Children relive Anglo Saxon heritage in longhouse

Pupils Mark Powley and Tyler Kemp with the finished longhouse at West Earlham Junior School.Picture

Pupils Mark Powley and Tyler Kemp with the finished longhouse at West Earlham Junior School.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

Hopscotch grids and goalposts are what usually decorate school playgrounds

Builder Kate Edwards with the finished longhouse at West Earlham Junior School.Picture by SIMON FINL

Builder Kate Edwards with the finished longhouse at West Earlham Junior School.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

But in Norwich one school has had a rather different idea, unveiling an Anglo-Saxon longhouse in its grounds.

The structure, which will be used primarily as a storytelling area, was built by pupils at West Earlham Junior as part of a project inspired by a visit to West Stow, an Anglo-Saxon village near Thetford.

Following the trip, pupils wrote to the school's governors pleading to be allowed to create the building in the school grounds.

After the governors were persuaded and the budget was agreed, the school decided to run the project, and got two Year 4 groups involved in its creation.

The children, aged eight and nine, were responsible for making the material for the walls, while Kate Edwards, director of Edwards & Eve Cob Building, thatched the roof using Norfolk reed.

Ms Edwards said: 'I have only done one thatched roof before which was my own house, so this was a real challenge.

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'The children did a great job of the walls using clay and sand. They had to crush it together.

'They used to use horses and cows to do it but clearly we had none of those available so the children danced on it to mix it up.'

Mark Hodder, Year 4 group leader, said: 'The children loved every minute. Despite it being December there were no complaints about the cold. They fully embraced it and wrapped up warm.

'They learnt about how the Anglo-Saxons used an environmentally- friendly technique. They've learnt so many technical elements about resources, lifestyle and materials.'

Are you planning a heritage project? Email joe.randlesome@archant.co.uk

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