Weald and Downland Open Air Museum - History Re-eactment Workshop

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Weald & Downland Living Museum
The Weald & Downland Living Muesum is a 40 acre site, essentially a museum of buildings, but so much more. They have been saving buildings from around the South East, restoring them and rebuilding them in their earliest reincarnation, and they have been laid out as a small historic community.
The museum leads a lot of research and teaching in rural crafts, especially building skills.
1585 - A Tudor Court
As today, there were many different levels and types of court in Elizabethan England. Firstly, they are split into Civil and Ecclesiastical. The latter being any connection with religion and Church law would rule.
We will be dealing with the lower courts that impacted more on the local communities. For the Petty Sessions, a Justice of the Peace would visit the County once a quarter,often at a different town. They would be dealing with matters we might think trivial, but were very important to keeping the peace.
So, we have our visiting JP and his scribe, various Parishioners on trial or giving witness, and the public, acting as the jury.
As you will see from the photos, we couldn't miss the opportunity for a bit of a photo opportunity in such a fantastic location.

1590s - The Coldham's at Pendean
to 2001
Set in the 1590s, each year we followed a week in the life of the Coldham family. Our longest event, we recreated rural life for 5 days in July or August for a number of years.
As a Yeoman farmer, owning their own home and land gave the Coldham's a good status in the parish. We showed them and a number of other families that came and visited or worked for them.
A longer event gave us the chance to include more sub plots and projects, such as building a bread oven.

1625-27 - Pendean and Poplar Cottage
February 2000, August 2000 to 2003
The museum erected a new building down the lane from Pendean. It was thought to have been a much simpler house, and shown as quickly built on common land. Its status is easily shown by its lack of chimney. Poplar Cottage was thought to have been built in the early 1620s. Our first event was a special to set the scene for artisits that had been invited to propose an installation to accompany the cottage.
For our regular summer event, we occupied Pendean and Poplar with 3 families, 2 sharing Poplar. This allowed us to show the relationships with a prosperous yeoman providing employment to the local community.
In 2001, further research by the museum carried out on Pendean House led to the conclusion that it was also built in the early 1600s rather than in the 1500s. They also carried out changes to the house including a new staircase instead of the previous ladder. We took the decision to change the owner of Pendean to Goodman Clare and move the event to 1625.
1684 - Walderton House
August 2004
We portrayed Walderton House as owned by a member of the parish council, and this allowed us to discuss parish business and how the community is run.
We are a small but nationally based interpretation group, covering Tudor and Stuart domestic life. Founded in 1985, we have been recreating historic families in first person, to give visitors of historic houses an educational and memorable visit.
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Registered Charity NÂș 1040799
We specialise in turning an old house into a home, bringing a Tudor or Stuart family to life, to fully interact with your visitors.
We can also offer a range of variations around the same period, depending on what you have available.
We are always keen for new people to come and join us. As we recreate domestic life, we're open to all. No previous experience or in depth knowledge is required. The 'Workshop' in our title is all about training our members.
Contact the Secretary
History Re-enactment Workshop
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