Hundreds flock to Sunderland's Hylton Castle as Civil War comes back to life

The Civil War returned to Sunderland as Cavaliers and Roundheads came face-to-face in the grounds of Hylton Castle.

Sunday, 26th August 2018, 5:38 pm
Updated Sunday, 26th August 2018, 5:51 pm
The smoke of battle

And they will be back tomorrow.

The castle is hosting a battle reenactment, courtesy of the English Civil War Society.

The smoke of battle

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Today’s first day attracted around 1,000 spectators, despite the wind and rain, and with better weather forecast for tomorrow, organisers are expecting a big crowd.

Pikes, muskets and even cannons and cavalry were on display, thanks to around 400 members of the Society who have travelled to Sunderland from all over the country.

Living history is an important part of the society’s work, with demonstrations of blacksmithing, dancing and period music also taking place.

Commentator Tony Cullen had made the trip from Hampshire to take part.

Pikemen attack

“We do about four of these major events a year, but we do a lot of smaller ones, with anything in the region of 20 0r 30 to up to 100 taking part,” he said.

Now 60, Tony has been involved with the society since he was just 25 and wife Sharon is also a member.

“It is totally fantastic,” he said.

“It is pure escapism. You can get as interested as you like in the living history side if that is what you want to do, but the battles are just huge fun.”

The skirmish under way

Among those taking part was seven-month-old Holly Youngson.

“This is her second battle,” said mum Heather.

“The first time she fell asleep as soon as the cannons started.”

The event was organised by Sunderland North community Business Centre, with backing from the city council.

Ready for battle

Ward councillor Denny Wilson was the man behind the day: “This period was really important to the North East,” he said.

“Newcastle supported the King, Hylton Castle supported the King - but Sunderland Town supported Cromwell because the businessmen of Sunderland knew they would get concessions from him they would not get from Cromwell.”

Gordon Lowson was at the castle with children Tyler, 10, Kane, eight and seven-year-old Leyla.

“It’s great to see the castle being improved,” said Gordon, from Downhill.

“I can’t wait to see what it is like when it is finished.”