Ringwood Re-enactment Attracts British History Buffs

The Victorian British living history event is being sponsored by the Royal Sussex Regimental Society and Ringwood State Park staff.

There will be a re-enactment for British history buffs July 23-24 at Ringwood Manor.
There will be a re-enactment for British history buffs July 23-24 at Ringwood Manor. Photo Credit: Paul Jicha, photographer/owner, Dragoon Photography
RINGWOOD, N.J. -- The Second Boer War was a defining moment in British colonial history. The period will come to life Saturday and Sunday at Ringwood Manor.

It will transform the grounds of Ringwood Manor into South Africa for the weekend and will feature patrolling, encampments, period cooking, armed drilling and demonstrations of civilian and military life during the Boer War of the late 19th century. Skirmishes will take place Saturday.

Royal Sussex Regimental Society President, John Van Vliet explained the war's significance.

"It was the first major Victorian conflict in two generations and in many ways the first modern, industrial conflict for the UK which challenged the old ways of military thinking and set the stage for the technological upheaval of the First World War, " he said. "The Boer War transformed the British army from a largely imperial policing role to one better prepared for the conflicts of the 20th century. It generated strong public opinion on the ethics of intervention and became an international issue, affecting Britain's relationship with the world and shaped the tumultuous history of modern South Africa."

About the reenactors:

The Royal Sussex Regimental Society is a living history group founded in 2002. It strives to educate people about the life and times of the British army from the 18th to 20th centuries with a hands-on approach, Van Vliet said.

"Our goal is to recreate the dress and activities relevant to a program as authentically as possible to make history come alive for people, rather than just read about it," he said.

The local group is affiliated with the Royal Sussex Association in the United Kingdon and participate in historical programs in New York City and the tri-state area.

"Ours is a family-friendly group and is an excellent way to learn about the past and form new friendships," Van Vliet said. 

What visitors to the encampment can expect:

"Battle Day" on Saturday will include a recreation of a military camp circa 1900. One will be for the Boers, the Dutch-descended colonial inhabitants of South Africa and another for the British army. The British camp will also have a dressing and relief station operated by Victorian army nurses. People can see the uniforms and equipment, tents, and armaments of the the largest conflict of Queen Victoria's long reign. 

There are two skirmishes, at noon and 3 p.m., to give an approximate idea of what the clashes between Boer and British forces may have looked like. 

On Sunday, called "Home Service Day," visitors will find themselves in the 1880s and 1890s with demonstrations of military and civilian life in camp. 

The encampment  is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at Ringwood Manor, 1304 Sloatsburg Road.

Click here for more information about the Royal Sussex Association.

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