December’s Letter from the Curator (2019)

Christmas is coming, but the goose just has heavy bones!

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Christmas is of course first and foremost a religious festival, but the idea of eating, drinking and making merry at midwinter to hold the darkness at bay is a tradition in many cultures. Here at the Castle we are firm believers in tradition, so although December is quieter for us than many months, we are still welcoming guests old and new for events packed with festive cheer.

On December 11th I’m appearing at the Castle as Mary Queen of Scots, and the next day it’s Sex and the Tudors. I’m also delighted to be appearing again in Tutbury Church on December 19th, as Elizabeth I. Do come and join me, both for the talk and for a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie afterwards. The Church of St Mary the Virgin is such a beautiful building, with almost as much history as the Castle itself. Whenever I go in, I think of all the many people who have been there before us, ordinary men and women and children, as well as the many kings and queens who visited Tutbury. Founded as a priory by the de Ferrers family, it has always had close links with the Castle, and I’m glad that we are keeping those links strong today. This month we are also pleased to welcome the Rev. Phyllis Bainbridge to Tutbury as the new rector, and we hope that she enjoys her time in the community here.

This month we have a new type of event at the Castle, with films showing in the marquee on Saturday 14th, Sunday 15th, Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd December! It’s a chance to have a bit of family fun without having to wait for Christmas. For full details of the programme and tickets see

The dark nights of December are ideal for those who enjoy the quieter, spookier side of the Castle, and at the time of writing we still have tickets available for our spiritual Open Circle evening on December 4th, with medium Patricia Farrar. Patricia is an old friend of the Castle and will lead guests in an evening of meditation and discussion of all things spiritual.

With all of that going in, I’m looking for a little bit of a break as well. The last few months have been frantically busy for me, with performances at the Castle and around the country. Just last week appeared in the Welsh borders, just a few miles from where the Viking hoard was found which has been in the news so much recently. Some of you may have seen my husband Gareth in some of the news coverage. The whole thing was very shocking – not just the fact that the hoard was stolen by the finders, but then Gareth getting more attention in the media than me (only joking!). Seriously, as someone who runs a historic site, I understand all too well the danger of crimes against our national heritage, and in this case it’s good to see that the criminals have got their just deserts. The court case has meant that it has been a tiring time for Gareth as well, and we are both looking forward to a few days off, although I’m pleased that there will be private parties and events at the Castle right across the Christmas period. I’m also glad to say that Gareth will be offering talks on the hoard in the New Year, so watch this space for more news of that, and much, much more.

With best wishes for the festive season from all of us here at the Castle,

Lesley xx