Tuesday, 28 July 2020 11:06

Looking ahead to 2021 and 550th anniversary of Battle of Barnet

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Wars of the Roses heraldic banners painted by volunteers at Barnet Museum on display in Barnet High Street in 2018 Wars of the Roses heraldic banners painted by volunteers at Barnet Museum on display in Barnet High Street in 2018
Ambitious plans are being drawn up to celebrate the 550th anniversary next year of the Battle of Barnet.

Barnet Medieval Festival – scheduled for the weekend of 5-6 June 2021 – aims to have an even greater range of battle re-enactments than in 2019 or at the first festival in 2018.
In addition to highly-popular firearms demonstrations – with cannon firing by the House of Bayard re-enactment group – the organisers are hoping it might be possible to offer arena exhibitions of men and horses being dressed for mounted combat.

Other events planned for next year include a “medieval presence” in Barnet High Street on Sunday 11 April 2021 – the Sunday before the 550th anniversary of the Battle fought between Yorkist and Lancastrian forces just to the north of Barnet on 14 April 1471.

To the disappointment of the festival’s trustees, the continuing coronavirus rules on social distancing and restrictions on public events, meant there was no alternative but to cancel the revised plan to try to hold this year’s re-arranged festival over the weekend of 19-20 September.
Bob Burstow, chair of the trustees, said they had been informed by their specialist insurers that for the “foreseeable future” they were not prepared to offer cover for re-enactment events attended by the public.
After the loss of this year’s festival, the organisers are determined to make the 550th anniversary year an extra special celebration.

Plans are being drawn up for a community event in Barnet High Street sometime in September to promote the 2021 festival and to kick off fund raising events with the sale of memorabilia.
To help finance an expanded programme for the festival next June, the trustees are also planning to start a crowdfunding appeal.

All the medieval re-enactment groups and societies that join together to bring the Battle of Barnet to life had been booked for both June and then September this year – and they are now being invited to take part in the 2021 festival.
Last year over 350 medieval re-enactors enthralled a crowd of over 5,000 with their portrayal of what was one of the pivotal battles between Yorkist and Lancastrian forces.

In planning for 2021, the trustees have been encouraged by the many expressions of support for what is considered to be London’s top attraction for Wars of the Roses military enthusiasts.

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