I love Rockingham Castle and the only reason we don’t go more is that, it being a private home, it is neither part of EH or the NT. Sure i saw a yearly membership thing a while back, i ought to investigate, because they do a lot of “event days” and they do seem to be excellent. In fact, one of the nicest things about today was that the residents were out on the lawn playing tennis and pointed us in the direction of a couple of trail clues – it is easy to want to support someone opening their home when they are friendly and approachable about it 🙂
We started the day with a treasure hunt around the gardens.
Then after a quick lunch we sat down to enjoy the Saxon and Vikings.
Through the day, following a mock (not all that mock!) battle, there were a series of acted scenarios which told the story of King Edward and the succession of Ethelred the Unready (properly translated as Il Advised).
We chatted to one lady about carving spoons (witches live in Elder, ask before you cut wood and if she answers, run even if she says yes!) and listened to the surgeon for a while, watched some archery and chatted to a lady for quite a while about her weaving disc.
Maddy and Amelie meanwhile fell over themselves to tell us what they knew about the Celts, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, again from having taken the time to watch Horrible Histories and use the BBC website. I love self motivated kids.
We fitted in a quick trip round the castle and i was REALLY impressed that the 3 girls i took before had remembered everything in the 4 particular pics in the Long Gallery they had been shown on a previous guided tour. We found all the ghosties and footless animals and Fran told Maddy all about why boys used to be dressed like girls. Lots of stuff popped up through that.
Then we had a trip round the Wild Garden; Josie loved this and very much led the way, showing again that her piece of baby elastic has now completely snapped. She charged off and had us all runing a merry dance around it.
This was growing by the lake but i wasn’t sue if it was Giant Hogweed or Wild Rhubarb. (There were no warning signs up, which i thought there might have been if it was the first, but not sure if the latter grows by water so readily.)
While we were in there we collected a few tree seeds to see if we can plan them and start nurturing some trees for a grove when we eventually move to a house with a bigger garden.
I don’t know about anyone else, but i always have to be on the side of the invaded country. We cheered for the Saxons (but i’d cheer for Vikings against Normans!) but although they fought bravely, in the end they lost and their women and children paid the price. Must admit to choking back a sob as the widowed wives ran on to the field to find their dead.
It was an excellent day. Loads to learn and look at and talk about, the kids impressed me with what they know that they could hang it on, the castle was lovely and the re-enacters were fab and included the audience while completely throwing themselves into it.