North Duffield Conservation and Local History Society

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After considerable planning and not a few headaches, the event finally started in pleasant, if cool, weather. A slow start in terms of attendance was soon replaced by an attendance, on both days, that exceeded our wildest d reams.

The weather was kind and the crowds who turned up seemed to have a thoroughly good time.

There was plenty for them to see: an Iron Age/Roman re-enactment group called 'Comitatus' entertained the spectators with violent exhibitions of infantry and cavalry charges and fighting and children were invited into the arena to attack the Celts with 'swords' and shields-no quarter was given by the tiny warriors; the was 'live' demonstrations of bread-making, flour-milling, weaving, spinning and carding wool, pole-lathe operation, coil pots, story-telling and games and helmet and roundhouse construction. All of these were hands-on with children(and parents0 enjoying the opportunity to try some news skills.

Every hour, spectators were conveyed to our reconstructed roundhouse where a talk on life in the Iron Age was very popular, particularly with the children

Although it is hard to be accurate, we believe that something like 1000 people turned up over the two days. One thing we can be sure of, because they were counted, were the number of people visiting the roundhouse and that was just short of 600.

One very happy but exhausted organiser and lots of willing but tired volunteers slept well on Sunday night.

On Saturday afternoon, a Picnic-on-the-Green was attended by about 150 people on the event arena. Later on, the camp-fires were brought into the arena and stocked with logs and the Comitatus mad brigade formed a circle round the fires whilst Colleen's Fancy, Celtic folk group entertained the party and a sing-song of popular Irish folk songs was enjoyed by everyone. The children had the time of their lives running around non-stop with borrowed tambourines whilst the barmy element of Comitatus had everyone's attention.

Most of us left around 10.0 o/clock but rumour has it that the re-enactors stayed on 'til about 2.0am at which time, it was thought a suitable time to go for a row in the coracle on the village pond. The inevitable happened as one fell out but no harm was done and everyone had a great and harmless time.

Spectators donated a sum in excess of £450 towards the Societies future archaeological activities for which generosity we are truly grateful. Hardly any litter was left and certainly no damage.

Subsequently, many kind words of congratulations lead us to suspect that this was really enjoyed by everyone who attended this free event. Requests to stage a similar event next year is falling on deaf ears.

Thank you to Comitatus for the show, all the volunteers, demonstrators, the Ellwood family, Brian Burgess and Andi Murphy for their sterling work throughout both days, to Mark at the King's Arms and the Ash Duggan Committee for all their support, to Dave Kirby and Nick Hatfield for First Aid duties, to Hannah and Jon from York Archaeological Trust  and the spectators who turned out en masse to make this one of the most memorable occasions in the village for a very long time.

That is certainly going to take some beating!

Celtic Festival Poster



A DVD  of the  Celtic Festival  at a cost of £5 (plus postage where applicable) is available, as well as a video of the festival roundhouse presentation and  construction process  for £3 plus postage.

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