Other events

Planting out the herb garden in front of the Old Medicine House

Planting out the herb garden in front of the Old Medicine House

 


 

As well as adult courses, courses for schools, visits, talks, projects and open days, The Blackden Trust engages in a range of other events.

Music of a House

Musician: Richard York

Richard York with one of his harps

Richard York with one of his harps

After a simple buffet, we followed Richard York into the Old Medicine House, where he entertained us with music that could have been played in the two timber frame houses in the care of The Blackden Trust: the medieval Toad Hall and the 16th century Old Medicine House. Richard York played on period instruments as diverse as harp, dulcimer, bagpipes, shawm, and concertina in the main room of the Old Medicine House, giving us an opportunity to hear the music as it would have sounded when it was first performed. The highlight of the afternoon was when Richard played a tune on a melodeon that had belonged to Billy Bentley, who was born and died in Toad Hall. It was the first time its music had been heard in more than half a century.

Our visitors' comments: 'A wonderful day' 'Fabulous houses. We were made to feel most welcome. Thank you.' 'A superbly calm and creative house for music. Thank you very much.'

Demonstration at Plas Mawr
Plas Mawr, Conwy

Tom Hughes, Sue Hughes 

19th May 2011

We were invited to contribute to Adult Learning Week event at Plas Mawr.  Sue Hughes gave a demonstration of the properties and uses of Tudor herbs in the kitchen of the house, while Tom Hughes played music of the period of the building in the richly decorated parlour.  We were a part of a range of living history activities taking place during the day.

Visitors from as far as Scotland, Hampshire, Canada and Japan passed through the kitchen, where we had mounted a display of events at The Blackden Trust.

Sue in the kitchen with a display of Tudor herbs and spices

Sue in the kitchen with a display
of Tudor herbs and spices

Tom with his pipes and drums

Tom with his pipes and drums

Goostrey Scouts

Tutors: Graham Massey, Dawn Parry

Pot washing

Pot washing

The Scouts arrived on bikes having cycled from their overnight camp three miles away.  Revived by drinks and biscuits they set about discovering the objects described in a set of riddles.

They were then presented by sherds of dirty pottery that had been found in the garden and surrounding fields and shown how to wash and date it.

The puzzles continued with a session identifying objects, many of which would have been used here at Blacken.

The scout leaders found the visit, 'Well presented and friendly.  I liked that all things were practical and involved the children.'  'A wonderful trip back in time, beautiful surroundings, lovely, interesting hosts and very informative.'

And the scouts said, 'I really enjoyed today.  It was very interesting, especially as I am interested in history.'  'I liked the pot cleaning and dating.'  'Really fun and you get to know about lots of pottery and old fashioned stuff.'  'I liked the pot washing.'  'I enjoyed solving the riddles.'  'I liked pot washing.'  'I liked seeing the artefacts found nearby.'  'Pot wash was good.'

Puzzling over a riddle

Puzzling over a riddle

Considering clues in riddles

Considering clues in riddles

Getting answers to riddles

Getting answers to riddles

Puzzling over a mystery object

Puzzling over a mystery object

Visit of SPAB Scholars

Architect: Mal Fryer

Discussing

Discussing


Four young Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings scholars joined Mal Fryer, as he was working on his survey of Toad Hall and the Old Medicine House.  This survey will be the guide for all future restoration and maintenance work on the two buildings.

As part of their course, the scholars spend three months studying country houses. Our building with its two timber-frame houses joined by a 1970s glass and brick link was one of them. While they were here, they drew and looked and drew what they saw.

We discussed the implications of having to move the Old Medicine House from its original site, to rescue it from demolition, the practicalities of such a venture, and the responsibility of the Trust for the future of the building.
 

Looking

Looking

Mal Fryer surveying

Mal Fryer surveying

Drawing upstairs

Drawing upstairs

Drawing downstairs

Drawing downstairs

 

Medieval Music for Midsummer

Musician: Richard York

Richard York playing the hurdy-gurdy

Richard York playing the hurdy-gurdy

We eased ourselves into a receptive mood with a buffet of food that would have been available during the medieval period.

This was followed by Richard York's musical exposition of the origin and development of musical instruments; the harp, bagpipes, shawm and others that might have been played in The Old Medicine House. The fabric of the building with its timber-frame walls and tiled floor created a unique acoustic, enhancing the sound of this music.

Richard introduced us to sounds of the medieval world: the everyday tunes heard in markets and workplaces, music for dances and for celebrations, with such infectious enthusiasm that we ended the afternoon joining in the music making.

Our visitors found that 'the whole talk / demonstration was extremely well presented and interesting (although I doubt whether our contributions added much to the communal efforts!)' They enjoyed 'a wonderful course', 'an excellent lunch beforehand and tea and cake afterwards, which completed the occasion in an ideal way.'

