Our family at Kentwell

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


We are a family of home educators, who live in London and three years ago we were persuaded to become Tudor reenactors at Kentwell Hall, by other home
educators who had been doing this for some years. It was really difficult for Mum making all the costumes as she had never sewn before - she got pretty stressed out doing the four costumes! This photo shows me this year working as a pedlar - for some of the time I was a Mummer, which I really enjoyed and hope to do again next year. The first photo shows one of the Mummer plays which we put on for the school children. I am on the right as a wanderer in a piece about the wind and the rain. My Kentwell name is Kitty and I am 10 years old. I did change my name to Flossie, which is similar to my real name Flora, but I could never remember it so I changed back to Kitty. Dad came with us for two years and he was called Red Ed, because he gets a red nose, but he really hated it - there were too many things that annoyed him! We think he would make a good alchemist, as he likes scientific stuff, so we might get him back one year, but I sort of doubt it, as he looks after our dogs and anyway Mum would have to make a fairly posh costume, which might be difficult for her, though she is getting a bit better at sewing!
I really like Kentwell because it is fun pretending to go back in time and living like Tudors. I enjoy having a job, meeting new people and making friends. I love the ceilladhs which we have on Saturday evenings. One year I won a hobby horse race and my prize was a flowery head garland!

Hello, I am Clem and this is me at the end of the day carrying left over biscots, which we sell to the school children and the general public, back to the main stall on the front sward where they are put away for the night, until the next day. I am 12 years old and I have been doing Kentwell since I was 9.

I really like Kentwell, the way everyone works together, which gives me the feeling that we really are part of a Tudor Manor. The first year I came we were in the Cott for two weeks and I didn't like this all that much, but I did love churning the butter with my hands. I spent most of the time wandering about the Manor watching people and helping and also shooting arrows at the Butts. I have also done Chandling (making candles) with my Dad, have been a Soteler (making pottage) and a Pedlar. I like being a Pedlar most of all, spending time with my friends, like my home ed friend Batkin and also making new friends. This year I made a new friend called Alys.

I love going to Kentwell because it is calming and relaxing, though I do work a full day as a pedlar. In the morning we have to put up the tents, get the biscots and other stuff from the gatehouse, carry it to the back bridge where we flog everything to the school kids and punters. At the end of the day we take the left overs back to the gate and count the money.

Tomorrow we are going to Kentwell for the Michaelmas mini event which only last four days. At the mini events they are far fewer re enactors, we have only done one before. Flora (Kitty) and I are going to be Pedlars and Mum is going to be in the Woolshed - they wanted her to be a Pedlar too, but she said she wanted a break from us! It is going to be difficult for me as I have just broken by wrist - somehow I will have to cover up my plaster!

I am Mariot, Mother of Clem and Kitty, wife of Red Ed (who doesn't do Kentwell now), home educator, ex gardener at Kew, ex agricultural development officer in Botswana and the Gambia, world traveller, teacher of medical students (how to do cervical smears in the best possible way), mystery shopper for Lambeth Sexual health services, home manager, daughter of elderly parents who need much care and attention, electoral canvasser for Lewisham Council and more besides!

I love going to Kentwell as a Tudor reenactor for a whole variety of reasons; I love to camp, I love the beautiful surroundings, I love learning new skills and meeting new people, I love the freedom it affords my children and the opportunities which they have to a play significant role in this process of re enacting and to learn about history in an interesting and stimulating way. I hate the preparations and all the gear which has to be gathered together and am not wildly keen on all the sewing either!

Tomorrow we are going for the Michaelmas mini event and as usual I am wondering why on earth I agreed to do it. I have so many other things which I need to be getting on with, but I know that once I get to Kentwell, I will be really happy even if the facilities are extremely basic for us campers. We have recently upgraded and the proud owners of a VW camper van, so we now camp in 5 star luxury. Before we go I must lug all the costumes and gear out of the roof, buy a few basics for breakfasts and food for the kids' privvy bags - sometimes they manage to eat the pottage, but can be a variable feast, not forgetting a few bottles of wine for myself. Really I can't wait to get to get there as I love the late summer feel, the michaelmas daisies, the heavy dew on the ground, the slight chill of the evening and all the spiders webs!