Books are swapped for swords in medieval history lesson at Wymondham Abbey

Pupils put down their textbooks and picked up the bow and arrow, sword and falconer's lure yesterday as they were introduced to life in the medieval year 1448.

Wymondham High School's year seven were at Wymondham Abbey learning archery and falconry and taking the chance to wield some medieval weapons, hear stories and music of the era, learn about gruesome medieval medicine, cooking, and see teachers behave out of, or rather in, character.

History teachers Duncan Rowe and Barney Pearce were doing good turns as Baron Ralph de Cromwell, who was treasurer to Henry VI and a major south Norfolk landowner in 1448, and Prior Stephen London, who that year petitioned the king to turn Wymondham Priory into an abbey.

Mr Rowe said: 'The abbey appears on the badge on our school uniform, but I don't know if any of our students have been here before today.

'This is a fabulous way to learn history: they are massively enthused. It takes them out of their comfort zone and gets them asking questions, they are much more awake and receptive.'

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The day saw historical education company Black Night Historical pull out all the stops, with experts in authentic period dress employing various personas.

Founder Tim Pycroft, who led the archery, said: 'I find it an incredibly good way of teaching and learning history, I wish something similar had been around when I was young.

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'I think the package we put together assists teachers, we put the flesh on the bones. If you can get kids interested in history through cooking, art, sport, or even falconry, then they might be inspired. There are a lot of triggers.'

The school will be throwing the project open to the adults tonight, including a hog roast celebration.

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