850th Celebrations

St Margaret’s Medieval Fair was a great and unusual free day out for people of all ages.  The Church and surrounding area was transformed into a medieval village, with events, activities and re-enactments giving a sense of life in Crossgate in the middle ages.

This was part of the St Margaret's 850th Celebrations

Donations were invited to the St Margaret's Well Project

A medieval pageant performed by St Margaret’s School

Medieval tunes on medieval musical instruments

Monastic services, ecclesiastical processions

Spinners, wood workers, rug makers

Blacksmith, basket maker, peasant

Events were in and around

the Church and Church yards

Crossgate, Durham DH1 4PR

(just up from the Gates)

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Medieval Musicians

Katy Marchant  and Stephen Tyler of Daughters of Elvin and Caliban’s Dream (but best known from Misericordia of Brancepeth Castle) played bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, recorder, cittern, pipe and salterio, percussion to give us a taste of medieval music.


Misericordia they had two performances on the stage and in between were wandering minstrels demonstrating their various instruments

St Cuthbert's Land

St. Cuthbert's Land is a re-enactment group based in County Durham which portrays life in Anglo-Saxon and Viking times. It operates throughout the North-East of England; clients include Bamburgh Castle, Bede's World and Tyne & Wear Museums. It is part of the leading re-enactment society, Regia Anglorum.


St Cuthbert's Land brought a team to display daily life as it would have been in the early Norman years of Durham when St Margaret's church was founded. They undertook the daily chores of cooking, craft work, weapons preparation and practice. There was archery, calligraphy, battle scenes and the bishop’s robes...

Rent-a -Peasant

Louisa Gidney, Rent a Peasant provided an insight into everyday aspects of rural life in the past, from a housewife's viewpoint.


Louisa bought her housewife's kit including baby chicks, medieval toys and a chicken to pluck.

Durham Medieval Archaeologists

Students and Faculty from the Archaeology Department brought along displays and artefacts from their research and gave tours of the archaeological history of the church

Simon Airey - Storyteller

Simon Airey, Chaplain at Grey College entranced us with stories through the ancient art of storytelling. Remember there was no TV.

Durham Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers

The Durham Guild meets regularly in Durham to promote and preserve the arts of spinning, weaving, dyeing & other related textile crafts. They demonstrated their skills.

Durham Clayport Matters

Durham Clayport Matters promote traditional proggy and hooky mat making. In the North-east we are proud of our heritage of traditional rag rug making- born out of necessity and now continuing as a creative pastime and art form. Items are still made in the traditional manner of years ago, we still use recycled materials but we also use modern fabrics' brighter and more varied colours and more innovative design ideas.

St Margaret's School Pageant

St Margaret's Primary School performed a specially written pageant  for St Margaret's 850th anniversary telling the story of St Margaret of Antioch. Pageants provided entertainment and education in the middle ages.

Crook Hall

The initial building at Crook Hall was started 50 years after the founding of St Margaret's and was in St Margaret's parish.  Crook Hall displayed something of their medieval heritage. You can visit their medieval hall and gardens and enjoy their extensive programme of activities.

Hog Roast

Alan Mace, local farmer,fed us with the ever popular hog roast.

St Margaret's Caterers

St Margaret's loyal band of caterers kept us refreshed with samples of medieval food - vegetarian pottage, gyngerbrede and other medieval recipes and, as a concession to the 21st century, the necessary teas and coffees - how did they manage in the middle ages without their coffee?

The Old Fulling Mill Museum of Archaeology

Want to see what has been dug up from the middle ages in Durham? Then head for the Fulling Mill Museum after the Fair. The Museum brought its medieval activity box with medieval clothing for the children to wear and stained glass windows to make.

Green Woodworking

Chris Helliwell is a master craftsman in the art of working wood with tools that would have been used by our ancestors. He demonstrates regularly at the Botanic Gardens and there was a chance to have a go yourself.

Durham  Falconry

Philip Niall is a falconer with many years experience who is now based as an instructor at Houghall Farm. There was a chance to see the birds close up,hold them and learn of the medieval art of falconry.

Durham Brewery

Your local brewer brought a wide selection of bottle-conditioned and cask beers. Traditional methods marry with modern practice to give the best of past and present drinking.


Has someone in the family been naughty recently? Then there was space in the village stocks for them. LOL Youth Ministry and the St Margaret’s Guides ran the stocks, for anyone caught misbehaving at the Fair. For a donation to our charity you could pelt the culprits with wet sponges.

Durham Cathedral

St Margaret’s Church was founded by the Monastery that is now the Cathedral, on lands that were originally the Monk’s fishponds. The Cathedral remains the church’s Patron. The Cathedral created a display including beautiful copies of pages from its medieval manuscripts.

Medieval living and fighting

Medieval storytelling

Medieval food


and more....

See the photos here

Children's Activities

Many of the above activities were open to adults and children of all ages. In addition there was a small children's playground for the under 5's and activities such as archery for the 5-10 year olds.


Adrian Wood uses traditional blacksmithing techniques to create contemporary and innovative designs. The blacksmith’s forge provided many of the essentials for cooking, fighting and daily living .

Basket Weaving

Jo Anne Bolton of Abundant Earth a local natural food co-operative demonstratied traditional willow weaving skills such as would have been used in the middle ages to make baskets and bowls and also on a larger scale to make fences known as hurdles.

St Margaret of Antioch 850th Celebrations

Medieval Fair   5th June 10am - 5pm

Fair Photos