Saturday, May 19, 2012

Donington Le Heath Manor House & Norwich GuildHall

It has been a busy month this May - From Hatfield to the Birmingham Storytelling Cafe and then to Donington Le Heath and back to Norwich Guildhall.

All have been great places to tell, but I am particularly drawn to the historic buildings. Donington was amazing and I just wish I had had more time  to check it out and take pictures. It was like stepping back into the 13th century, because apart from some 17th modernisation the hall has remained much as it would have been in the first few centuries after building. Although it was suggested to me that it might be older still and grown out of a Saxon long house. I like the blend of medieval and early modern architecture and it all fits together to make a comfortable house that I'd be more than happy to call my own! I'm not sure I would have been able to afford it even back then, for it was at one time a gentlemans residence, albeit a notorious one at that. It was non other than Sir Everard Digby, one of the Gun Powder Plotters. Its fortunes were not always that grand, even becoming a pigsty at one point, which is perhaps why the medieval  building survived, unspoilt by much later modernisation. 

But a pigsty lovingly restored to its former glory and now a perfect venue for telling a collection of medieval  tales like Dame Fortunes Wheel and the Three Estates. I really get a kick out of telling stories that would have been recognisable to all those who feasted in its great hall or huddled round the kitchen fireplace long, long ago!

To find out more about the Manor house just visit the Leicestershire County Council Website here...

Hall at Donington Le Heath

The following evening I was back in Norwich telling the Shaming of Agnes Leaman at Norwich Guildhall. For me it was much the same buzz, but more so, for not only was I telling Tudor tales in the Tudor Court room of the medieval building, but the stories were mixed with the stories of real people actually sentenced to various punishments  in that very room over 400 years ago. Its an austere looking room really except for the stunning 15th century window glass restored after the collapse of the chamber roof in the 1500s. But when the civic portraits are hopefully one day restored to the court room; paintings that include many of the 16th and 17th century Mayors of the City, it will look very grand indeed. With all those once great men of a long lost elite no longer looking down on petty thieves and all those accused of ill and evil rule, for now they will be looking down on the likes of me. No change there then!

East end of the Mayors Court Chamber

Detail from the Mayors Court Fifteenth Century Glass

Thanks To Alison and Richard for the Invite to Donington and Rachel and everyone else at HEART in Norwich for once again looking after me at the Guildhall.

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