Tel. 07788 140572
Estate Office, Hatfield House,
Hatfield, AL9 5NQ
A Quick Guide to the Meet Elizabeth I Day
The day is designed to complement study of Queen Elizabeth I and the events of her reign and can be adapted to suit the requirements of Key stages 1, 2 & 3.It is also suitable for a more general study of Kings and Queens .
We run six ‘sessions’ per day starting at 10.00, 10.15,10.30, 11.45,12.30 & 12.45 and each lasting for two hours. Each individual session can accommodate approx. 60 pupils.
The session starts on Old Palace Green situated outside the former Royal Palace of Hatfield. Rebuilt in 1492 by the Bishop of Ely and acquired by Henry VIII in 1533 who subsequently used it as a nursery for all three of his children, the Old Palace is a fine example of the Burgundian style of architecture. Built in warm red brick interspersed with dark grey diaper work (and lots of interesting chimneys!) it affords an atmospheric setting for the activities of the day.
The pupils are met by guides all of whom have a broad knowledge of the history of both The Old Palace and ’New House’ (the current residence of The 7th Marquis of Salisbury, built in 1612 by Robert Cecil chief advisor to both Elizabeth I and James I). They talk about various aspects of the Palace including the reproduction Tudor Knot Garden.
Following the guides the pupils are shown into the Palace, from now on, everyone they meet will be in Tudor costume going about their daily lives. The year is 1589 and although victory against the Spainish Armada was secured the year before there are still potential threats to the Queen. Court is far from a safe haven. Throughout this time the children will be expected to behave with the discipline and decorum demanded of children in 16th Century England. This helps to build the atmosphere and tension.
Initially they will be met by Thomas Pheilippes a somewhat dark and mysterious charecture one of Elizabeth's spies he may require the pupils' help in cracking a cypher in a message intercepted from people threatening the Queen’s safety. He will prepare them for their meeting with the Queen
Presently a drum roll will heard and a fanfare will sound. The doors open to reveal the Queen sitting upon her throne at the far end of the Great Hall. The pupils enter and approach Her Majesty; it is a long and daunting walk which they will not forget. The Queen is in a reflective frame of mind and will look back over her life, both as a child at Hatfield and as Queen of England with all that position's inherent responsibilities and pitfalls. If you have learnt a song the Queen will invite you to sing and will accompany you. The audience lasts for half an hour. The pupils are encouraged, if they are brave enough, to ask questions of Her Majesty.
Once they leave the Queen’s presence the pupils meet Sir Walter Raleigh who will talk to them amongst other things about life as a courtier and the exploits of his famous cousin Sir Francis Drake culminating in the battle against the Armada.
The above takes two hours. At this point the ‘formal’ part of the day is over and schools are free to enjoy the grounds and facilities at Hatfield Park including a visit to the Elizabeth Oak, the site of the tree under which the young Elizabeth was sitting when she received the news that she was to be Queen and or the rare breeds farm (please note the visit to the farm has to be booked in advance). Hatfield House has a Real Tennis court and a thriving club. At some point there will be an opportunity to visit it and, if there is one in progress, watch the game which was one of the King Henry VIII’s favourite pastimes, being played. There is also an adventure playground that the pupils are welcome to use.
A picnic in the grounds is always enjoyable. If the weather is inclement the Church Hall is available for lunch to be eaten indoors.
Of course if you are on one of the later sessions you can do the above first but please do try to be somewhere where we can find you when your session is due to begin!
The depth and range of topics dealt with is tailored to the age of the children. Please let us know if there are any particular aspects on which you wish us to concentrate. Once a confirmed booking has been received, a Teachers’ pack will be sent out. This will include the score for the song and patterns for the making of ruffs and tabards as well as information for additional activities.
If you have any questions please ring the Project Director Gary Fisher on: 07788 140572.