Year 5 were thrilled when a History lesson meant travelling back in time to the Tudor period for a day at Mary Arden’s House near Stratford upon Avon for the ‘Tudors Alive’ experience. Mary Arden was the mother of Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare. Throughout the day the children dressed up, baked, cleaned, sung and danced; just as the Tudors would have done 500 years ago.
Firstly they changed (which took quite while) into clothes that were replicas of those worn by Tudor farm workers and were each given a Tudor name. Pupil, Molly Rafferty said, “I loved dressing up in Tudor clothing, the kirtles were so comfortable.”
Girls – linen shift, woollen kirtle lined in linen, a coloured placard, an apron, a partlet, a coif
Boys – linen smock, breeches tied to a jacket, long socks, garters and a woollen hat
Jessica Houghton-Souness, said, “My Tudor name was Elizabeth Gibbs. I learnt that Tudor children did not wear underwear!”
When everyone was finally ready, pupils had a go at some Tudor baking, cooking their bread over an openfire and churning cream into butter to spread onto their freshly cooked rolls.
Pupil, Mark Darbyshire said, “Making Tudor bread was the best part of my day. Watching Mistress Roxanne make the bread and butter was brilliant, then we got to taste them both at the end of the day.”
Cleaning up afterwards was a crucial part of Tudor housekeeping, largely due to the high volume of vermin that thrived in that era. There was no such thing as Dettol or Fairy liquid in Tudor times, the pewter plates were scrubbed using ground egg shells and vinegar and rosemary water was used as a disinfectant to clean the table afterwards.
After all the domestic chores were completed the children watched a fantastic falconry display. In Tudor times Falconry provided an opportunity for kings, lords and nobles to host grand hunting parties. Hawks were the most popular choice for hunting birds.
Pupil, Oliver Hill said, “The falconry display was amazing, the eagle owl flew to our table!”