I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Step into ancient history and help create a shield wall
People living in the Tamworth area of Staffordshire are being invited to help defend medieval Tamworth Castle from possible invasion. They are being urged to take part in a fantastic shield wall project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. A previous incarnation of the castle was used in the longstanding defence of Anglo Saxon Mercia against invading Vikings when the shield wall played such a key role on the battlefield. The ambitious project aims to create a stunning shield wall around Tamworth Castle, and a free workshop is being held next week for anyone who wants to take part. The workshop, which takes place at Tamworth Library on Saturday 27 April between 10am and 2pm, is being co-ordinated by Tamworth Cultural Education Partnership with partners Tamworth Castle and Tamworth Library.
Local youngsters are being invited to decorate a shield that will then be varnished and added to hundreds more, ready to display as part of the opening of Tamworth Castle's brand new Anglo-Saxon-themed Battle and Tribute exhibition in spring 2020. As well as celebrating the opening of the stunning new exhibition, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the shield workshop is also marking the 10-year anniversary of the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard and Staffordshire Day. Shield-making workshops will be taking place across the county as part of the Staffordshire Day festivities from April 27 to May 5, which aim to celebrate everything that is great about Staffordshire. Tamworth Castle is one of a select few locations chosen to display pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard, which is the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever discovered, consisting of more than 3,500 items. The hoard lay undiscovered in a field near Hammerwich until the summer of 2009.
The interactive Battle and Tribute exhibition will include a high-quality battle film experience, a touch-table strategy game and a mead hall. The project represents an investment of more than £750,000 into Tamworth Castle, including a £499,900 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. A special event is being planned to mark the opening of the new exhibition next year and this will include the display of the shield wall made by visitors to the castle, local schools and Tamworth residents. More than 230 shields have already been created by children visiting the castle in recent months, but it is estimated that twice that amount will be needed to make it a really stunning display. To get involved, people of all ages are invited to drop into the workshop on April 27 where foam-board shields will be provided along with paint and supplies to decorate them with.
Each decorated shield will be formed into a wall surrounding Tamworth Castle
Linda Baker, Education and Events officer at Tamworth Castle, said: "The themes of battle, kingship and warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia will be central to the new exhibition, so we thought the shield wall project would be a great way to bring that to life as part of the opening celebrations. The response so far has been great and children have really enjoyed making them, but we need more if we are to create a really stunning spectacle. We'd encourage families to come along and join the fun. Those who have already completed shields are really looking forward to seeing them as part of the shield wall around the outside of the castle when we open the new gallery next year."