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St Teilo’s Church

October 2011

Taking stock

Posted by Sara Huws on 14 October 2011

What a season it's been. Thanks to the presence of the 'Making History 1500-1700' exhibition, we've been able to push the boat out a little bit for our Tudor and Stuart events, aided by a small army (and an actual Regiment) of re-enactors, social historians and volunteers.

Battlefield at St Fagans
Our volunteers! Not really, it's the Winchester Regiment of the English Civil War Society...

We've been visited by pipers, skinners, barber-surgeons, nurses, herbalists, musketeers, pikemen, a Tudor beauty expert, an Elizabethan noblewoman and her maid, timber trebuchet-testers, longbowmen, feasters, revellers, rebels, preachers and even children suffering from plague! Some had never been to St Fagans before, and so I hope we'll see them again. I'm absolutely shattered but delighted to have learned so much during such a busy time of year.

Tudor Tailor
The Tudor Tailors busy at work

My favourite sessions of the season were 'Tudor Tastes', in which social historians Sally Pointer, Suzanne Churchill and I tried out some bona fide 1500s recipes, on the hearth in Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf. We ate very well but I must admit I'm glad we didn't get round to cooking the Turnip Pudding this time around.

Tudor Food
Preparing Tudor Tastes at Hendre'r Ywydd Uchaf

Close second to our 'Tudor Tastes' session were my foray into sporting history, exploring all sorts of extinct and frankly lethal sport with young people from Wales, Poland, Germany and France. The sessions were simultaneously translated into three languages - having been a linguist in a previous life, I was amazed at how we managed to share so much with each other as a group. Unfortunately, my Welsh wrestling demonstration skills weren't quite up to scratch; but helpfully, the pig's bladder ball gave us plenty to talk about.

bladder ball detail
See, from some angles, and when obscured by a basket-handle, even a pig's bladder can be beautiful

There are so many other sessions I'd love to put on my podium - but there's not a lot of time to dwell on them. This afternoon, we prepare to start the whole process again, as we fill the calendar for 2012 and 2013. I've got a few ideas up my sleeve - I'll let you know if they make the grade!

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