Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Medieval Faire

Several weeks ago we had the opportunity to attend a Medieval Faire at some beautiful castle ruins.  The grounds were staffed with a reenactment troupe, and they had many different activities going on.  Although my primary intention was to bring a nice end to Sunburst's study of the middle ages, there was something fun for everyone.  It was a really grand day.... and it didn't rain once!

First of all, the castle itself was fantastic to behold.


There was an immaculate Elizabethan garden filled with herbs and flowers.  At the far end of the garden is a large cage filled with a few local birds, including pheasants.  We felt a bit sorry for them having to live in such a small cage.

Then there were the reenactments.  They had some kind of show going on every half hour, from trials to jousts to exhibitions.  Canons were fired, and soldiers made quite a show marching around in their armor.

My favorite part was walking around talking to the reenactors.  Some of them were very well informed about their time period, especially the map-maker and the stained glass-maker.  I was so absorbed in the conversations I missed the opportunity to take many pictures.  However, here are a few examples of the things we saw:

Canon ball carving.

Arrow making.

Cart building.

The games tent, where Kitty Bill was completely absorbed in a game of Glückhaus.


Medieval music on the recorder.


Cooking, in all it's manifestations.


I did manage to take a couple of pictures at the mapmaker's tent, two that I was really excited to share with you all.  Remember the measurement block from Waldorf Grade 3 where children learn the earliest forms of measurement?  Moonshine saw this picture that the mapmaker had drawn and nearly jumped up and down about it.  It's a furlong!!

What a great image for the main lesson book, no?  I will definitely be drawing from this when it's Kitty Bill's turn to do measurement.

The mapmaker was so impressed that Moonshine knew what a furlong was, and of course this tickled Moonshine to no end.  Then the mapmaker showed Moonshine an antiquated chain and quizzed her on how many chains make a furlong, and so forth.  You can see the chain on the left.

I think it's pretty telling that of all the attractions of the day, this was the crowning glory.  As homeschoolers, we put forth so much effort into creating a sense of understanding within our children.   It's not often that we get to see some of the archaic knowledge come spilling back out of them.  The wonder and recognition was really palpable in that moment.  Rods and chains and furlongs-- they really do exist!

As for Sunburst, she wandered off after the jousting display, and we knew exactly where we'd find her.  We only had to follow the scent of horses...


On our way out, the girls and I ran into the shoemaker's tent and ended up in a lengthy discussion about the proper way to make shoes in the middle ages.  We watched him work for quite awhile, and it was so fascinating!  The girls had endless questions, but I finally had to pull them away for the long drive home.  I'm sure it's a day that they won't soon forget.


  1. Hi Sara. I recognised Kenilworth Castle from your photos - looks like you had a great time there. I remember visiting the castle in the 1970s when I was at school in Warwick as part of our history studies. I loved the sense of being somewhere so rich in the past. I'm glad your girls got to have it come to life for them through the re-enactors. I now live not far from the castle and run herb workshops, so if this is part of your curriculum let me know. details can be found on my blog. Tales of a Kitchen Herbwife.

    1. Thanks, Sarah. Herb workshops sound fun!

  2. This looks so exciting! I love your furlong story! It doesn't happen often that you see these old measures, that's for sure. When I saw the ruin of the castle I immediately had to think of my own childhood: Whenever we drove by a castle ruin in Germany (and there are many), my secret wish was to repair them all!

    1. Thanks, Eva. That's so sweet that you wanted to repair them all!

  3. What a wonderful day you had. It is so inspiring that these skills and traditions continue to be passed down and how fortunate that you were able to experience them.
    It is so lovely to get that feedback when our children get excited about something they have learnt. I know as homeschooling parents we have to learn to live with not really knowing how things will turn out, so it's fantastic to get that positive reinforcement of a glowing child when it happens. And what a great moment for Moonshine too.

    1. Yes, exactly, Cathy. It was definitely a great moment. :)

  4. I've always wanted to go to one of those! Haven't come across one close by yet. I swear you live the coolest homeschooling life of anyone I know. :)

    1. Thanks, Teresa. You are too sweet.


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message. I appreciate your sweet words so much!

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