Elms pupils celebrate a Tudor Christmas at Wollaton Hall

Lego and Hatchimals may be topping the 2016 Yuletide wishlists, but for Year 4 pupils from The Elms Junior School it was all about pomanders as they went back 500 years to celebrate a special Tudor Christmas at Wollaton Hall on Friday (11 November).

Dressed in character in Tudor costume, the children climbed the steps of the great Nottingham stately home and were greeted by Master Cam and Mistress Under as if they were guests of Wollaton Hall’s first owner, Sir Francis Willoughby, and they had come to perform a Christmas play and dance.

As well as acting out a Mummers play and learning a Tudor dance, the Long Eaton school children made delicious smelling pomanders (scented oranges with cloves) in the hall’s Tudor kitchens before enjoying a magnificent period banquet in the Great Hall. The festive visit was organised as The Elms’ Year 4s are currently studying the Tudors as their History topic and what better way to bring the subject to life as the school starts building up to Christmas.

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Elms teacher Mrs Lucy Davies, helped organise the visit with the rest of the school’s Year 4 team. She said: “The children had learnt about Tudor food before we went are also now learning about Queen Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada. We have also used Wollaton Hall and its grounds for inspiration for our English work.

“The people at Wollaton Hall who ran the day were fantastic and got into role beautifully. The setting was perfect and it was wonderful to use the magnificent Great Hall. We all left having learned lots but also feeling very Christmassy!”

For the pupils the day also held special memories. “I was able to play the part of Sir Francis Willoughby,” said James Darby. “It was great fun to sit on his special throne.” Meanwhile, Natalie Gooding, said, “I particularly liked dressing up as a Tudor and performing the Mummers Play,” and Dylan Thorpe added, “My favourite part was eating the Tudor banquet in the Great Hall.”

This visit was the first festive event on the Elms calendar, with plenty more Christmas learning and fun to be had before the holidays.

This includes the school’s Michaelmas Market on Saturday (19 November), its Crafty Christmas Open Morning on Saturday 3 December, the choir singing at both Bennetts in Derby and John Lewis in Nottingham on 13 and 14 December and supporting Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day on 16 December. There are also a host of seasonal concerts, nativities and carols by candlelight to enjoy.