Year 8 Experience First Ever School Civil War Day At Dorney Court
As the first school ever to experience a day at Dorney Court studying the life and times of Roundheads and Cavaliers, Year 8 Claires Court boys and girls felt privileged when they arrived at the breath-taking Tudor Manor House on Thursday 8 March.
Focusing on the Civil War between 1642 and 1647, historical re-enactment company, Hands on History, led a series of workshop activities. The pupils tried on the fine court costumes and wigs that were worn in the Court of Charles 1, as well as the uniforms and armour that would have been used in the conflict by a Cavalier officer and a Roundhead foot soldier. The group examined the weapons used in the era, and learned how to hold pikes and use them for defence and attack. The girls and boys studied the battlefield injuries soldiers received, and saw how the medical equipment was used to treat musket wounds.
Outside in the grounds of Dorney Court, pupils explored the use of artillery during the Civil War, and witnessed a demonstration of a field mortar, designed to explode its shells above the heads of the advancing infantry. In the church of St James the Less, where Academic Principal James Wilding had donned the garbs of a Puritan preacher of 1642, he instructed the pupils that football on Sunday had been banned, that girls were no longer permitted to wear any coloured clothing other than black and white, and perhaps most concerning for all the students, Christmas had been cancelled for the next 18 years!
James Wilding, Claires Court Academic Principal, said:
“The History programme for Years 7 to 9 at Claires Court spans the invasion of England by William the Conqueror through to the start of the modern era after the Industrial Revolution. The Civil War day at Dorney was developed by the History Department in conjunction with Hands on History, to tell the story of Sir James Palmer, curator of the King’s pictures, who moved in to Dorney Court on his marriage to Martha Garrard. Sir James chose unwisely to back the King, Charles 1, and Dorney was sacked by roundheads during the war. The Palmers still live at Dorney Court, and I am immensely grateful to Jill, James and Anna Palmer for their support in developing this unique event.”