Photographs of the Portchester display added
New photographs of recent displays added to 2018 page and a link on the Images page to an archive of Guard photographs and to a video on the infantry page
ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK XANTEN (APX ) 23RD/24TH JUNE 2018
Most of the Guard participants assembled on the evening of Thursday 21st to travel to Dover early on Friday morning. At Dover we picked up a further five members who were able to leave their cars at the Castle by kind permission on English Heritage. The crossing was smooth and at Calais we took to the motorways for what we hoped would be a five hour drive to Xanten. However terrible traffic jams at Antwerp added a further one and a half hours to the journey. Having arrived somewhat later than expected it was decided to leave the camp erection until the morning of Saturday.
Our accommodation at the Park is in a reconstructed Roman Mansio ( Inn ). On the ground floor are various exhibition rooms and a large restaurant and café to cater for modern visitors. On the first floor are Roman bedrooms together with a modern kitchen and showers. This is an ideal place for us to stay as we can also “kit up “ and store our equipment - in fact it is one of the things that make our visits to the APX work so well.
After a 6am start the display camp was erected and a brief rehearsal took place with several other groups making about 120 men on the field.
Our normal type of display was given twice during the day to very large appreciative crowds. At lunchtime a grand parade of all groups present at the event took place through the Park and into the Amphitheatre. Sunday saw a repeat of Saturday’s programme and the morning display was the best of the weekend. Some 26,000 people attended the event! A record.
On our free day on Monday some members visited the APX museum before we took the opportunity to travel Arnhem and the Airborne Museum.
From Arnhem we then visited the excellent WW2 museum at Overloon before returning to the APX.
In the evening we were lucky enough to be in Xanten when the APX launched a reconstructed Roman boat that they had been making for the past 18 months. The boat has been copied from remains found at Mainz in 1981 and dates from 300AD. It is made from oak and held together with iron nails. The vessel, called Minerva Tritonia, measures 18 m in length, 3.8 m wide and 1.3 m high and weighs 5 tons. It was powered by a sail and could be used for the carrying of cargo and also of troops. I was surprised to see how high it sat in the water. To see it with the sunset behind was a great sight.
On Tuesday after an early start we drove back to Calais and the ferry to Dover. This time we had no trouble at either port which would cause us to unload the vans although border control did want to look inside. All 6 vehicles then drove back to Guard HQ where everyone went their separate ways. Altogether a successful trip.
For anyone interested in Roman History a visit to The Archaeological Park Xanten is something you should try to do. What with its reconstructed walls, amphitheatre, mansion, temple, shops, bathhouse and an excellent museum, it is one of the most important Archaeological sites in Europe .
The Guard was very sorry to learn that Optio Martin White has decided, after 36 years, to hang up his boots and resign from the Society. Martin was leader of the First Contubernium for 8 years and Optio for the last 28. The Group will be forever indebted to the enormous amount of work Martin put into The Guard and the superb equipment he made for the Society particularly swords , daggers and their scabbards.
Martin was also a great friend to many members particularly myself and will be greatly missed. As he has said in his resignation letter Membership allowed him to visit places, see things and meet people that he would otherwise have not. He also said it has been a privilege to have been a member of The Ermine Street Guard. Martin will be sorely missed by not only Guard members but many others in the Roman Re-enactment and museum world.
CAERLEON 4th/5th JUNE
In the days leading up to this event, in the Caerleon Amphitheatre, many places, including South Wales experienced heavy downpours and persistent rain. However by Friday a dry spell spread over the area and continued over weekend.
As usual two diplays were given each day and included three horses provided by Nigel Amos. An anti-cavalry tactic was included in the display and by day two this was working well.
Other activities at the Amphitheatre included Roman Trader, Steve Wagstaff, a Roman Doctor. Painting and the group Vicus.
On Saturday evening Guard members gathered in the Old Bull Pub to enjoy a round of drinks provided by Martin White who had decided to resign. The Group then join a Bar-b-Que held in the Legionary Museum gardens.
Some 1500 members of the public attended the event
Bath - Sunday April 22nd
The job at Bath was a success with over 3500 people attending the display at the Royal Crescent. The event was made more enjoyable for members with overnight accommodation at the Scout Hut and a tour of the Roman Baths on the Saturday afternoon. It was quite unusual to be drinking a pint at 3pm on Saturday afternoon!
Sunday proved to be more hectic but we pulled it off.
Richard Morris turned up after a period of 18 years and joined in the displays.
A big bonus was the parking provided at both the Scout Hut and the Royal Crescent and the fact that we were able to change at No 1 Royal Crescent.
We were also extremely fortunate with the weather, given that Bath was subjected to a spectacular thunderstorm on Saturday evening!
All in all, a good start to our season.
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