Making melodious music

Making melodious music

Making loud music

Making loud music

National Archaeological Week event
Pottery Day

Archaeologist: Dr David Barker
Potter: John Hudson

David Barker identifying pottery sherds found by members 
        of the Bury Archaeological Group

David Barker identifying pottery sherds found by members of the
Bury Archaeological Group

The event was held in a polytunnel at Hassal Free Nurseries at the back of the Red Lion pub in Goostrey: a light and dry venue that protected us from the wind and the rain.

Members of archaeological clubs and adults, curious to know more about the pottery that they had found in their gardens, consulted Dr David Barker, who identified the date and vessel that the fragments had come from.

He also gave an illustrated talk on the history of the use and development of ceramics and their importance to archaeology that included slides of the pottery sherds found during the field walking at Bridge Farm on 1st April 2008. Some slides showed images of the complete vessels represented by the sherds, giving us a visual concept of the pottery used by the people of Blackden in the past. This was an example of how the research undertaken by The Blackden Trust has increased the knowledge of the history of the local area. This talk by David Barker made the results of some of our recent research available to the public.

John Hudson demonstrating the art of the potter

John Hudson demonstrating the art of the potter

Children, some of whom had dragged their parents to the event, used their imaginations to design plates from images of fragments of pottery and practised reconstructing broken vessels by reassembling cardboard sherds to make complete plates.

All were entertained and enlightened by John Hudson's exposition of the ancient art of the potter. One adult visitor told us that John's demonstration of pottery making techniques had transformed her appreciation of pottery, and all the children carried away the small pots that they watched John making for them, with a care that showed an awareness of the uniqueness of their pot.

It was a vibrant afternoon of varied events that entertained and informed all those who attended.

John Hudson and his pots

John Hudson and his pots

A young visitor receiving his pot

A young visitor receiving his pot

Celebration Day

Archaeologists: Dawn Parry and Tom Hughes
Teacher Support: Griselda Garner, Jill Gover, Katia Murta;
Antonella Novarina; Carol Ray

Our Celebration Day is one of a series of events that the Trust organises for students who have previously attended courses and who would like to come back to learn more. The students are invited via their schools, but the decision to attend is theirs.

On 1st July twelve students aged from eleven to fourteen, from four schools came to the Celebration Day. During the morning they furthered the research of the Trust by continuing the field walking that was started on 5th April. To get to the field, they walked from the garden of Toad Hall and The Old Medicine House, through a cornfield, along tractor tracks that followed a hedge line shown on the earliest map we have of the area. This map of 1789 can be found on the Site map page of this website. The field we were walking is just behind Robert Dean's house on the map.

Walking through the cornfield along the hedge line between fields
     A4 and A5 shown on the detail of the map alongside this photograph

Walking through the cornfield along the hedge line between fields A4 and A5 shown on the detail of the map alongside this photograph

Detail from Plan and Survey Book of Heawood Desmesne 1789

Detail from Plan and Survey Book of Heawood Desmesne 1789

We returned along the same route to wash the pottery sherds that we had found, and, amongst them, was one that could have been from a pot used by Robert Dean himself.

Students using The Blackden Trust type series 
     database to sort their own collections of pottery sherds

Students using The Blackden Trust type series database to sort their own collections of pottery sherds

In the afternoon most of the students chose to create a piece of art work based on the most interesting find from their grid square. One student had been so inspired by his first visit here last summer that during the intervening year he had picked up pottery on his grandfather's farm. He arrived with his collection, which he wanted to date and identify using the type series database that he knew was here. He spent the afternoon sorting his collection and left with most of it in dated bags.

The day was a vindication of our aims to include our visitors in practical activities that add to the knowledge of the area, and to encourage them to develop skills that can be applied elsewhere. We also saw how the students enjoyed the advice and expertise of our tutors. There was an atmosphere of continuity of purpose within a community.

As one of our volunteers observed, the children were so comfortable at Blackden and relaxed. It was wonderful day for all of us.

Young Archaeologists' Club - The Manchester Branch

Archaeologist: Dawn Parry

 Young archaeologists studying Blackden finds

Young archaeologists studying Blackden finds

Twenty young archaeologists, aged seven to sixteen, visited us. The younger members came in the morning and explored the garden, looking for unusual aspects of the house and site. Moles had been active the night before and the young archaeologists were intrigued to find several sherds of pottery lying on the soil that the moles had excavated. They washed and dated the sherds, using the type series of pottery that we have established.

The older members, who came on the afternoon, were impressively observant, generating discussions about the structure of the timber-frame houses and the artefacts in the house and garden. They, too, washed and dated pottery previously found in the garden and surrounding fields. Such initial sorting frequently identifies unusual artefacts, as it did on Saturday. The young archaeologists left wanting to know more, particularly about the history of the house and of the people who lived here. We hope that this will be the first of many visits.

For further information about past events, refer to the archive of event reports in date order.

Printed on: 26 Mar 2017

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