Medieval event takes St Andrews back to past

Tuesday 25 April 2017


Battle demonstrations, stained glass-making, calligraphy and even virtual reality will take visitors back to medieval times in St Andrews this Bank Holiday Monday (1 May 2017).

Medieval Mayhem is an annual event, located across the town’s historic sites – including the town’s cathedral and castle – led by the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA) to recreate the experience of life during the Middle Ages (500 to 1500 AD), a key period for the town.

Members of the University’s Shire of Caer Caledon society will don medieval armour and re-enact fighting techniques using replica weapons from the period, with demonstrations at 12.30pm and 2.30pm. Cutting-edge immersive virtual reality from the University’s School of Computer Science will allow visitors to explore some of the town’s most important buildings as they would have looked 600 years ago.

MUSA will also host a castle-building challenge, revealing how heavy loads were transported to medieval building sites and how large stones were lifted to the tops of castles before building their own castle.

Visitors can also “meet” John Comyn, one of the challengers to Robert the Bruce for the crown of Scotland, at St Andrews Castle. Comyn lost out to Robert, who ruled from 1274 until 1329, and “he” will share tales of his battles against both the Bruce and the English. The Castle will also provide opportunities to try on replica armour and investigate recreated items from our medieval past.

Medieval crafts, including stained glass-making and calligraphy, will be on offer at MUSA and the cathedral, while visitors to the museum will also be able to test their engineering skills in a catapult-building competition.

Organiser, Matt Sheard, Learning and Access Curator at MUSA, said: “It’s fantastic that Historic Environment Scotland are taking part in this year’s Medieval Mayhem, making it town-wide and allowing locals and tourists to get a real flavour of what St Andrews was like during this important period. Visitors will now be able to explore virtual reconstructions of the cathedral at MUSA before going to see how St Andrews’ most recognisable building looks today.”

Throughout the event historians from the University’s School of History will be on hand to answer questions about the period and share their latest research into the time. A “past-port” will be available for children who will have the opportunity to receive a prize for taking part in all the events.

During this key period in St Andrews, the construction of the Cathedral transformed the town into the centre of religious life in Scotland, attracting pilgrims from all over Europe. St Andrews went on to become a hub of academic excellence after the foundation of the University in 1413.

Medieval Mayhem takes place at all three sites from 11am to 3pm on Monday 1 May. Entry and all events at MUSA are free of charge; the usual entry fees are payable at the castle and cathedral. No booking is required. 

Background information

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310/2530 or [email protected].

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