Welcome to the first ever Happening History Blog!
This Thursday was our first ever visit to Balgowan school and we were very excited to meet their reception classes. We were greeted on arrival by the very friendly and helpful caretaker who showed us where everything was.
We were in a really large hall with a beautiful plaster frieze around the top of the hall, extremely elaborate for a school hall and the first time I think I’ve seen this in a primary school.
We got ourselves ready and at 9 am, the first reception group meekly stepped into the hall to find Sir Edward, knight and his lady Margaret waiting for them.
The children were overawed to find Sir Edward in his full harness of armour and Lady Margaret in her posh clothes. We talked about how long it took to become a knight and how they would become a page boy at 6 and a squire at 12. We looked at what armour was made from and why knights wore armour. We asked the children if they thought there were any stealth knights and then Sir Edward showed them that there couldn’t be by trying to creep up on them in his armour. He clanked and clattered as he went and the children found this very funny! Silly Sir Edward!
We looked at Lady Margaret’s clothes and found out a few things about what a lady might do, such as running the household, organising her soldiers to defend the castle if the husband was away. Also perhaps some more genteel things such as embroidering, hunting and of course dancing and feasting when the occasion called for it.
The children were then all given the opportunity to try on some medieval clothes and armour and hold Sir Edwards (blunt) practice sword.
We finished by asking if any of the children were good artists, as Sir Edward and Lady Margaret were looking for a new portrait of them to hang above the fireplace in their great hall. There was to be a shiny medieval penny for the best portrait. The children all took to the task with relish and after 10 minutes or so we had some great drawings. Lady Margaret & Sir Edward looked carefully at all the drawings but there were so many good ones, which should they choose? In the end it was decided that they were all so good and that they were so wealthy and had so many rooms in their castle that they would buy all of them! A penny was handed to each of the young artists, who would complete their drawing and send it on later.
We had two more groups visit us throughout the day, all getting braver as the day went on. Sir Edward was told that he was ‘awesome’ and Lady Margaret that she looked ‘very pretty’, which pleased them both.
With much lighter purses and a promise of many portraits to follow, Sir Edward and Lady Margaret left so that the busy kitchen cooks might set out the great hall for the children’s lunchtime feasting. Thanks to all at Balgowan for organising such as a great day, it was a pleasure too meet you all. We hope to see you again soon.