HUNDREDS of people who stepped through the doors of Hexham Abbey on Saturday were transported back to Anglo-Saxon times.

Characters including seventh century King Ecgfrith, Wilfrid, Bishop of York and founder of Hexham Abbey and legendary Geatish prince Beowulf, were brought to life by historical education collective Wild Dog Outdoors.

Through story-telling, arts and crafts and hands-on traditional ink-making workshops, families were offered an interactive chance to learn more about the Abbey’s long history.

Staged during the February half-term school holiday, the event highlighted the potential links between the 3,000-line long Beowulf poem set in Scandinavia, and the Abbey itself.

The poem, which is a classic tale of good triumphing over evil, was passed down orally over many generations until it was finally written down – with one well-known theory suggesting this took place in a North-East monastery.

Around 400 people, many of them youngsters, turned out to take part in the event at the Abbey dubbed Beowulf, Bishops and Battles.

“What was even more impressive than the number of people who came along, was the amount of time they stayed,” said Kevin Robson, from Haydon Bridge, who co-founded Wild Dog Outdoors with his wife, Sara.

“Families stuck around for a good few hours and really made the most of the event and enjoyed the space. And that really is the key to fantastic locations like the Abbey – opening them up to be enjoyed as part of the community.”