June’s Letter from the Curator (2021)

Dear Friends,

Such a joy to be open, even if the weather has been somewhat challenging. It has been hard to know whether to wear flippers, a vest or perhaps a swimming costume as the elements ripped around the castle,

giving us plenty to think about. Our visitors still came and we all loved seeing each other again. It has also been a pleasure to meet people visiting the castle for the first time – we hope that like our regulars they too will return again and again.

Both bank holiday weekends were a great success, all things considered. Although the weather was terrible at the beginning of May, those who came enjoyed themselves and of course this last weekend the weather was much kinder. I saw people wreathed in smiles under bright blue skies. Special thanks to all who came and our fantastic World War II enactors who went to such efforts presenting the

1940’s.  They will be back at the end of next May and I am hoping I might get them back for another display this year as they were so popular and the school studying the period can book them too. It was a pleasure to have the wonderful Suzy (check surname) singing ’40s music in the evening at that event. She has also been popular singing at our evening bar events, and

Now to June, with the trees so lush with blossom and the castle grounds the brightest green I have ever seen – all that rain has done some good after all. We have two weddings this week alone and a wedding fair on Sunday. Entry is free for that if you book tickets in advance.  We are having some particularly spectacular sunsets at the moment as the un-retouched image below taken last weekend shows you. The tree in the foreground was planted by Her Majesty the Queen when she visited the castle in 1958.

Tickets are now available for the long-awaited Land of Hope and Glory Concert on 17th. July. The title fits us all so well after such courage has been shown over the past 18 months. There will be a brass band and then a firework display. A perfect family event as there will be a small fairground for the youngsters.  As it is summer the firework display will be set off a little later than usual when we have our display in November. That will also be going ahead and tickets for the Viking Spectacular over two nights in November will be available soon at www.tutburycastle.com

“Will you be having the fairy-tale bank holiday event this August again” is a question I am asked often. People look forward to it so much, and I am pleased to say that all being well, the answer is a resounding “YES”.

My costumed talks to small groups when I appear in costume are underway now. We are cautious about space, and carefully following the guidelines, so numbers to these talks are limited, so that everyone who comes can feel that they are safe and have appropriate distance around them so that they can relax and enjoy themselves. If you want a rip-roaring event, then on 17th June I am presenting my most popular talk “Sex and the Tudors”. Limited tickets available now. www.tutburycastle.com

Finally, my first novel is back from the publisher, entitled “Wolf Moon”. It written about the castle and other places in the immediate area but set in 1568/9 and is a tale of spies and murder in Elizabethan England with all the intrigues that one would expect of that time. Everything I have published before have been academic papers in specialist journals so this is my first foray into the world of novels. It is written to be the fictional fore-runner of another factual work, which presents a real and previously unpublished medical notebook of the 1550’s called “Mr Ince’s Boke”. It is co-written with a GP, Dr Glyn Smith (no relation) who owns the original leather clad book. We hope that will be out before the end of the year.

“Wolf Moon” is a chunky read and I will be giving early evening readings from the book, in costume with free entry. These will start at the end of June, do look online for details. If you would like a copy, it is £9.95 plus p & p, or you can buy the book directly at the castle with no need to worry about the postage.

Very best wishes to all of you.

Lesley Smith