Medieval anarchy at Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle in West Sussex is set to close its 2018 open season with Norman Knights in the Keep on 24-25 October, a great way to entertain the children this half-term.

Visitors will be transported back to the start of the Cousins War, a turbulent and often forgotten era in the Middle Ages, with thrilling 12th century combat, replica weapons, costumes and craft displays.


An early encounter in this succession crisis, known today as The Anarchy, saw King Stephen surround the stronghold with his army and force Empress Matilda, his first cousin and a competing claimant to the throne of England, to surrender.

Visitors will see Norman knights preparing the Keep’s defences for the King’s attack and engaging in combat. Atop the oldest part of the Castle, in addition to the breath-taking view, guests will see how the stronghold was strategically positioned between River Arun, the sea and the South Downs to be virtually impregnable.

Men-at-arms and archers will demonstrate the intense combat training of Norman soldiers on the American Lawn. Children and parents alike will delight in the opportunity to wield replica 12th century weapons and try on medieval military and civilian garments.

Alongside the combat demonstrations, the Stone Hall will host an immersive display of the workmanship and artistry of the Middle Ages including leatherwork and naal binding (an early form of knitting).

This event complements key stages 1, 2, and 3 and will teach schoolchildren about life in a 12th century castle, the strategic importance of the Castle and the European influence England was experiencing at this time in history.

The half-term is also the last chance to see the beautiful and extensive Castle gardens erupting in rich autumn colours and filled with plump pumpkins and squash before they close for winter.

Castle Manager, Stephen Manion, commented: “Norman Knights in the Keep is a great opportunity for the whole family to learn about the early history of Arundel Castle and the region. We’re thrilled to welcome visitors to experience the authentic sights and sounds of 12th century life. Autumn is an especially beautiful time at the Castle – you won’t want to miss out!”

Arundel Castle is open from 10am until 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday until 28 October 2018. For more information on the Castle and its events calendar, please visit: www.arundelcastle.org.