A very Tudor Christmas
By Cara Barbuti Thursday 7th November
On Wednesday 6th November, we went to Wollaton hall on a school trip. Mrs Hopkins told us that we had to go to the toilet and then we could leave. I felt extremely excited because I had never been in a mansion that was built in 1588. When we got there, we were introduced to the servants and were told what we were going to be doing. My class was going into the kitchens first, but before we did anything, we had to put our lunchboxes and coats in big wire basket.
Initially, we then went into the kitchens. First, into the inner kitchen, this was where the servants would have eaten. Mistress Peabody showed us how the Tudors would have cooked without an oven or a stove. Then we went into the outer kitchen were we made pomanders which are oranges that make you smell nice because in the Tudor times, you would not smell very nice! You would have put cloves in them, which would have done the trick.
After we had finished our pomanders, we went into a little room with a carpet stage. When we all sat down, Master Cam announced that we were going to perform a play for Sir Francis Willoughby (he was the owner of the building), it was called a Mummers play. We did one where St. George went to fight the dragon. First, the dragon killed St. George and the doctor had to utter a magic few words and give St. George a potion. Suddenly St. George came back to life. Then the amazing man got up, fought like a hero, and killed the dragon; everyone cheered! Finally, he told us a story about a cell key, which is a Scottish myth.
When we had finished the activity, we went upstairs to the main hall and learned a Tudor dance. Boy’s had to dance with a girl partner (girls don’t worry dancing with boys isn’t so bad.) We practised the boar’s head carol, then experienced bringing up the boar’s head and the drink that Sir Francis Willoughby would have at the end of the day.
Then it was luncheon. Before we sat down, we had to say a prayer, because Tudors gave thanks before eating. Leila, Madeline and I did not have a seat to sit on, so we had to be the three posh women and sit with all the grown ups-we; weren’t very posh though.
After lunch was over Mistress Underne explained that we had to dress up like Tudors, So we all wet downstairs. The boys went into a little room to get into a costume (three boys dressed differently to every other boy because one was the doctor, another one was dressed as the dragon and the final boy was St. George.). The girls got changed in the corridor. We had to put bum rolls on so our bums looked big (because this was the Tudor fashion), but we did have a skirt over the bum roll.
Finally, to round off the day we went to meet Sir Francis Willoughby. Mistress Underne announced “Sir Francis Willoughby” we all clapped and as if by magic, he appeared. He had a stick in one hand and an eye patch over the opposite eye. Then we demonstrated all skills we had learned (the carol the dance and the Mummers play). When that was all over it was time to take photos get into partners and leave to go back to school.
Overall, I had a lovely day and that was the first time I had ever been to a house that had been built in 1588. I felt extremely amazed seeing as though Sir Francis Willoughby had stayed alive for around 450 years! I think you will really enjoy it.