A May Fayre held in Lewes proved that we sometimes view the Middle Ages through rose-tinted glasses. It wasn’t all honey mead, knot gardens and perfect sanitation.
Organisers of the Southover Bonfire Society’s Fayre made sure visitors could enjoy the very best - and sometimes possibly the worst - of medieaval foodstuffs. Their offerings, of huge delight to younger visitors, included a worm stew pick-me-up (courtesy of Anne of Cleves). Slightly more popular and hugely appreciated by scores of visitors were the freshest of local fish and chips from Olly’s Fine Fish Shack, and pizzas straight from the authentic wood-fired oven.
Ian Cummings from the Great British Bake Off was on hand to judge the Bonfire bakers’ cakes and had encouraging comments for all who bravely took part.
Black Powder Morris and Cool Hand Ukes entertained while Princess Aura guided many visitors into their futures - all of them optimistic of course.
The Owls fixed their eyes on all who passed by while few of the children could resist digging for replica medieval coins, exploding the bombs, bagging a coconut or soaking the unlucky ones put into the wets stocks. Having tested their own skills with the crossbows, everyone held their breath as the Vikings arrived in numbers to fight the local Swords of Albion.
After numerous skirmishes throughout the day, their Battle Royal left few warriors still standing but all looking forward to next year’s May Fayre.
Southover Bonfire Society is widely regarded as the family and young people’s Society and is based in Southover as the name suggests. Youngsters feature strongly in the Bonfire procession, as do babes n arms, toddlers and teenagers.
Their firesite is at the Stanley Turner Ground and tickets for Bonfire are snapped up early when the official HQ is The King’s Head pub. Motto is ‘Advance’ and their smuggler colours are black and red. The Society’s parade is distinguished by an impressive and slightly eerie grouping of monks wearing traditional cowl, and sometimes accompanied by a soft drumbeat as they head to the town centre.
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