to-reach location is just south of Coventry city centre on the B4113, just off the A46. There is ample free car parking on site. For more information, call 0870 333 1183 or visit



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