Farlington pupils travel back in time to Tudor England

Sara Povey, Deputy Head of Farlington Prep School, details the girls’ trip to Hooke Court in Dorset

Grey skies and the possibility of more snow didn’t dampen Farlington School’s Prep 5’s enthusiasm when they visited Hooke Court in Dorset for their three-day Tudor Experience. The Court is a beautiful Tudor manor house and was once the home of a powerful Tudor family, and now offers children the opportunity to experience different aspects of Tudor life. The girls took part in a whole range of different activities from designing Tudor boats to trying on Tudor costumes.

Designing and building a model Tudor galleon was great fun; the finished boats looked fantastic and were all able to set sail. A morning spent in the cookery room preparing Tudor gingerbread, knot biscuits and custard tarts was very productive, followed by weaving and candle-making. Life in a Tudor schoolroom was an interesting experience for Prep 5 as they chanted their Latin verbs and learnt how to write with a quill – not easy to do! One of the most popular activities was trying on Tudor costumes. Tudor dancing lessons were also on the agenda and the girls were put through their paces learning that a ‘brawl’ was, in fact, a type of dance. 

The highlight of the visit was the Tudor Banquet.  Everyone, including the staff, looked magnificent in their Tudor costumes as they processed into the banquet. The food was delicious, and we tasted the latest New World vegetable – a ‘solanum tuberosa’ (potato). Good manners in Tudor times were very important and, unfortunately, two members of the party were beheaded, as they upset the royal guests, but luckily their identical twin sisters were able to take their places at the banquet! A murder mystery took place later that evening and the girls excitedly solved clues and investigated witness statements to find the murderer.

Before going to Hooke Court, the girls had raised money for Hooke Court in Malawi, a charity which supports schools in one of the poorest countries in the world, and Farlington School was delighted to present a cheque and several big boxes of mathematics equipment to Sarah McConnell at Hooke Court. It was great to see all the donations being loaded into the container ready to be shipped out to Malawi.

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time at Hooke Court and the competition to have the tidiest dorm was fierce! We returned home tired but having had a memorable and enriching time.

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