THE stage is set for York’s first English Civil War festival this month which will see more than a thousand re-enactors from all over Europe commence battle in the biggest re-enactment the city has ever seen. York Archaeological Trust, Visit York and The Sealed Knot re-enactment group are working in partnership to organise the ten-day festival, which is expected to attract thousands of Civil War enthusiasts to the city between August 22 and 31.

Events include a skirmish re-enactment, two Civil War exhibitions and a children’s education day at York’s Mansion House. A range of special interest events includes an evening of 17th century choral music and readings, together with guided battlefield walks and evening lectures. Other highlights include themed evenings at York Brewery with Civil War drinking and marching songs and a quiz night.

York Archaeological Trust, Visit York and The Sealed Knot have developed the festival as a reminder of the impact the Civil War had on the city of York and the surrounding area. York Archaeological Trust chief executive, John Walker, said: “York was under siege for 12 weeks in the summer of 1644 and the battle on Hessay Moor, known today as Marston Moor, was the greatest congregation of troops during the whole of the wars.

“People automatically associate York with Vikings and Romans, and we hope that this festival will remind people of the huge amount of 17th century history in and around the city and the way of life for the people who lived through those troubled times.”

The events begin with a chance to meet the Sealed Knot re-enactors outside York Minster on Saturday August 22 before they march on to the Mansion House.

There, the Lord Mayor will officially announce the opening of the festival. The civic party will then pay a visit to Marston Moor.

During the festival, residents and visitors to the city can walk through the Sealed Knot’s living history camps; see a re-enactment of the blowing up of St Mary’s Tower and the subsequent skirmish around the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. At the end of the festival, more than 1,000 re-enactors from all over Europe will descend on the Knavesmire to re-enact the Battle of Marston Moor in the city’s biggest re-enactment to date.