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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mary Arden's Farm

This property belonged to Shakespeare's Mother's family. It is a working Tudor Farm. Once you get in there, it is like entering another world. People dress different and talk different. I loved this place. The guides were incredibly well informed. It was another fascinating history lesson!

This is an Eagle Owl. It is used in the art of falconry where humans use birds of prey to help them hunt.

Look! A milk maid!

This is a husbandman. His job is to look after all the livestock. In real life, this man has a PhD in the History of Livestock Farming, and is a sort of Department Head at Mary Arden's Farm. He is also an aficionado of medieval swordsmanship and on certain days, he performs swordplay for visitors. Here he is caressing a cow's backside. He obviously has an emotional connection with his animals. The cow was very nervous and he wanted to calm her down. Did you know that cows can CHOOSE to give milk or not? If the cow is mad at you or she doesn't like you, she can choose to give no milk at all.

The blacksmith. He isn't playing. He actually makes things the good old fashioned way.

Some of the things the blacksmith made.

This is a Hungarian curly coated pig which is a breed descended from the Lincolnshire curly coated pig, that has since died out in England. It was a very popular breed of pig in Shakespeare's time. 

At 1pm, the farm serves dinner to all its workers. These dishes follow actual Tudor recipes. Salads are seasoned with sugar. There are strange tarts and pies. These are all made in the old-fashioned Tudor way in the wood-fired oven below.

The outdoor wood-fired oven.

Like other humble constructions, the house does not stand straight. The beams are crooked and the walls are crooked too! Building, it appears, used to be an art, not a science.

The master of the house would eat here.

The mistress of the house would sleep here. There is a pull out bed for a child. People actually slept sitting upright, propped up against the pillows. There was a belief that if you slept flat on your back, the Devil might think you were dead and come pull your soul out of your mouth.

The servants slept on the floor.

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