Tel. 07788 140572
Estate Office, Hatfield House,
Hatfield, AL9 5NQ
A Quick Guide to the Meet Henry VIII Day
The day is designed to complement study of the King and the early Tudor period and can be adapted to suit the requirements of Key stages 1, 2 & 3
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 cheif advisor to both Elizabeth I and James I). They talk about various aspects of the Palace including the reproduction Tudor Knot Garden.
From 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 date is October 1544. The King has just returned from leading the English army in France having left his new queen Katheryn Parr to rule the country. During his absence Katheryn has reconciled all the King’s children into one family and has continued the progress of the Reformation. This behaviour has caused somewhat of a rift between her and the King. She is considering a way of getting back into the King’s good books.
When first entering the Palace the pupils are met by the Queen who will enlist their help to present the King with a painting which she hopes will restore her to the King's favour. She will elaborate on various aspects of her life at Court and if they have learnt one, will rehearse the students in a song for the KIng's pleasure . The students 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.
After half an hour’s preparation a drum roll will be heard and a fanfare sounded. The doors open to reveal the King sitting upon his throne at the far end of the main hall. The pupils are encouraged to enter and approach His Majesty, a long and daunting walk which they will not forget in a while. The King is in a reflective frame of mind and will look back over his reign at what he has done and attempt to justify it. The audience lasts for half an hour.
Upon leaving the King the students will meet Erasmus the King's Armourer who under the guise of talking to them about the weapons of Henry’s armies will cover many aspects of Tudor life and provide a contrast in status with the members of Court with whom the pupils have been rubbing shoulders.
There is plenty of scope for emphasis to be placed on any particular aspect of the Tudor period if required. Just let us know when booking.
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.