Hatfield House Visit
Here is a recount of our recent visit to Hatfield House written by AA, JD, MW.
Everyone excitedly clambered off the coach as we started our journey into an historical world: Hatfield House.
The first thing I did was walk to the main house and I was amazed by the beautiful, breath-taking wisteria climbing along the walls.
As we walked through the stone archway, I noticed a tall fountain with glittering water. On the summit was a golden pineapple – a very exotic fruit in Tudor times!
Next we actually went into the house. We squashed into the watch chamber and were told that the year was 1544 to help our imaginations. I noticed many weapons around him and I felt a bit intimidated. However, he was very calm and respectful because he thought we were rich as our clothes were blue (a rich colour) and we went to school – only rich children were educated.
He showed us a long bow and explained how all the boys had to spend their Sundays practising how to use the bow. Football was illegal on a Sunday and if you got caught playing football the punishment would be death! Shockingly, if you accidentally killed someone on a Sunday during practice, you were not punished!
As a result of using a long bow from an early age, many men’s spines were deformed. If you were shot by an arrow, even if you didn’t die straight away, you would be dead in a few months because archers put their arrows in the ground in front of them and they were covered in manure which infected the wounds.
After all the talk of violence, we went to see Thomas Tallis who was King Henry VIII’s favourite musician. Fortunately, we had learnt a song and Thomas helped us to practise it before we saw the king.
Catherine Parr, the queen, came to visit and talked about her gift to Henry. She told us to mind our manners and showed us how to be respectful to the king. We heard how the king had been unwell ever since he fell off his horse in a joust. His leg was painful and his heart was changed. This made him grumpy and he thought everyone was hiding things from him.
Then the pressure was really on because it was time for our audience with Henry VIII. I felt both excited and scared as I stood in the line waiting to go in. The music started and we all walked in silently and showed our respect by bowing. Even though there were chairs, we had to wait until the king told us to sit down. He told us all about his wives and how his heart had been broken. It actually felt like I had gone back in time because he made everything so real.
As we walked out into the gardens, we saw a tree that was hundreds of years old. I thought it was marvellous that the tree had witnessed all the history going past it during that time. I wondered, if I could ask the tree what its favourite memory was, what it would be.
Finally, after a long morning in 1544, we came back to the twenty-first century and after eating modern-day food, enjoyed playing in the adventure playground.
I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would recommend it.