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Michaelmas Medieval merrymaking at Rievaulx Abbey
9:11am Saturday 29th September 2012 in News
A TRADITIONAL medieval feast will be celebrated at Rievaulx Abbey today and tomorrow as the beginning of autumn is marked with Michaelmas festivities.
Michaelmas is the feast of St Michael the Archangel, and in medieval England, it was a strictly-enforced day when no work was to be done – other than that required for the relaxation of mind and body to support the worship of God. The feast followed the harvest, one of the busiest times of the year for rural England, and would have been a welcome break.
Over the weekend, costumed performers from York City Levy will recreate a 15th century celebration, with a living history encampment where visitors can meet some of the residents who would have lived and worked on the Rievaulx estate 600 years ago. Visitors will also be welcome to join in the celebrations, with music and dance from re-enactment duo, Hautbois.
English Heritage's regional events manager, Jon Hogan, said: “Often, a goose would be roasted for the traditional feast, and some villages had a tradition of making a special St Michael’s Bannock, a cake that had to be shared by every person present.”
The Michaelmas feast is the last in Rievaulx Abbey’s season celebrating the Medieval Year. It runs from 11am to 5pm, and the site itself will be open from 10am to 6pm. Admission prices are £6.50 for adults, £6 for concessions and £4.50 for children. English Heritage members get in free.
For more information, phone 01439 798228 or visit english-heritage.org.uk/rievaulx