17th August 2012

Great, long, cutting and broad - medieval knights used a host of different swords to battle opponents wearing different kinds of weapon, and visitors to Stokesay Castle over the August Bank Holiday Sunday and Monday will get a chance to see several in action, as the fortified manor house hosts two days of swashbuckling swordfighting!

Led by one of the UK’s top sword fighting tutors, Mark Vance, the walls of Stokesay Castle will ring with the sound of metal on metal as he demonstrates a host of different techniques and bladed weapons used by medieval warriors, with the help of a knightly colleague. 

“Swords were the most important weapon in hand-to-hand combat during the medieval period, and over time, their use and even the types of sword changed, from the shorter and heavier broadsword to the longsword, known as ‘hand and a half’ swords,” explains English Heritage’s events manager, Charlie Evans.  “Improvements in armour meant that the sword design had to change – for example, the wider blade became narrower and diamond shape to enable the knight to force the blade through chain mail.”

Indeed, as the weapons changed, so did the techniques for making best use of the blades.  Visitors will hear about the ultimate Italian renaissance guide – the manual from which many knights were taught – and see demonstrations of some of the skills that knights would have mastered.

Budding young swordsmen and women will be able to try their own hand with the weapons, with regular Sword Schools throughout the weekend – using foam rather than metal swords to hone their skills – and be able to handle some swords and try on armour.

The event runs from 11.00am to 5.00pm on Sunday 26 and Bank Holiday Monday 27 August, with Stokesay Castle itself opening an hour earlier at 10.00am.  Admission prices are £7.40 for adults, £6.50 for concessions and £4.70 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and up to three children) available for £19.30.  English Heritage members get in free.

For more information, please call 01588 672544 or visit