October’s Letter from the Curator (2019)

Dear Friends,

October can be one of the most spectacular months in the English countryside. The brilliant colours of the leaves against a bright blue autumn sky make such a day unforgettable.

Although the season is over now for general opening, we remain open all year for booked parties and schools. In addition to the Castle itself, we also make use of the beautiful Norman church at the Castle gate, once St Mary’s Priory, and one of the finest examples of 12th-century architecture in the Midlands. Like the Great Hall at the Castle, it makes a dramatic backdrop for historical talks in costume.

When seated, white-faced and silent, dressed as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, I know that I look like a wax model, until I stand up slowly and speak. I have discovered that I can silence 150 noisy nine-year-olds with one movement. We make friends quickly though. apart from my own historical characters, we have medieval musicians and a court jester as well as knights in armour and birds of prey to ensure that any educational visit is packed with engaging activities for all ages from 5 to 95 – we welcome U3A and senior education groups as well as schools, of course.

It is the busiest month, hardly surprisingly for ghost hunts, and we have a busy programme of events around ghosts and witchcraft around Halloween. These are selling so well that we will be offering more talks over the winter months for those interested in the historical side of witchcraft, including talks from the notorious ‘Witchfinder General’. If you fancy a historical talk, or a ghost hunt (including the chance to see some of the most high-tech ghost-hunting equipment), just email bookings@tutburycastle.com to find out more.

Next month we have our annual Bonfire Viking celebrations, which bring visitors each year from as far a away as Scotland, Wales and the South Coast of England. We fill the local hotels and restaurants with repeat business, and we are glad to do so. Historically the Castle was the hub of trade and activity in the area, and just every so often, we are again. Tickets are available, but likely to sell out, so please don’t leave it too late if you want to come.

If you would like to have a themed Christmas party, do get in touch, whether that is a ghost hunt, or a Victorian thriller evening, not to mention a chance for dinner with Elizabeth I or Nell Gwynne (she’s a riot!). For those with nerves of steel, you could even have a Christmas meal with the Iron Lady herself! Now that’s quite a thought, isn’t it…?

Have fun,

Lesley