The History Department is always looking forward (forgive the paradox) and wanted to hit the ground running this term. Hence, before the first week of the Summer Term had ended, Year 7 enjoyed a guided tour around medieval Bakewell.
It was marvelous for the children to get out of school and explore the history all around us. Nothing is more inspiring than to physically touch the past and our pupils revelled in the physical reminders of the medieval age that are dotted about our little market town. After a picnic lunch in the sun, our budding history detectives began their studies!
The Old House Museum guides helped them explore a different world and the pupils were given an insight into Bakewell church, the bridge, the castle, the town hall and much more. It was wonderful to imagine the tradesmen entering Bakewell across the packhorse bridge with their low-slung sacks of woolen cloth whilst the knights up at the castle oversaw their movements. The children were challenged to unpick the messages left on ancient Anglo-Saxon and Norman gravestones and monoliths in the churchyard and they stood where the old market had first been held in the 13th century. The guides were full of stories and information that brought this wildly different time to life. Steadily the children built a picture of a society that was vibrant but physical and sometimes very brutal.
Did you know that the thuggish Coterel brothers once kidnapped a priest from Bakewell church? Did you know that the sarcophagi at the church have holes in them to let out the gas of decomposing bodies, to ensure the graves did not explode? Did you know that Bakewell is listed in the Domesday Book of 1085 as, “Badequella” meaning “bath-springs” and that, at one point, there were at least twelve springs, some of which were tepid? These springs allowed Bakewell to nurture crops and grass for a long growing season and thus sustain the population. However, did you also know that to live beyond forty years of age in the medieval period was a rarity and thus it is believed around ten-thousand people have been buried in Bakewell’s churchyard? Did you also know that you can see the carved image of a woman dressed in a “Scold’s Bridal” underneath one of the seats in the chancel of Bakewell church?
These and many other grisly and illuminating facts were related to our children by the wonderful guides, who ensured they were entertained and educated in equal measure!