On a warm and sunny evening last week, a group of people gathered around the blue and white striped tables and benches outside the Old Borough Arms (colourfully bedecked in heraldic flags) for the medieval quiz organised by Sir Rory de Cross in aid of Rye Foodbank.
Suitably attired in period costume, were Sir Rory’s parents, Rita and Peter Cross, helping to direct the proceedings by organising the lively crowd into groups. After welcoming the lords and ladies of Rye, Sir Rory de Cross (dressed as a medieval nobleman) named the four teams after medieval castles – Rochester, Bodiam, Harlech and Edinburgh.
Then began the epic battle between the teams, determined to emerge victorious from the challenge of 40 demanding questions on medieval history, with Sir Rory keeping a tight rein on the proceedings (but not in the Spanish Inquisition sense). Questions included ones about the Mongol Empire, the Crusades, the meaning of the name “Rye”, the discovery of the New World, the wonderfully named Babylon Graundfote, the mayor of Rye between 1463-1475 and many other topics. There was much discussion as we tried desperately to recall any scrap of knowledge from those dim distant schooldays; so much so, that Sir Rory had to frequently request, “My lords and ladies, please lend me your ears” and “Hast thou completed question 6?” to which, “Aye my liege,” was the hearty response.
There was plenty of ale and good wine flowing and platters of food to keep the wolves at bay (those, we learnt, were nearly hunted into extinction in the Middle Ages) and the Strand echoed with the sound of chatter and rousing medieval music.
Sir Rory announced the winners and issued his special homemade certificates and rosettes: bronze to Bodiam, silver to Edinburgh and gold to Harlech. After Sir Rory’s thanks to one and all and a rousing speech to Queen Elizabeth II for the year of her platinum jubilee, the happy crowd dispersed.
Thank you, Sir Rory, for all your hard work preparing the questions, the rosettes, your handmade wares and for leading the quiz so brilliantly. Thanks also to Sarah and Ian at the Old Borough Arms for hosting it and for the great hospitality (how do you go up and down those steps so many times?).
It was a brilliant evening – fun and friendly and, best of all, it raised £150 for Rye Foodbank.
Sir Rory de Cross has a Facebook page Rory’s Medieval Tour of Rye, where he holds weekend Medieval Brainiac quizzes jam-packed with information on the medieval period, and after undergoing his tour guide training at the Rye Heritage Centre, he hopes to lead a ghost walk and further quizzes later in the year.
Image Credits: Juliet Duff , Rory's Medieval Tour of Rye , Rita Cross , Rory Cross .