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Medieval Mayhem in St Andrews

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The rich medieval past of St Andrews will come alive this Bank Holiday Monday, 2 May, at Medieval Mayhem, a free, family-friendly event at the Museum of the University of St Andrews (MUSA).

Medieval Mayhem will give visitors the opportunity to experience life in the Middle Ages (500-1500 AD) – a period during which St Andrews flourished.

Event-goers will be able to explore the town’s architecture as it was some 600 years ago by using the latest in immersive virtual reality technology from the University’s School of Computer Science.

Visitors will have the chance to try their hand at calligraphy, the practice of artistic writing which features on many of the manuscripts on display in the museum, while University historians will be on hand to answer questions about the period and their latest discoveries from the Middle Ages.

Children and adults will also be challenged to knock down a castle wall by building their own catapult, as well as make their own armour and design their family heraldry. Children will be encouraged to explore using a free Medieval Passport from MUSA, with prizes awarded to those completing every activity.

medievalm-mayhem-mainbody-1Students from the University’s Shire of Caer Caledon – a society dedicated to researching and re-enacting aspects of medieval life – will don armour and use replica weapons to demonstrate medieval battle skills. The weapons demonstrations will take place at noon and 2pm.

‌Matt Sheard, Learning & Access Curator at MUSA, said: “Last year’s event attracted the most visitors we’ve ever seen at MUSA in a single day. With historians at the cutting edge of research into this fascinating period, treasure hunts and our new Medieval Passport for children, as well as the return of our popular catapult-building competition and weapons demonstrations, Medieval Mayhem will be bigger and better than ever this year.”

During the Middle Ages the construction of St Andrews 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 complements MUSA’s displays of significant objects from the University’s early years. These include three silver ceremonial maces dating from the 1400s, considered by some to be the most important pieces of medieval European silver in existence.

MUSA (the Museum of the University of St Andrews) is located at 7a The Scores and tells the story of Scotland’s first University, from its foundation in 1411 to the present day and is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and from 12pm to 4pm on Sundays. Entry is free. For more information, visit MUSA’s website or call on 01334 461660. Medieval Mayhem takes place on Monday 2 May from 11am to 3pm. This event is free; no booking required.


Note to editors

Images show:

  • A virtual reality reconstruction of St Andrews cathedral in the Middle Ages (top)
  • Participants in replica armour at last year’s event (bottom right)

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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