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York Students Take On Roman Legion In Tug-of-War

York Minster

6:01am 8th June 2013

The students of The Minster Choir School have challenged Roman Legionaries to a Tug of War today (Saturday 8th June at 11:00am). The event, a celebration of living history in York, will be the focal point of The Minster School's British summer school fete.

With the support of The Farming Museum, Murton Park and York's Roman Bath Museum, 8 Legionaries representing the Legio IX Hispana, Rome's most feared fighting machine, are expected to return nearly 2,000 years after their mysterious disappearance.

Steve Gedden from the school say: "Its part of the Minster School Fete with stalls, craft activities and refreshments. On a sunny day in June, immediately in front of the south transept of York Minster there is no more spectacular location for some traditional fun. It enjoys the support of many local businesses it is the only fete in the city centre".

As a focal point to this years Fete, 30 students of the choir school, will take on the 8 Roman Legionaries in a traditional Tug of War challenge. Tug of War Association Officials will supervise the event, which promises to be a spectacular conflict between the waring parties.

"Sure the Romans are tough and disciplined, but I think we can take them if we maintain our formation" said Elyssia Hopwood-Robinson of Year 7, "we will have the numbers on our side!"

From the school, Steven Gedden says: "Rumors have also been circulating that Members of Richard III's medieval army have also been sighted, sparking speculation that they may be returning to York since the discovery of the final resting place of their dead king. The Ninth, also known as the Spanish Legion, are one of the most written about Roman Legions. Tacitus wrote about their battle with Boudica, Queen of the Iceni, describing it as the “Massacre of the Ninth”. Up to 80% of the legion was destroyed in the battle in 60AD. However, it was not disbanded and in 71AD the 5000 strong legion founded a fort at Eboracum, later named York. From 109AD there is no mention of the 9th and many books and films have speculated on what happened.

"Constantine was declared Emperor in York by his Roman soldiers in 306AD and within ten years his Edict on Religious Tolerance had transformed the Roman Empire and brought about York’s first Bishop. Just over three hundred years later, The Minster School was founded by Paulinus, a Roman and the first Archbishop of York. Our Tug of War is a tribute to these moments in History that have so influenced the life of York and her People".

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