Context for the banquet
The year is 1155. Henry II has just become king of England (October 1154). This is the first time for over a hundred years that someone has become king in England without arguments or fighting. In fact, a period of fighting between Henry and the previous king Stephen had only ended in 1153 when it had been agreed that Henry would become king on Stephen’s death. Now in 1155, the new king Henry is passing through Kent. The manor of Dane Court in East Kent is holding a banquet in his honour. Invited to the banquet are the villagers of Dane Court and its five neighbouring villages. Present at the banquet will be not only the king, but also the Lords of each village (Barons or Knights) and Barons and Knights who are travelling with the king.
Back in 2019, our medieval extravaganza took place for the 24th year running, since its inception in 1995. The Year 7 students performed their various roles admirably as they enacted their medieval characters. They were set the task of deciding what it might have been like to be a medieval peasant or a Baron, Knight or Lady and whether wealth had any influence upon happiness and quality of life. The students have been studying the medieval period in their history lessons and in Food and Nutrition lessons they looked at food and clothing for the rich and poor in the 12th century.
Once the food was consumed individuals were thrown into the stocks by the Bailiff, for certain misdemeanors which their Parents had disclosed. Others went to bob for apples or to experiment with wooden games that might have been played in those times. A few talented peasants attempted to write with a quill and ink and realised how highly skilled the monks were in those days, recording information exquisitely and illuminating letters, intertwining them with images of birds, foliage and shapes. Some peasants visited the apothecary (Mr Lyons), who explained how the sick would have been treated. His bowl of wriggling maggots caused many students to scream out with disdain, imagining how it would have felt to have them placed upon an infected wound.
King Henry II (Mr Baker, with his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine - Mrs Stivarius) then invited his subjects to be entertained by many great talents, including the Old Luvvies (the English Department) enacting a tale from Chaucer; a most talented juggler (Mr Shane Lycett); some exquisite dancers (the House Captains); a Rap delivered by two amazing and gifted brother and sister rappers (Adam and Erin Marshall); and our brilliant musicians who provided a backcloth of music from the era and the Maestro (Mr Jon Williams) who taught the Peasants to sing an authentic song from the era called 'Summer is i cummin in'. The finale was an inter house jousting contest. The event was skillfully co-ordinated by our Master of Ceremonies, Mrs Radley.
Our thanks to all who helped to set this up and to clear away afterwards!
The Food and History departments.