Spring celebration to herald spring for Rievaulx Abbey

Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 May 2012

English Heritage is hoping that a traditional medieval celebration might herald the real start of the British summer at Rievaulx Abbey on Saturday 26 & Sunday 27 May as the site hosts the first of its ‘Medieval Year’ events with a spring festival!

In its heyday, Rievaulx Abbey was a hub of farming and industry, and this weekend’s event takes a look at some of the practices of the 15th century occupants of Rievaulx Abbey’s vast 6000 acre estate as visitors join the re-enactors for a Pentecostal celebration to mark the end of the long, dark days of winter and welcome the approaching summer.

“Before the days of modern farming machinery, working the land would have been an arduous and labour-intensive task, with farm workers working long hours six days a week before the enforced rest day of the Sabbath. Festivals like the celebrations around Pentecost provided them with a rare chance to let their hair down and relax, before the hard work of tending the crops over the summer months started,” comments English Heritage’s regional events manager, Jon Hogan. “By the 15th century, the strict rules under which Rievaulx was established had been relaxed somewhat, so even the Cistercian monk occupants may have participated in the celebrations.”

Over the weekend, visitors can meet some of the famers and traders who would have worked the land and catered for the pilgrims visiting Rievaulx and hear about their lives on the estate. There will also be period music and a chance to learn some of the dances that people would have enjoyed as these relaxed social gatherings.

The event runs each day from 11.00am to 5.00pm, with the Abbey itself open from 10.00am to 6.00pm. Admission prices are £6.50 for adults, £6.00 for concessions and £4.50 for children, or free for English Heritage members.

Rievaulx Abbey’s ‘Medieval Year’ continues on 11 & 12 August with the celebration of Lammas, the festival to mark the first harvest of the year, and then on 29 & 30 September with a Michaelmas, traditionally marking the end of summer and the shorter days of autumn.

For more information, please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/rievaulxabbey or call 01439 798228.

ENDS

For further media information, please contact:

Jay Commins – PRO English Heritage (Yorkshire)

Tel: 0113 251 5698

Mob: 07810 546567

Email: jay@fim.org.uk

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