Larch and Kingfishers Classes

Saxons in Winchester – We find the evidence!

On Thursday, we joined classes JA and EJ on a trip to Winchester. We arrived at the Education Centre, by the Cathedral, and were met by Mrs Bryan who would be looking after us for the day. Our first activity was to create an ‘Illuminated Letter’. We found out that the first books in Saxon times, were often decorated with the initial capital letter embossed with gold leaf. Next we made our own ‘silver’ Saxon broach. These were worn on cloaks to keep them wrapped around the body, leaving both hands free for moving and carrying things. After that, we had a go at writing in ‘Runes’, a type of Saxon script.

After our activities, we got to look around the Cathedral. First, we discovered that the original Saxon Cathedral had been knocked down and the present Cathedral was built to replace it. However, some of the original Saxon Cathedral features had been transferred to the present building. We learnt how important people in Saxon times, such as Kings and Queen Emma, were laid to rest in Mortuary boxes. Five of these can still be seen in the Cathedral today.

Whilst we were in the cathedral, Mrs Bryan told us a story about a very special Saxon man who became known as Saint Swithun. Saint Swithun  was an Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester and eventually patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Saint Swithun was born about 800 AD, possibly in Hampshire and died 2 July 862 AD in Winchester. He was known for his miracles. Mrs Bryan told us the story of how he helped an elderly woman who had dropped a basket full of eggs. Of course they all smashed. Saint Swithun picked up the basket and gave it back to the woman. Remarkably, the basket was full of perfectly formed eggs again! We all very much enjoyed this story and our look around the cathedral.

After lunch, it was our turn to visit the museum. At the museum, we had the chance to hold a real Saxon teapot that was over a thousand years old. We listened to sounds the teapot made and smelled any aromas we could smell. This helped us understand the evidence of what the pot had been used for. After carefully handling the pot, we had a chance to dress up as Saxon people, to see the sorts of clothes we would have worn if we had been real Saxon people.

We had a wonderful trip and would like to thank all the parent helpers for their support on our trip.

Hope you enjoy our photos of the day;

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