History in action at Bersham Ironworks


Jonathan Grieve

AN annual living history festival hosted the veteran and vintage vehicles of yesteryear, some of which were last seen in action 2,000 years ago.

History Alive at Bersham Ironworks was the location for the first ever Festival of Roman Artillery in the UK.

The organisers teamed up with Britain’s leading Roman re-enactment group, Deva Victrix, and Legion Ireland, the specialists in Roman siege machinery, to stage the one-off festival of Roman Imperial mechanical might.

Displays included more than 100 veteran, vintage and classic cars, motorbikes and commercial vehicles, with every visitor getting the chance to vote for their favourite.

Historic collections, stationary engines and community history stands included the North Wales Miners’ Bus.

There was a re-enactment arena with a full programme of military demonstrations introducing visitors to the skills of the Roman soldier and a chance for children to undergo Roman military training

The Corridor of Death and Destruction allowed visitors to get a first-hand demonstration of the power and pinpoint accuracy of Roman artillery.

Jonathan Gammond, access and interpretation officer for Wrexham Heritage Services, said: “Each year History Alive focuses on a different period of history. The Romans are always popular, but we didn’t want to repeat the same old Roman re-enactment display.

“We have never had real-size working replicas of Roman artillery at History Alive before, so Legion Ireland brought Roman firepower to a new audience.

“In fact this year’s Festival of Roman Artillery is a first for Wales and the UK as a whole.”

Mr Gammond added re-enactors came from the Midlands and the north of England to Bersham especially for the event because they wanted to be involved in the festival.

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