March 2015 – St Mary’s invades Hever Castle

Thursday 19th March, 2015

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Today St Mary’s celebrated the end of our Step Back in Time learning journey with a ‘Fantastic Finish’ at Hever Castle. Many of the classes had been studying the Tudors so we are very fortunate to have such a magnificent castle on our doorstep. Everyone dressed for the occasion and wore the same outfits that we enjoyed at the ‘Stunning Start’ for our Tudor banquet.

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The adults looked particularly fantastic with Mr Turnbull and Mrs Slack stealing the show. As they posed on the drawbridge they looked very ‘at home’!

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The day started with a tour of the castle. The children impressed the professional guides with their understanding of history and ability to recount dates and facts. We heard about how the castle belonged to the Boleyn family, how it became Henry VIII’s property, and Henry then gave it to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement.

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The Y6 girls were alarmed to hear that had they been living in Tudor times it would be almost time for them to be married off! We saw the kinds of activities girls would have been expected to occupy themselves with (boring!), and heard how servants would have slept on straw on the floor of the great Hall.

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Upstairs in the Long Gallery we looked at some portraits of Henry and his wives and the children were able to consider some of the symbolism in the paintings and understood what messages the portraits were conveying. This tied in perfectly with the work the whole school has been doing on symbolism in art this term. We also looked at the clothing worn by Henry and his wives, and this was particularly interesting for Lilac class who had enjoyed a talk by one of our parents on Tudor clothing. The castle tour concluded with an exhibition of instruments of torture and masks of correction. As we left the castle everyone felt relieved that we are living in 2015 and not 1515!

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Back outside we all congregated at the fountain to enjoy a story by Mrs Slack. Everyone sat enthralled at the tale of the prince and princess who used magic from the fountain of wonder to turn themselves in to swans and so find eternal love and happiness.

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The children then had a fun maths trail to complete with different maths problems set in different parts of the castle.

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Before lunch we enjoyed some craft activities in Hever’s new Thinking Lab. Tom, our guide, showed us some examples of scratch art and the children all enjoyed making their own scratch art agent, before tucking in to their well-deserved lunch!

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Everyone enjoyed a little bit of free time after lunch to run around and enjoy being outside in the fresh air. Before long several of the children had settled down to do some drawings, and within 5 minutes all of the children were sitting sketching the castle, the swans or the beautiful gardens. Please have a look below at their beautiful drawings. The day concluded with a well deserved session in the Adventure playground. Everyone left Hever Castle feeling very tired, but happy after a marvellous day.

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