Kentwell Hall has been a family home for over 500 years. Most of the current building’s façade dates from the middle of the 16th century although the home’s origins go further back, with references in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Successive generations of the Clopton family occupied Kentwell Hall from 1385 until 1661, when the last Clopton descendant died at the home.
The Cloptons were responsible for building the present Hall between 1500 and 1550 and created much of what we see today.
Today the home is well known for its Tudor recreations. The recreations began in 1979 and
“The novelty of the Kentwell approach was that, first, it concentrated upon everyday domestic life rather than battles, which living history events at that time usually featured; secondly, it has always sought to portray how the family living in a great House and their retainers responded to the events of the time portrayed; thirdly, and most importantly Kentwell Re-Creations seek to portray a whole community with people of all types and ages represented.”
They offer a fabulous opportunity to experience everyday life in Tudor England and witness how a Great Tudor house operated, how the family lived and how the community supported them.
The Great Annual recreation takes part in June and July each year and is set in a different year of the Tudor dynasty. The Tudors participating react to events of that year as though they were currently taking place.
More than 200 participants and up to 400 on weekends help bring to life the sounds and smells of Tudor England. It is the largest event of its kind in the UK.
Once you enter the ‘Time Tunnel’ you are in the 16th century and have 40 acres of grounds to explore. You will meet members of the Clopton family, their friends or employees going about their daily duties.
On the Manor there is re-created a whole range of activities of the Kentwell community. You will encounter Tudors working in the gardens, stable and farm, along with musicians, players, archers and travellers!
This is a truly unique event and it is firmly placed on my ‘must do’ list.
For information on opening days, times and prices for the Annual Re-creation of Tudor Life visit The Great Annual Tudor Re-Creations page.
For more information on volunteering to be a Kentwell Tudor click here.
Apart from the great Annual re-creation they also run Tudor activity days. These are smaller than the major weekend events and concentrate on one or two aspects of everyday Tudor life. Find out more about the themes for 2011 here.
But wait, there is more!
Kentwell Hall is also home to an Easter Re-Creation of Tudor Life weekend taking place from the 22-25th April.
According to Kentwell’s website:
Our Easter Re-Creation usually proves to be one of our most popular Re-Creation weekends. The Bakehouse is very busy as the Tudors there bake Holy Manchets (you may exchange one for a donation – all proceeds go St Nicholas’s Hospice in Bury St Edmunds). Other Tudors will be found in the Great Hall and also in the service areas of the Hall and Moat House (Kitchen, Brewhouse, Dairy, Stillroom, Needleroom etc) and, often, in certain other outlying areas: Forge, Foundry, Pottery, Cottage and Woolshed as well as the Military, outside Cooks and Pedlars on the Front Sward.
Find out more information here.
Also taking place at Kentwell, May Day Re-Creations of Tudor Life.
“We portray May Day in the way in which Tudors celebrated it. It is a very popular Re-Creation, probably because it is so lively and noisy. The Re-Creation strives to re-capture the processions, plays, pageantry, music & dance of the time and is based at the Barns Sward on the Farm to create a village atmosphere. In their day the way in which locals celebrated May Day was so lively that Tudor Gentry, even the sovereign of the day, would go to watch villagers enjoying themselves.”
Find out more here.
They will be hosting other Tudor events later in the year and I will be sure to keep you updated.
I would love to hear from you if you have participated in the re-creations as a Tudor or visited the Hall during these fabulous events. Share your photos please!
I will leave you with the following video extracts from an educational DVD for school children. They are both filmed during one of the Tudor Re-Creations.
Fast Tube by Casper
Young Tudors at Kentwell. Photographed by Robert Roy http://www.flickr.com/photos/robroy/tags/kentwell on 24 Sept, 2005
Fast Tube by Casper