Fancy getting involved in a medievil pastime then why not try 'Lousting' - join Victoria Pendleton at one of English Heritage,s nationwide jousting events this summer.

Victoria tries her hand at Jousting

Victoria tries her hand at Jousting

Victoria Pendleton has become English Heritage’s latest jouster after the charity challenged the double Olympic gold medallist to try her hand at England’s first national sport, it was announced today (Wednesday 19 July 2017). The champion cyclist launched English Heritage’s Medieval Knights Season as she swapped her bicycle for a steed, her lycra for a full suit of armour, and faced English Heritage’s expert jousters at a special training session at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. 

And after adjusting to the 45kg suit of armour, getting to grips with the 12ft lance, mounting a horse and then galloping towards her opponent at a speed of 30mph, with a field of vision of only 5mm through her steel helmet, Victoria Pendleton was convinced jousting deserved its place at the Olympic table.

Victoria Pendleton, double Olympic gold medallist cyclist, said: “I’ve seen at first-hand how physically fit you need to be to joust and the sheer skill and strength involved. It’s just as physically exerting as competitive cycling or horse-racing. Jousting definitely deserves its place at the Olympic table.”

“I now have a huge amount of respect for the sport, much greater than before. I would highly recommend bringing some friends and family to a joust at an English Heritage castle – you’ll be thrilled to see this spectacular and ancient sport being performed right in front of you.” 

 “I will joust again. Practice makes perfect – and I need a lot of practice.” 

Dominic Sewell, English Heritage’s expert jouster, said: “Jousting isn’t easy. Riding horses is hard, wearing armour is hard, carrying a lance is hard. Doing all three things at once while trying to strike your opponent is even more difficult. But Victoria exceeded our expectations, she was absolutely brilliant and we are delighted she’s on the English Heritage team.”

“We introduced Victoria to the thrill of jousting. And like Victoria, to really experience jousting, you need to see it in real life, from the sounds of the horses charging to the shattering of the lances. There is no other sport like jousting. This summer, we’re inviting the public to come along to one of our castles and see up close the sport to end all sports.”   

Earlier this month, new research by English Heritage and the Sport Science Centre at the University of Bath, revealed that today’s jousters are the ultimate all-round athletes, combining similar levels of fitness and strength to a professional footballer, a top tennis player, and a Formula 1 driver.

Last summer, English Heritage launched a campaign for jousting to be recognised as an Olympic sport. Since then, thousands of people have signed our petition calling for England’s first national sport to be included in a future Olympic Games.

It’s not just Olympic athletes who can try their hand at jousting this summer, as part of English Heritage’s Medieval Knights Season, there are opportunities for children to get involved including hobby horse jousting, kids’ battles, sword skills, and trying on armour.

English Heritage is hosting jousts at its castles including Framlingham Castle in Suffolk (29-30 July), Pendennis Castle in Cornwall (1-2, 8-9, 15-16 August), Dover Castle in Kent (12-13 August), Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight (15-17 August and 22-24 August), Old Sarum in Wiltshire (27-28 August) and Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire (27-28 August).

English Heritage’s Medieval Knight Season runs this summer across the country, to discover more and to find an event near you, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/knights

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