Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mary Arden's Farm, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Mary Arden's Farm is the childhood home of Shakespeare's mother.
It has been made into a Living History Museum with lots of activities including blacksmithing, falconry, basket weaving, plus hay bale mazes, and more.
We stepped back into the 1570's as we walked around this farm.
As we entered we were told it was soon time for the "Tudor Dinner". We heard the bell rung vigorously and entered past the kitchen into the dining area to feast our eyes on the beautiful bountiful meal.
Everything looked so delicious, garnished with recently harvested edible flowers. It was quite pretty and really appetizing.
Potage, fresh bread and butter, sweets and quiche, it was a grand feast.
It was when the interpreters came in and asked Cedar to hold the hand drying towel we realized this feast wasn't for us!  How clever they are to prepare a luncheon for the staff and volunteers and turn it into a teaching moment!
They set it up as a very interesting program on Tudor manners and customs for the visitors.
 No one sits until the Master of the house sits and then they sit in a procession. Everyone brings their own spoon (which could be silver, pewter, bone or wood depending upon your status) and eats with their "private hand", their right hand. The server was careful while serving to serve with her right hand only and not touch other peoples food with the left hand. Nothing was served completely and no one would take the last piece of anything to do so would indicate the Master had not served enough. Children stood at the table until they fully learned all their manners.
The meal is served on the "Board" which can easily be moved away to make room. Games are often etched into underside of the Board to be played later. The Master is the only person at the table not on a bench - so he is the Chairman of the Board, of course, this room they are eating in is the Board room, and if you need extra space you put up a Side Board.
Fortunately, we didn't have to do the dishes!

This Museum is a combination of Mary Arden's childhood home (Shakespeare's grandparents house) and also the neighbor Palmer's farm. So after touring the farm we entered a Tudor home.
The gardens featured dye plants, medicinal plants, and flowering plants for cut flowers.

And we're off to the next destination. Hop on!

The rest of our day included a visit to Shakespeare's birthplace on Henley Street in Stratford.

Charming gardens in the rear, and a Shakespearean troupe of performers that were eager to act out any personal requests.


relevanttealeaf said...

How VERY interesting. I would have loved being there.

Ruth W said...

How fun! That's new from when we were last wandering around in town about 5 years ago. Looks like it was a perfect and educational visit as well...not to mention tasty!

Marilyn Miller said...

Oh NO! I don't think I could have stood there and watched them eat. It looked quite good. What a fun adventure into history.

Linda @ Friendship Tea said...

That was certainly an interesting visit! We always enjoy hop-on, hop-off bus tours as we travel.

Angela McRae said...

What a fun place to visit! Of course as a word lover, I am completely fascinated by these explanations of chairman of the board and sideboard. Great stuff!

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Thanks for the wealth of English info! I have my train ticket to Stratford! Looking forward to seeing the sights! xo