Married at Ypres Castle


The Ypres Tower held it’s first ever wedding celebration on Friday 30th July 2010, the site (in much need of funds for a new roof to the former “women’s prison”, agreed to hold the wedding to raise it’s profile, and hopefully some attention to it’s cause.

Rhiannon Bennett and Graham Chillingworth 2
Rhiannon Bennett and Graham Chillingworth
Castle Wedding
Castle Wedding

Therefore, the celebration of the marriage, between Rhiannon Bennett and Graham Chillingworth took place, on Friday 30th July, in the former Medieval Prison’s courtyard. Many attendee’s dressed in costume of the era, notably the groom and groomsmen, who came as Viking Warriors, whilst the Bride and her maids were all in Medieval fantasy dress’s.

Rhiannon Bennett and Graham Chillingworth Wedding
Rhiannon Bennett and Graham Chillingworth Wedding

Arriving at the Tower in a hose drawn carriage Rhi set the scene, wearing a beautiful self designed, multi coloured hand made fantasy style dress. The ceremony followed a traditional Viking Wedding, the Bride presented the groom with a sword to protect the family, which would, one day be passed on to their first born son. In exchange, the Groom would give the bride the key to his house, which symbolises what is his, is now hers. Live acoustic music was played on guitars and a violin, whilst other family members sang and gave readings to accompany the service.

Rhiannon is the daughter of Dianah and Jim Bennett, many will know “Rhi” as she works as a teacher at Rye College, Graham is the son of Anthea & Nick Chillingworth from Rye. The newlyweds have been living together for many years, sharing education time as well as working time together.

Rhi’s maids were, Emily Atkins, Natasha Spencer, Camilla Bennett, Chloe Chillingworth, Mathilda Bennett & Skye Bennett. The Grooms men were, Andrew Chillingworth (standard bearer), Chris Chillingworth, Ed Arkley, Tom Arkley, Will Shearer & Simon Hooker, whilst the ushers were Matthew Wittingham and Richard Phillips. The officant was Sarah Pearson, a close friend and colleague of Rhi’s.

First Wedding at Ypres Castle
First Wedding at Ypres Castle

Following the ceremony, the couple were invited to “Jump The Besom”, a traditional Pagan ritual, which symbolises a sexual union between two people. Mead, Wine and Ale were consumed, while the somewhat modern tradition of taking the photographs took place. The wedding party then enjoyed a Fantastic Medieval feast at the Landgate Bistro, including Game Pie, Salt Beef and Martins “special Pork Pie’s”, helped down with wine & Beer.

But that was not the end, as the Medieval wedding progressed onto the “Globe Inn”, where yet more merriment and enjoyment could be found. The Inn provided the perfect end to a perfect day, yet more food and drink, with a tempting volley of seafood, including Lobster, King Prawns, Mussels, Homemade Pate’, Salads & Special Breads.

The evening continued, with live music from “Mick Mepham”, who played the wedding party’s favourite “Rock” music, It’s hard to say when the pinnacle of the day happened, as so much was enjoyed by so many. At the Globe was the all important “wedding Cake”, made and conceived by Dianah, the brides mum, who carefully crafted a Viking “Longship” out of a feast of fruit cake. Rhi & Graham (Grouse to friends & family), made the day complete by cutting the ship with their sword, beginning yet further celebrations as the guests danced and drank the night away.

The now very happy Mr & Mrs Chillingworth requested no presents, instead asking for donations to their honeymoon. A further step back into history, as they visit the magical Egyptian sites, around the Pyramids of North Africa.

Photos and report Pixels Photo Studio Rye.

From “Rye’s Own” September 2010