Sunday, 16 May 2010

Dymchurch 'Day of Syn' 2010.

Our village 'Day of Syn' is a held every other year over the August Bank Holiday. It celebrates the novel of Russell Thorndike who's central character is the Vicar of Dymchurch 'Dr. Syn', who is also a notorious smuggler known as the 'Scarecrow' and feared leader of the 'Marsh Men'. Set at the turn of the 18th century, the vicar lives a secret double life until the Kings men suddenly arrive in the village and his secret is discovered.

We celebrate this by holding what is probably one of the best FREE days out in Kent, featuring Napoleonic re-enactment on the sandy beach, as the Kings men battle against the local smugglers led by the Scarecrow himself! The Napoleonic Association members give an impressive display over the weekend and English heritage open up our village 'martello' defensive tower to the public. Part of an extensive Napoleonic line of defence, these towers sit right on the seafront and this is one of the best preserved and is well worth a visit. The revolving cannon can still be seen on the top of the tower and inside you get a real feel for what it must have been like for those soldiers who had to man the place day and night. Even the circular musket racks remain intact. What it lacks are displays of any kind so I am going to contact EH and suggest that I set up some sort of display or wargame in the tower over the weekend, this will give real impetus to my project over the coming months. I have long felt that much more could be done to bring the tower 'to life' and I intend to get fully involved in attempting to do just that this year.

Meantime heres a link for anybody interested in spending the weekend here in August. This area is rich in Napoleonic history, from the remains of the old school of musketry in Hythe, the Royal Military Canal and the Martello defensive system of towers and forts. The events are FREE (thats pretty rare in itself these days!) and there are plenty of B&B's and places to stay. The village itself is decorated to reflect the theme with many locals dressing the part. The battle is held on the bank Holiday Monday with infantry, artillery and mounted officers etc taking on the musket armed 'Marsh Men' as they attempt to escape with the contraband. We have 3 nice pubs in the village, morris dancers and other free displays, all in all a great family weekend.

Dymchurch online is full of useful information:

Back soon with more pics of the figures!


Rafael Pardo said...

It's a pity that Napoleon did not invaded England! You could have more re-enactement possibilities.... (just kidding!)
I like those Martello towers

Lee said...

Hi Rafa,

The irony is that by the time the 'martello' defences and the Royal Military Canal were completed, Nelson had already defeated the French and (ahem..) Spanish fleets at Trafalger and gained control of the seas, so they became less important. But yes, I wonder how different things would have been had Napoleon managed to cross the Channel.