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Guy Fawkes Fun

And so ends two more weeks as Guy Fawkes, travelling from east to west (Hull to Huddersfield) and from north to south (Selby to Doncaster and Sheffield), enjoying myself very much at each and every school. As I decided last year, I grew my own beard for Fawkes this time – much more comfortable than gluing it on! Now it’s back to the Great Fire and pirates and highway robbery. More fun, then.

Here you can see Fawkes at a primary school near Selby, teaching the children how to use the ‘Babington cipher’ to send secret messages. The children turned out to be very able scholars and quickly mastered the art.

Secret Messages

Secret Messages

Later on in the day they proved themselves to be not only very good at hiding catholic priests from soldiers, but also very good artists. Fawkes left with a bundle of posters explaining who the people involved in the plot were, as well as some very good likenesses of himself!

Click on Guy Fawkes if you want to see more information about a day with the infamous fellow himself.

Nevison Still Rides the Roads!

It’s true, even now in the 21st century Swift Nicks Nevison still rides the highways of England. His image is upon a certain lorry …

Nevison on Truck Left

The artist contacted me a few years ago to ask all about John Nevison (that was a long phone conversation) and for permission to use my image to create the paintings.

Nevison on Truck right

I have seen the lorry in question on the A1 and boy it was a funny feeling seeing images of oneself on a lorry going by!

Nevison on Truck

The first two look more like me, the third has made me look more fearsome.

So yes, Nevison still rides the roads today!

Please click here to find out more about visits from the famous highwayman John Nevison.

The beard is dead, long live the beard!

So the summer came to an end and I had to bid farewell to my mid seventeenth century beard – the one I grew for Colonel Sir John Mallory, governor of Skipton Castle.

Mere moments with a razor and the following transition occurred …

Time Passes By (not much time, admittedly)

I reckon I look at least three weeks younger.

Ironically, I have now begun growing the beard (not dissimilar to the one whose reign just ended) ready for my Guy Fawkes bookings in early November!

True Fame?

I never would have thought it possible but, after decades of trying, I have finally made it onto a tin of biscuits.

I am a biscuit tin!

I am a biscuit tin!

Now I must agonise over whether to give the biscuits as a gift, or just to sit and stare at them in wonder at the dizzy heights of success. Mind you, it’s Colonel Sir John Mallory who has gained the fame, I suppose, not me!

My first weekend at the castle was as the Highwayman John Nevison. My favourite picture from that weekend is the one below which captures the moment Nevison realised he was carousing with two magistrates!

Nevison & Magistrates

I had a wonderful time at Skipton Castle this August again. Thank you to the staff for their assistance, and congratulations to Sebastian and his new wife on their marriage.

Now I am looking forward to another term of school visits, starting this week with a trip out to Scunthorpe for Sir William Petty.

Click on the following links to find out more about the Civil War Castle Governor, Nevison the Highwayman and Sir William Petty and the Great Fire of London.

Hull Hides a Highwayman

A couple of weeks ago John Nevison the highwayman visited the new starters’ literacy summer school at Andrew Marvell Business and Enterprise College in Hull. He reckoned it was the biggest place he has ever hidden in, though not quite as fortified as Skipton Castle where he hid this last weekend.

Not only was he kept safely concealed from the constables and watchmen who were hunting for him, he had a fantastic time. He described exactly how he went about robbing folk in a most courteous manner…

They Can't See My Face


… showed the things he was carrying …

Then the Bullet Goes Down the Muzzle

… told a tale or two about his adventures …

So I Told Him

… and listened to the children’s corrected accounts of his stories.

That's Just How it Happened

Of course the children wrote down what really happened and not the lies printed about Nevison. They put all the best bits back into the stories, made the ballad a song he would be proud of and wrote several stern letters of complaint to the London Gazette concerning the recently published wanted notice. They even kindly offered to fashion up some wanted posters in which he did not look like himself, thus confusing the lawmen now trying to find him.

Letters, Stories and Posters

The children worked hard and enthusiastically and proved themselves to be real scholars. Nevison even began to wish he had stayed at school and not run away at such a young and tender age.

Never one to miss a chance for a game of cards or dice, Nevison even took the opportunity, whilst the children worked upon their labours, to play a round or two with them a group at a time. He reassured the teachers that they would not gamble, for he would not want to lead them astray.

A Game of One and Thirty

All in all a fine afternoon with some great children at Andrew Marvell Business and Enterprise College. And best of all, the children really enjoyed having him there.

Nevison's Certificate

Please click here to find out more about the famous highwayman John Nevison.

* Permission was obtained from the school to use the pictures including children above.