We took our museum De Lorean vehicle and went back to 1215 on Saturday. King John appeared, anxious to ensure the taxes were being collected, and graced us with his presence, a presence that required countless cups of tea I noticed. This burred and hurried picture shows him with one of his Knights who revealed the art of dressing in armour and after the picture was taken how to use a sword and kill said Knights in armour. To do this he obtained a volunteer from the audience, a brave 10 year old, who was then the subject of thrusts, jabs, assaults and so on to ensure we got the picture. The lad never moved a muscle but I did.
One chap described the workings of the local Mill, the use made of 'Tithe Barns,' two of which exist nearby, and allowed folks to taste the Rye bread of the medieval day as well as the Spelt bread used by the rich. I supplied jugs of water to prevent choking on the Rye bread as it was somewhat dry Rye. The difference in basic foodstuffs over 800 years is hard for some to accept. The rich had what they needed, mostly by hunting, and the poor got what they got! The Conservative Party work on similar principles today.
This table gave off a magnificent fragrance! The variety of herbs and spices used in those days is astounding. The lass told those interested what the various herbs were used for, healing in some cases, making food edible in others and even cleaning the teeth! Some would have only been available for the richer folks, others would have been grown or searched for by the peasants as and when. Most lived off the land so they would be raised with an awareness of what was possible from that which grew around the place.
The Knight in shining armour (which has to be cleaned daily or it rusts as it is steel, think of the work the yeomen had maintaining a Knight?) appears big and brave and the Essex Knights were very rebellious. After King Johns failure in the French wars these chaps revolted bringing about the Magna Carta and civil war that soon followed. Soon after the publication John, an able administrator if lousy warrior, got the Pope, who did not like him, to annul the Carta. This led to war with the nobles. The brave Knights however were not so brave when John's loyal nobles defeated them up north somewhere so when John came to Essex looking for them they hopped it to London where it was safer, the city being anti John also. The reason for the uprising? Money! John taxed them too much and they disliked it. After he died however all settled down, they kept their lands and everyone went back to hating the French.
It was a very good but somewhat long day and my knees being unhappy with me by the end. Large numbers passed through, asked questions, bought books or pictures signed by the authors/artists, understood medieval life, searched through an archaeological dig, examined a skeleton (plastic) and had a jolly good time. I am not sure whether the orange stuffed with cloves in a decorative manner will actually keep away the plague but it went down well with some.
I missed the football, had to drag my weary body to the shops for eatables and arrived in the smelly abode worn out and glad I am not sleeping on straw or having to run after a Lord or King. Climbing all the stairs in a Norman 'Keep' is hard work I can tell thee. I have done it once and I am not keen to do it again. I am however keen on sleeping since then and wish to develop this as a hobby.