Festival of History

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History Live (formerly The festival of history) is an annual summer event held by English Heritage. The event focusses on historical re-enactment. The first event was held in 2003 and attracted 10,000 visitors, and since then has been held annually in July or August in the grounds of Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire (2003 and 2004) or Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire (2005 onwards). It is Europe's biggest historical event.[1]


English Heritage is the executive non-departmental public body of the British Government sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which is responsible for the historic built environment in the UK. Public education on the history of England is a large part of the body's remit. English Heritage describes the Festival of History as its "flagship event"[2] and the "highlight of its event calendar".[3]

Events include historical re-enactments involving several thousand people in all, aerial displays, demonstrations, specialist talks, story-telling, theatre and hands-on events for children.[4]


At Stoneleigh Park[edit]

At Kelmarsh Hall[edit]

2011 event[edit]

The 2011 event on 16 and 17 July 2011 at Kelmarsh Hall includes re-enactments of the Imperial Roman Army and gladiatorial fighting; armoured knights and medieval jousting; a display of "tent-pegging", a medieval Indian sport;[19] the Duke of Wellington's redcoats; a Victorian gymkhana; a replica World War I trench[20] and World War II action including a Spitfire flypast. As well as re-enactments there are family activities and sideshows.[4]

2011 sees the inaugural Festival of Historical Writing at the event, in partnership with the Historical Writers' Association. Guest speakers include Michael Morpurgo, the author of War Horse, and Manda Scott.[21]

History Live![edit]

In 2014, the event was renamed History Live! and was still held at Kelmarsh Hall. In February 2015, English Heritage announced there would be no History Live! in 2015 stating "History Live! will not be returning this year, in order to concentrate on delivering a wider range of events across England."[22]


  1. ^ a b "Get ready for the English Heritage Festival of History 2009". Culture 24. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  2. ^ a b "English Heritage Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09" (PDF). English Heritage. 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  3. ^ "Days out in England". English Heritage. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  4. ^ a b "What's On 2011". English Heritage. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  5. ^ "New History Festival is Top Summer Day Out for Motorists". MSportUK. 2003-07-08. Archived from the original on 2008-08-21. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  6. ^ Kirkwood, Holly (2003-08-06). "Celebrate horses through history". Horse and Hound. Archived from the original on 2011-11-20. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  7. ^ "English Heritage Annual Report and Accounts 2004-05" (PDF). English Heritage. 2005. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  8. ^ "Portable Antiquities at the English Heritage Festival of History". Portable Antiquities Scheme. 2004-08-17. Archived from the original on 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  9. ^ Thompson, Jonathan (2004-08-01). "Heritage chief accuses Hollywood of rewriting history to suit American tastes". The Independent. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  10. ^ "Stonehenge Rebuilt!". Young Archaeologists Club. 2005-07-xx. Retrieved 2011-07-07.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ Khan, Mishaal; Seaman, Anna (2007-08-10). "Why the British are obsessed with re-enacting historical scenes". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  12. ^ "Goulish Graveyards and Medieval Madness at the Festival of History 2007!!". Young Archaeologists Club. 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  13. ^ "English Heritage Annual Report and Accounts 2007-08" (PDF). English Heritage. 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  14. ^ "Newsletter of Northamptonshire Archaeological Society: National Archaeology Week" (PDF). Northamptonshire Archaeological Society. 2008-07-xx. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-07-07.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ "English Heritage Annual Report and Accounts 2009-2010" (PDF). English Heritage. 2007. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  16. ^ a b "Battle lines drawn for festival fun". Harborough Mail. 2009-07-24. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  17. ^ a b Hayward, Rachel (2009-07-27). "Families go time-travelling at English Heritage's spectacular Festival of History 2009". Culture 24. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  18. ^ Neil, Emma (2010-07-17). "English Heritage – Festival of History 2010". Birmingham Conservation Trust. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  19. ^ "Tent-pegging sees taxi drivers swap cars for horses". BBC online. 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  20. ^ Moss, Richard (2010-07-06). "War Horse heads to English Heritage Festival of History for dramatic World War I trench recreation". Culture 24. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  21. ^ "Festivals". Historical Writers' Association. Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-07-07. 
  22. ^ http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/about-us/search-news/2015-events-programme

External links[edit]