Thursday, June 5, 2014

'Much Larks' at Mountfitchet Castle

Castle Village
The Daily Grind

In April SAW participants made a group visit to Mountfitchet Castle in Essex. This is a reconstructed wooden castle on and original motte and bailey site. Complete with live animals, smoky fires, skeletal prisoners, hanged criminals and torture pit, it gives both and engaging and lurid insight into Medieval life.

Punished for having too much of a good time!
You can try your hand at heaving the grinding mill-stones; kitting yourself up for riding in the slips; try on a helmet or two and wear some very heavy chain mail.

Let battle commence!

The fallow deer, ducks, geese and goat are all keen to get close for a free feed, if you buy a bag on your way in.

There are trails to follow and windy stairs to climb for a good view out over the area. You get a good idea of how defensible this site was and yet the castle was eventually taken by King John in 1215?

The reluctant goatherd!
A few nibbles...

Following the visit, I asked what members of the group to send me comments on: 
  • what they particularly enjoyed at Mountfitchet Castle and,
  • from an archaeology point of view, did they think it is a good idea to build a replica castle on top of the actual site of a castle...?
Liva said:
I thought the great hall  was exciting because I liked the models, and the information was interesting.  I also liked the pretend gallows because it showed that life in some parts of history was tough. The herb garden was good too because it was beautiful. 

Also from an archaeology point of view it would be good to build the replica on top of the original castle because if you discover any new things in the ground you can add it to the collection at the castle. Which is important to see things in their original background.

Malthe said:

For the first question, I enjoyed feeding the animals because it was funny when the animals were chasing me to try and get the animal food. For the second question, I think that the reconstruction is good, but they should have built the reconstruction somewhere else so that people can enjoy the original castle and the reconstruction of the castle.

Matthew's mum, Julie said:

It is really difficult to pinpoint what we particularly enjoyed as it was all so good.  The village scene with its wide range of exhibits, the individual buildings and the gallows (which both the boys were a bit wary of (lol!) all provided a great experience for the boys and not forgetting the wildlife freely wandering around which just made castle village life all the more real. 

There was such a lot to see and do and without you guys organising the morning SAW session I don’t think we would have got so much out of it.