Hartlepool osteopath puts his back into being a knight

Knight Phillip Ainsley finds himself roped in to prepare Belsay Hall gardens for the big event.
Knight Phillip Ainsley finds himself roped in to prepare Belsay Hall gardens for the big event.

A Hartlepool history buff is taking centre stage at a re-enactment event.

Phillip Ainsley, who is from the Dawn of Chivalry re-enactment group, is the man behind the mask who will be taking part in a Knight’s Tournament at Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens.

An action packed weekend of medieval sport will see 15 armoured knights accompanied by their squires, go to head to head in a series of contests of skill and strength.

Swords will be wielded, arrows fired and helmets battered as the noble combatants are put to the test.

The climax of each day is The Grand Melee, a battle where knights and squires join together to strike the crest from the helmets of the opposition.

The event will also allow visitors to see living history encampments, tricks and performances from a silly jester and chat to a barber surgeon about the wounds he would have treated during battle.

Phillip, who is an osteopath by day from Hartlepool, said: “Dawn of Chivalry is a group of medieval enthusiasts who travel around the north of England re-enacting battles and medieval life.

“Nearly all of us have regular day jobs but we love to come to places like Belsay to showcase our skills.

“The chainmail and armour weighs about three stone and the swords and shields are extremely heavy, so we have to train regularly together to make the battle scenes authentic and safe and of course to keep fit!”

The event runs between 11am–5pm over the bank holiday weekend. Tickets are at £5.40 for children, £8.10 for adults and a family ticket costs £21.60. English Heritage members and under 5s go free.