Royalist, tavern keeper, survivor of the Great Fire of London
‘Thank you very much for the talk you did for the children – they loved it!’ (St Michael’s C.E. Primary School, Bournemouth)
While working as a teaching assistant at Parley First School I spent a year working in Year 2 with my good friend Jeremy Harrison, the deputy head. The class was learning about the Great Fire of London and we had lots of pictures decorating the classroom walls. Jeremy, a keen student of history (like me) and a trained archaeologist to boot, hankered after having a few artefacts to show the kids.
Bartholomew enjoys a well earned drink.
' "Or you could wear them," came the reply. And so Bartholomew Weever, tavern keeper and survivor of the fire was born.'
As it happened, I had a set of 17th century clothing and various pieces of pottery hanging about at home from my days in the English Civil War Society and the Gosport Living History Society, so I suggested putting the artefacts out on display and arranging the clothes on a hanger. “Or you could wear them,” came the reply. And so Bartholomew Weever, tavern keeper and survivor of the Great Fire was born.
Over the years what started out as a fairly short piece has grown into a two part session.
Part 1 – a talk, with plenty of illustrations, explaining what London was like in 1666, how Thomas Farrinor would have baked bread and how the fire would have been fought.
Part 2 – Bartholomew’s story, a storytelling session in costume and character, with lots of props, followed by a Q&A session.
The two sessions take between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on how many questions get asked. If the two sessions can straddle playtime I have created a more dramatic version of Bartholomew’s story that allows me to make more of the items that I’ve collected over the last few years.
A second presentation ‘The Phoenix’ is also being developed, this will deal with the rebuilding of London after the fire. Bartholomew’s backstory has also been adapted into a talk about the English Civil War.
Bartholomew has performed at local schools, a couple of library coffee mornings, a local society that befriends older people in the Bournemouth area, Bournemouth Rotary Club and for a local charity that works with adults with learning difficulties.
Being very aware of the events of Bartholomew’s life between Saturday 1st and Friday 7th September 1666 I asked him to give me an outline of his early life and he told me this story. I have modernised the punctuation to make it easier to read, but have kept his eccentric spelling and numbering.
If you’d like to find out more about Bartholomew, or would like to book a session, please contact me.
What schools have said.
Great Fire of London
‘I liked the bit when you came in dressed up’ (Year 2 pupil, St Mark’s School, West Moors)
‘I learnt that _ The porij was difrent (sic). All about cooking in 1666’ (Year 1 pupils, Grovelands Primary School, Walton on Thames)
‘Provided lots of anecdotal information which the children really enjoyed’ (Newsletter, Grovelands Primary School, Walton on Thames)
‘I really enjoyed the morning because I got to see what fashion was like in 1666’ (Amy, Parley First School)
English Civil War
‘Dressing up and really taking on the part did help us imagine what it would be like to fight and the problems you face’ (Year 8 pupils, Ferndown Middle School)