Free Chalklife Festival will celebrate 750th anniversary of Battle of Lewes

Chaiman of Lewes District Council Michael Chartier with Amber and Adam Hawley at Landport Bottom.
Chaiman of Lewes District Council Michael Chartier with Amber and Adam Hawley at Landport Bottom.
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Here’s the Chairman of Lewes District Council as you’ve never seen him before.

Cllr Michael Chartier donned a medieval costume to promote the forthcoming Battle of Lewes anniversary events.

He is pictured at Landport Bottom, scene of the battle almost 750 years ago, with Amber and Adam Hawley.

The authentic costumes were made by Cathy Baker, of Southover Bonfire Society, and the picture was supplied by Bob Mayston.

Events to mark the anniversary begin on May 3 and keen historian Cllr Chartier is urging local people to give them full support, describing this year as “a momentous occasion”.

A feast of events begins on Saturday, May 3, with the free CHALKlife Festival and Medieval Mayhem.

It will take place on the battlefield site, Landport Bottom Nature Reserve, from 11am to 4pm and promises a family event celebrating the people, history and wildlife of the South Downs.

With medieval stalls, sheep, battle re-enactments, bug hunting, arts and crafts, games, maypole dancing, puppet shows, archery, tug-of-war, food and a bar it promises something for everyone.

With the environment in mind, there will be no parking at the event so look out for bike trains, guided walks and free buses. Disabled parking will be available at Wallands School.

Visit Lewes.gov.uk for more information.

Hard on the heels of the festival comes the Medieval Mayhem Feast at the same venue from 5pm to 10.30pm.

It will be headlined by local band Tongue and Groove, notorious for the excitement generated by their raw energy, with support from six bands from the Starfish Youth Music Project.

The event is being organised by members of Nevill Juvenile Bonfire Society, whose Chair Norma Thompson said: “The society normally has its annual firework display and bonfire at Landport Bottom every October, so our members are looking forward to doing something different at a warmer time of year, transferring the successful Extravaganza to the battlefield for this unique occasion.”

Tickets are priced at £5, to include a medieval feast, and are available from Nevill Newsagents, Mount Harry Stores, The Black Horse Inn and The Gardener’s Arms. Visit NJBS.co.uk for more information.

Cllr Michael Chartier, Chairman of Lewes District Council, is a historian and expert on the battle.

He is also leading the anniversary steering group co-ordinating activities.

He said: “The 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes is a momentous occasion. The signing of the peace treaty [The Mise of Lewes] helped shape the democracy we enjoy today and that is something to be celebrated.”

On May 14, 1264, rebel troops led by Simon de Montfort overthrew King Henry III in the bloody encounter.

The Mise ended the King’s autocratic rule and led to the calling of a parliament with wider representation.