Crowds were transported through time and space during the debut of a play on this year's King Harold Day.

Each year the event is held to remember the last Anglo Saxon King of England, Harold II.

After losing his life at the Battle of Senlac Hill or Hastings on October 14, 1066, the conquered king was purportedly buried in Waltham Abbey.

While counter rumours that Harold was laid to rest in four tombs under St Michael’s Church in Bishop’s Stortford, historians, monarchists and Waltham Abbey loyalists visit a memorial at the town's church each year.

Tricia Gurnett, chairperson of the festival, said: "How lucky we were with the weather.

"The sun shone and it was amazingly warm for October.

"The only problem was the wind making the Anglo Saxon flag on our HQ tent flap round and round the pole."

With a small group of volunteers having arrived shortly after 7am to pitch the tents, set up the stalls and generally make ready, festivities were able to get underway at 11am.

The day began with a performance of the specially-written play 'The Falcon's Flight'.

Written and directed by Jenna Thorne and Anne-Christelle Zanzen, a small troupe set about walking the audience around the Abbey.

Starting with the death of King Harold, the story then follows his daughter Princess Gytha, who fled the country after his death.

Going first to Denmark, where she was given refuge by the king, a relative of her grandmother, she was married to a Russian prince and the two eventually became king and queen of Ukraine.

Mrs Gurnett added: "The team of six professional actors portrayed the characters brilliantly, from wicked King Sweyn to scheming and powerful Countess Gytha, and her brave granddaughter Princess Gytha.

"The audience was enthralled, with even the children demanding to stay until the end to find out what happened."

Once the dramatics were wrapped up the official commemoration begun.

Geoffrey Littlejohn of the English Companions recited the Anglo Saxon lament 'The Wanderer' in Old English before Mrs Gurnett read 'Waltham Whispers', a poem written two years ago by Keely Mills when she was poet in residence at the town museum.

The chairman of Epping Forest District Council, Cllr Richard Bassett along his wife Sue, the mayor of Waltham Abbey Cllr Jeane Lea and Rev'd Peter Smith, Rev'd Canon Joyce Smith and Rev'd Alexandra Guest attended the proceedings.

Mrs Gurnett said: "The flower placing ceremony was lovely.

"There was already a beautiful arrangement of flowers on the memorial donated by Abbey Flower Designs of Highbridge Street, something they have done for all 14 years we have had a celebration for King Harold.

"For the second year we used single red roses placed by representatives of those organizations taking part.

"And, of course, our Junior King Harold, Matthew, was there to place a rose, having now reached the grand old age of nine.

"Waltham Abbey Historical Society laid their usual floral arrangement in memory."

In total there were 17 floral tributes laid out, the most in recent years.

At 1pm Chingford Morris danced for a large audience near the south door of the Abbey.

Within the Church there was a lunch-time Music Recital, two guided tours of the Abbey and the tower was open in the afternoon for those looking for a view across the forest.

Then it was back to ground level for the second performance of the play for a new audience.

Mrs Gurnett added: "At 3.30pm the sack barrows appeared again to transport all that equipment back to the cars, and eventually we all got home, exhausted but pleased with an excellent day.

"Thank you to all our visitors for coming to see us and thank you to the various groups who had stalls or who took part in the day.

"Another October 14 has come and gone, and we in Waltham Abbey have marked the tragic death of our Lord of the Manor, King Harold II, the last Anglo Saxon King of England.

"We will mark this occasion in our town, which was his town, every year."