Re-enactors pledge their real-life love

TUDOR tales and real life merged at the weekend when couples who met while re-enacting the period pledged their lifetime of love.

Kentwell Hall, in Long Melford, was the setting for two Handfasting ceremonies, which were the equivalent of weddings in Tudor times.

Both couples taking part actually met while in character as Tudors at the hall, where the 32nd Great Annual Re-creation of Tudor Life is currently under way.

Jolie Pierce met her “knight in shining armour” Emlyn Booth last year when they performed a play on top of a cart, him as Lancelot and her as Morgan le Fay in the story of King Arthur.

Their Handfasting on Saturday symbolised their real-life commitment to one another, but also of their Tudor alter egos.

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Jolie said: “It was beautiful. The words for it were really beautiful.

“It’s quite similar to a normal church wedding. You can feel how the tradition has carried on.”

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During the ceremony, which was witnessed by visitors, the couple - who are actors in real life - had to put their sins in a clay pot which they smashed and they were tied together with a braid to show they will stay together for better or worse.

For their honeymoon they spent the night in a hollow tree.

Jolie, 31, who lives in Brighton with Emlyn, said she had been coming to Kentwell Hall since she was 10.

She said all the re-enactors took it “very seriously”.

“We have all been here for such a long time. My alter ego is a real person for me.”

Fiona Cloake and Jerome Bloom from London, and who also met as their Tudor characters, were due to have their Handfasting ceremony yesterday .

Both couples are due to have official weddings next year.

Patrick Phillips, who owns Kentwell Hall with wife Judith, said this was the first year he could remember when there had been two Handfastings.

He said: “We only do it for couples who are really committed.

“Every year couples apply to me and if I think they are stable and a long-term commitment we do one.”

At this year’s re-creation event, he estimated there would have been about 5,000 members of the public, 1,500 school children and 750 re-enactors.

The event finishes on Sunday. The remaining days it is open to the public are this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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