The north east is set to see firing cannons, marching infantries, clashing weapons and incredible displays of horsemanship – as one of the region’s largest ever battle re-enactments takes place this August bank holiday weekend.

The re-enactment will be from the time of the English Civil War (1642-51), a conflict that witnessed some of the bloodiest battles ever fought on English soil as supporters of King Charles I and Parliament contended for power.

Hylton Castle, in Sunderland, will provide a stunning backdrop to the re-enactment, which will involve 300 members of the English Civil War Society (ECWS).

The event – which will take place on Sunday 26th and Monday 27th August – will see ECWS members setting up rival camps in the castle grounds.

The programme for both days is as follows:

  • 11.00 am – 4.30 pm: Living History Village: camp followers in period costume will demonstrate the cookery of the English Civil War era and the crafts used to prepare troops for battle.
  • 11.00 am – 1.45 am: cavalry, infantry and artillery displays, with troops in uniform using replica weapons
  • 2.30 pm – 3.30 pm: The Battle for Sunderland – the day’s military finale will see a battle re-enactment fought between Royalists and Parliamentarians.

The event – which is free of charge – will also include a funfair, stalls, stunts, face-painting and storytelling.

You can witness the cooking of the English Civil War era

The battle re-enactment is one of a series of events that have been staged in the grounds of Hylton Castle – a 14th-century structure that is currently being restored in a £4.2 million project. The project – funded by Sunderland City Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund – is turning the historic building into a community asset.

The two-day re-enactment is funded by Sunderland City Council’s North Area Committee and local voluntary organisation Sunderland North Community Business Centre.

Cllr Denny Wilson, the chair of the North Area Committee, said, “The community-led cultural heritage project to return Hylton Castle to life as a visitor attraction and local hub for education, training and volunteering opportunities is exciting for us all.”

“We thought that staging this English Civil War battle re-enactment would be a great way of capturing the public’s imagination and reminding everyone of the historical significance of the site and the continuing restoration work going on there.”

Hear cannons fired this bank holiday weekend

The director of the English Civil War Society, Andrew Newton, said, “We feel very privileged to be able to help tell the story of Sunderland’s importance to the Parliamentary cause during the English Civil Wars.”

“Hylton Castle will make a wonderful backdrop to our displays, and our members are looking forward to making the event a huge success, as well as highlighting the beauty of the castle.”

“I’m sure the roaring of the cannons and pounding of horses’ hooves, along with the colourful clash of weapons, will make ‘The Battle for Sunderland’ an August bank holiday to remember.”

To learn more about the English Civil War Society, please go to

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