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Malleable Mallory Makes Many Faces

Skipton again! What I mean is another post about my Skipton Easter weekend, not that I have been again. I am going again, three more times in three different guises this summer, but this is still about the last visit.

These images are from the ‘unofficial’ pictures of the weekend, taken by Ruth. There weren’t that many (managing two little boys somewhat distracted her), and they were all taken during one conversation with one family. When I saw them I was surprised to see just how many different expressions I unconsciously employ when telling historical stories.


If this is all from a few moments, I dread to think what umpteen other, stranger expressions I employ during an entire day of conversation. (Also, I wonder, does anyone really like seeing pictures of themselves?)

My two little boys obviously found my stories amusing.


This last weekend, I was demoted from Governor of Skipton Castle, to a mere soldier of the garrison at Sandal Castle. Quite a transformation, certainly in terms of the amount of silk, black-work, braid and lacy bits!


Although I play my Civil War characters less than my others, I do very much enjoy them, and at the moment am learning all about the battle of Naseby for a future booking. Imagine having to read history books. Bliss!

Click on the following link to find out more about the Civil War Castle Governor.

Easter at Skipton

It may have been Easter but the sun shined like Summer last weekend for my weekend at Skipton Castle as Colonel Sir John Mallory. As usual I very much enjoyed myself, talking to folk from beginning to end of my two days. We had some great enacted stories, with some dramatic ‘deaths’ from the children actors, although I have to say trying to teach 24 children in 4 ranks of 6 how to counter-march was somewhat difficult! Maybe if I had several months to do I could get results!

I perused maps, demonstrated musket drill, described this siege and that battle, talked about fashion (in both clothes and tactics), and on the Monday I even had interest in my collar – close up photographs, the lot! I think the images may even be going into a little magazine.

Here is an ‘official’ photo taken at the end of the day (thank you Sebastian) in which I am proudly wearing my new scarlet silk scarf. It wasn’t difficult to hand stitch, but at a good 12 feet long, it did take a bit of time!


Click on the following link to find out more about the Civil War Castle Governor.

‘Woe and Alas!’

I wanted to show you some dramatic pictures created by children during ‘wet play-times’ and then given to me when I return to continue the session with them. Obviously caught up in the story of the Great Fire, they felt the need to commit to paper the images conjured in their minds by the tale I tell.

Here you can see the fire taking hold of one house, as thick black smoke pours from one side and the slate roof turns red with the heat!


In this picture you can see a house of the better sort, a mansion house by my reckoning, engulfed by the fire. Also, if you look closely you can see a very foolish fellow standing a little too close. I am surprised he looks so composed.


This is my favourite image, one drawn on two sheets of paper which were then cunningly fastened together to become one long strip. It depicts the River Thames crowded with boats, wherries and barges as people attempt to escape the fire with their possessions.


I do believe these would make great illustrations for a poem from the time:

Great London that hath stood in state

Above six hundred years

In six days’ space

Woe and alas

Is burned and drowned in tears

Note: I suppose ‘In four and a bit days’ space wouldn’t have worked so well. The author must have applied for a poetic licence 🙂

Petite paintings of Petty

Recently Sir William Petty met with a large company of artists who were kind enough to sketch a multitude of portraits for him so that he could decide which sort of portrait he wanted.

Here I present the many faces of Sir William …

The Many Faces of Petty

Isn’t it interesting how this eye witness of the Great Fire of London looks so different through different witnesses eyes?
Click on the following link to find out more about Sir William Petty and the Great Fire of London.

Next time, some pictures of the raging fire drawn by inspired artists during ‘wet play times’.


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.