I cannot put into words how good Kentwell Hall ‘do Tudor.’
If you want to experience an authentic recreation of Tudor England then this incredible Suffolk experience has to be the best. Kentwell Hall have been staging live Tudor events since 1978 and when they say ‘Our Tudor days are unrivalled in scale‘ and ‘What we offer is still the biggest, most comprehensive, and most authentic Tudor experience you will get anywhere’ on their website they are not exaggerating! They have over 250 ‘Tudors’ who are enthusiastic and thoroughly absorbed in their Tudor roles.
Why I love Kentwell Hall Tudor days:
I was lucky enough to go to Kentwell Hall dressed as a Tudor as part of a school trip last summer. We had to make money pouches to hang onto our Tudor belts at school in the weeks before our visit. This is how we made them:
Cut out a felt circle (I drew around a small plate), punch holes as shown and string together.
We went dressed as Tudors and changed our pounds sterling into Tudor money. Then we chose our Tudor names if we had modern ones. Then we entered the time tunnel:
We were met at the impressive gates of by two very smart gate keepers dressed in their hats, doublets and hoses. They spoke a type of English that was different from our own. “Good Morrow to you all!,” they declared and went on to explain how to greet people, ask to use the toilet (sorry I mean privvy or jakes) and the rules of the house (do not sh**t or pi** in the fireplaces!!) The children found all this hilarious and it soon became very clear that we were to be treated as part of a ‘real’ Tudor community.
When we set off around the grounds we met woodsmen felling trees, carpenters at work, a working blacksmith shop, men at a smelting shop, potters with an outdoor kiln and using foot powered potters wheels. The Tudors never step out of character and this made some of the children believe they had really gone through a time tunnel. We were shown how Tudor artists use shells as paint pots and saw wool being dyed and hat making.
We spoke to women spinning enormous spinning wheels and all of them were worried about the Spanish Armada which was on it’s way to Englands shores to punish us if we were the wrong flavour of Christian. (and Tudors were all Christian and they had to attend church by law!)
There were people washing their clothes with Tudor soap and hanging it to dry on bushes just like the laundry women on the agas map!
The Agas map is a very special but genuine Tudor map of London. It shows little Tudor people walking their dogs, practising archery, famous pubs, prisons and play houses. See if you can spot the Royal barge, the dogs in their kennels at the bear baiting ring, Cheap Market, Westminster Abbey and the city ditch.
In those days the fleet river was above ground too and was used as a rubbish tip. The smell must have been terrible for the prisoners in the fleet prison! Go ahead, have a good look zoom in and see the pillories and gallows on Tower Hill. See if you can spot where anyone famous lived too… If you are from London you will notice some of the street names have changed, some of the City Boroughs were fields (Saint Martins in the fields church was really in the fields and Covent garden was really a garden for nuns!) And the old ‘Roman wall’ by Tower Hill Tube station well it is visible on the map and in those days it had a purpose.It was the city wall.
Here is the link to the interactive Agas map: http://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/agas.htm?
We made candles with our new Tudor friends, chatted to people skillfully making twigs into really well made brooms and we visited the Tudor school complete with school children having real lessons (poor souls) with real writing slates.
There are horses, chickens and lots of other animals on the working farm. There were people in carts, people eating their pottage and one of ‘our’ school boys had his money stolen by a whip-jack! (which was returned to him later!)
We took part in Tudor country dances which were so much fun, we practised archery (which boys and men had to do by law because there was no standing army.) We watched jousting and ate the true Tudor delicacy of ‘meaty farts’ with the nobility! Doffing our hats of course! We watched the preparation of food and bought real hand made Tudor gifts to take home with our Tudor money. It was a great day out.
There was so much to see and do. After visiting a Tudor cottage which had real rabbits hung up ready to be eaten, we all smelt like fireplaces. I imagined thats what real Tudor England must have smelled like! We did not have time to get into the manor house because we were chatting so much and enjoying ourselves. And yet it was the best Tudor experience I have ever had and I did not even see half of it !! Don’t be put off by rain because another school party told me there is so much to do inside the manor house too.
Tickets for Kentwell Halls Tudor time travelling always sell out very fast: There is a 10% discount if you book online. You will need to be quick! ..Me too!
Sat 25 June – Sun 3 July –Mid Summer at Kentwell
Sat 20 August – Thu 25 August-High Summer hands on history week:
Fri 26 August – Mon 29 August – Tudor High summer:
Sat 24 September – Sun 25 September Tudor Michaelmas;
From Kentwell Hall’s website:
‘Kentwell is one of the finest moated Tudor Houses in England. Several times a year we turn back the clock. For a period of time the entire Kentwell 25 acre estate is as it was in Tudor times.
Visitors enter our Time Tunnel (in summer only) to become visitors to the Manor of Kentwell, and will be treated as such by all they meet. Our Tudors won’t simply tell you about what Tudors used to do. They are Tudor folk, re-living the life of the time as people of all walks of life, and for the period of your visit you will be part of that community.
What may visitors see?
They will see, hear and smell the sights, sounds and smells of Tudor England in one of England’s finest Tudor Locations. Depending on the time of year there may be anything from 60 -250 Tudors on the manor. Persons of all ages from babes in arms to the elderly; of all stations from the Gentry Family who lived at the Hall to the humblest workers; from skilled artisans fashioning items of quality or use to mere labourers; from the learned to the ignorant.
Nowhere else presents such a range, such contrasts or such variety. Dull it isn’t. Stimulating, informative and fun, it most certainly is. Some visitors visit year after year.
Clothes follow the fashions of the Tudor age – which differed significantly at different times during the 120 years of the Tudor period. The speech adopted is different too but readily understood.
It may surprise visitors that Kentwell’s Tudors are not prepared to recognize the modern age. But real Tudors, encountered in the 16th Century would have been as disbelieving.
Do Visitors have to dress up to visit a Re-Creation?
No, it is not necessary for any visitor to dress up on public days.
Do we need to book tickets?
All online bookings (for general house opening and special events) get at least a 10% discount, so it is worth booking online if you know you are coming to visit. You can buy tickets on the day however.
For most special events we only have a limited amount of tickets, which for some events sell out very fast, so it is worth booking as soon as you know how many tickets you would like.
Yes, we always have light lunches and teas available from our Stableyard Tearoom. Click here for more information.
Our 16th century style Ale house is open on certain Re-Creation Days. It serves 16th century inspired food and drink, usually pottage (a stew of beans and seasonal vegetables), bread from our bakehouse and local ale.
Kentwell provides free parking for all visitors in our ancient lime avenue and parkland just outside the main gates and gatehouses.
Kentwell Hall is in the picturesque village of Long Melford, which has many period buildings, good shopping (especially antiques) and one of the finest parish churches in the country.
The hall is situated at the far end of the village, just past the village green, at the end of the village nearest Bury St Edmunds.
Long Melford is on the A134 between Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury on the Suffolk/Essex border’
Postcode for SAT NAV: CO10 9BA Telephone: 01787 310207
Jobs and volunteering at Kentwell:
If you do visit Kentwell please let me all about it. If I can persuade the ‘Tudor martyrs’ (my history hating family) to come I might just see you there or I might even volunteer to be a Tudor next summer! Wow I would so love that… Enjoy Tudor fans!
Tickets for Kentwell Halls Tudor time travelling events always sell out very fast: There is a 10% discount if you book online…