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Blasts from the past as civil war comes to castle


A regiment set up camp outside Leicester Castle at the weekend to recreate the city's civil war history.

Visitors explored the castle, which has been closed to the public since the early 1990s, and watched the recreation of a Stuart-era courtroom.

Outside, civilians and soldiers in period dress talked about life, food and weaponry during the 17th century conflict, while the nearby Magazine Gateway opened its doors for visitors to explore and find out more about tapestry and embroidery of the time.

Eleri and Rhiannon Kennedy, from Glen Parva, visited the castle with mum, Johanna.

Rhiannon, nine, said: "I was really interested when we were looking in the tents at the old types of pens they used.

"It was interesting to hear how they worked – some you would have had to dip into the ink for every letter, while others you could write a whole word."

Five-year-old Eleri said: "We have had a look round the castle, too, and had to climb two flights of stairs. My legs are a bit tired now."

The English Civil War, a series of conflicts from 1642 to 1651 between the Parliamentarians and Royalists, resulted in the execution of King Charles II and Oliver Cromwell becoming Lord Protector.

Both the Magazine and castle played a key role when Royalist forces stormed the city to capture it from its Parliamentarian defenders, in May 1645.

Cameron Savage, 13, from Barwell, visited the castle and Magazine with dad, Lee.

Lee, 40, said: "Cameron likes to take photographs, so that is what we have been doing most.

"It sounds silly because we have visited Castle Gardens so many times, but we did not know this building was actually Leicester Castle.

"It has been good to go in and have a look around."

As part of the open day, there were gun-firing displays and military drills by the Earl of Essex's Regiment of Foote, a reenactment group which is part of the English Civil War Society.

David Seale, from the group, said interest in history was on the increase due to television programmes about the past.

"People seem to be getting more interested," he said.

"Of course, most people are interested in the swords and the kids like to try on the armour."

Blasts from the past as civil war  comes to  castle

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