Medieval army on the march for spectacular May Fayre merriments in Lewes

Travel back in time in Lewes on Saturday, May 10, for what promises to be another day to remember
Travel back in time in Lewes on Saturday, May 10, for what promises to be another day to remember

Southover Bonfire Society’s sixth May Fayre in Lewes will be extra-special this year.

It coincides with the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes – which means a medieval army marching through the town will form part of a fun-filled day.

It’s happening on May 10, the day in 1264 when King Henry III arrived in Lewes to celebrate the feast of St Pancras at the Priory two days later and anticipating the arrival of reinforcements from France to help him defeat Simon de Montfort and the rebellious barons.

The Feast of St Pancras Fayre will kick off a week-long celebration to commemorate the battle that saw the defeat of the autocratic King Henry and the dawn of the first representative democracy.

This year’s event, which raises funds for good causes, will also include a special Battle of Lewes Bash to take the merriment into the evening with a programme of music at the All Saints Centre, Friars Walk.

The day will feature a re-enactment of Henry’s army marching into town to be met at around 12noon on Cliffe Bridge by a welcoming party that will include the High Sheriff, Mayor, Chief Constable and ‘monks’ from the Priory. All will then be led by marching bands to Priory Park, the site of the fayre which will have been in full swing since 10.30am.

It features a packed programme of entertainment and games, and this year visitors will even be able to ‘experience’ the grisly wounds the armies suffered in the battle, including amputations.

Southover Bonfire Society member Mark Ridgwell, one of the organisers of the fayre, said: “We hope as many people as possible will come out to support what promises to be a very enjoyable and fun day and learn more about the battle that played a key role in England’s political, parliamentary and military history.”

Admission to the fayre is £2 (under 12s free) and advance tickets for the Battle of Lewes Bash, limited to 130 and featuring music from the Sussex Pistols, So Last Century and bagpiper Dirk Campbell with Kalamus, are now on sale for £7.15 from the Union Music Store, Lansdown Place, Lewes, and online at