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Petty Addresses the Masses

Sir William Petty has been travelling the country telling the tale of the Great Fire of London to all and sundry. As is their wont, several of the more artistically inclined amongst the crowds have been sketching their impressions of the events. (The children were not asked to do so as part of the sessions, but simply took it upon themselves to do the work.)

Here you can see the work of one Year 2 child showing Petty and his audience.

The artist certainly had both an eye for detail and a good memory. You can see everything from the curls in Petty’s periwig, to the wooden blocks used as feet to hold the map up. Even the River Thames on the map is clearly shown, in a very bold blue. The audience themselves do seem an unusual bunch, however, with eight redheads, one green haired lad and one with brown hair. I love the fact that everyone is so happy!

This next picture has me perplexed. The artist Rachel has drawn Sir William and his good friend Samuel Pepys. Now the disparity in size could be a matter of perspective, and Sir William (somewhat troubled with the gout) has fallen behind his quicker paced friend as they perambulate through Smithfields or some such place. Or alternatively, perhaps the artist has taken Sir William’s surname quite literally and decided if he is ‘Petty’, and assuming Pepys is of more average proportions, then the two gentlemen standing side by side would indeed look like this?

I do love seeing the pictures children draw of my characters.

Great Fires All Over the Place!

I am currently enjoying a run a Great Fire of London visits, with many more still to come before Christmas. Most of the schools so far have had me visit as Sir William Petty visit before, including the three mentioned next, and it is great to be asked back again, to see familiar faces in the staff-room and lots of new children.

Yesterday it was Townville Infants in Castleford where I met two lovely classes who were only just starting their study of the Fire that day, yet several Year 2 scholars had already been researching and knew where and how the Great Fire started. At Our Lady and Brendan’s Primary last Friday I worked with one Year 2 class all day. They finished the day by sketching portraits of Sir William so he could decide which was his best side and other such important considerations. Luckily the class was crammed with artists, a good number already thinking about perspectives and angles. At Baildon Primary the week before the children hung on Sir William’s every word and were very keen to go off and help him by working together to complete his large design for a new London. I am hoping, when I go back to Baildon to meet some older classes as Nevison the highwayman next term, that I will get to see the designs in all their glory.

Click on the following link to find out more about Sir William Petty and the Great Fire of London.

Fame at Last!

Huzzah! At last I am famous, with my name writ large for all to see (provided they were passing the gate to Skipton Castle on the Bank Holiday weekend, and looking in the right direction, etc)

And to prove the little ones in the last news post were indeed my boys (not that I have reason to think any of you doubted the fact) here is a picture that made and makes me smile…

I am now receiving bookings for this term – they are coming in at a gathering pace. Contact me as soon as possible if you want a date and hopefully I can do just the right day for you!

Recruitment at the Castle

Sir John’s Recruitment Goes Moderately Well

Once again this August Bank Holiday Colonel Sir John Mallory was back as Governor of Skipton Castle, defending it against the rebellious roundhead army of the Northern Association.

Having scoured the wapentakes of Claro, Newcrosse and Staincliffe three times for soldiers, once to form his own Trayned Bands regiment, then to supply soldiers for the Earl of Newcastle’s army, and yet again upon the king’s orders, Sir John was getting desperate for recruits. Most commanders stick to able bodied men aged between 16 and 60, but Sir John was forced this last weekend to cast his net a little wider.

Thus it was that the training of the new recruits began in earnest. Here one rather tiny new recruit (I believe he said his name was Thomas and can only assume his second name is Thumb) watches as another musketeer-to-be learns her postures with a matchlock musket …

(Note: Worry not regarding the photographs of children here, both lads you can see are mine! I was very happy to have a surprise visit from them and their mum on the Sunday, and they seemed happy to see me!)

Click on this link to find out more about my Castle Governor character.

Another Adventure for the Highwayman Last Weekend

Recently forced to hide in Skipton Castle while a hue and cry was raised in the town, the famous Yorkshire highwayman ‘Swift Nicks’ Nevison faced an unexpected danger. This took the form of a brave young lad, armed only with a wooden sword, who thought to test the highwayman’s mettle by challenging him to a duel.

Being a courageous sort of gentleman, and having encountered many a threat in his time, from foreign mercenaries to parish constables, Nevison was undeterred and stood his ground.

Soon, however, the potential combatants developed a mutual respect, both good fellows and knowing the other to be the same. Before long the little lad was trying out Nevison’s sword to see how it compared with his own toy blade, and singing its praises as a well balanced blade.

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