As a Servant – a trip to Chirk Castle

We had a wonderful day out yesterday on a school trip to Chirk Castle.  The staff there are always so welcoming, but I was surprised by the number of elderly people who quite sternly asked the children why they weren’t in school.  I haven’t had that for a long time.

People are generally becoming so much more familiar with the idea of home education.  We enjoyed talking to a chap in tweeds, with a small, tidy moustach who thought home schooling was an excellent idea because his grandson didn’t learn anything at primary school, in his opinion!  He told us that he himself had been educated at Oxford.  After speaking with him, Josiah wanted to know what sort of accent he had.  I told him that the gentleman just spoke with a posh English accent.  Josiah reckons he wants to talk like that.  In fact, Josiah spent most of the day saying that when he was older he wanted his house to have this feature or that, inspired by what we saw.  He was most taken with the hundreds of years old topiary, yew hedges and now reckons that we should try to cut the brambles on our track into shapes!  Imagination is the foundation of creativity and inspiration of aspiration.

I enjoyed again seeing the Servant’s Hall.  It has an amazing smell from years and years of an open fire burning in the hearth.  All the leather buckets on the beams fascinate me.  But the children weren’t impressed with my idea that maybe these rules should become our house rules:

Rules to be observed here.

That every Servant must   

Take off his Hat at entering here

Sit in his proper Place at Table

Keep himself clean as becoming his Station

Drink in his Turn

Be diligent in his Business

Shut the Door after him

That no Servant be guilty of

Cursing or Swearing

Telling Tales

Speaking disrespectfully of any one

Breeding any Quarrel

Wasting Meat or Drink

Intermeddling with any other’s Business unless requested to Assist

NB.  The person offending to be deprived his Allowance of Beer – for the first Offence, 3 Days – Second Offence, one whole Week – and third Offence, his behaviour to be laid before Mr. Myddleton.

I was most interested by what a servant should not be found guilty of, and like best the edict that they should not be guilty of speaking disrespectfully of anyone.  I think as a servant of God and His people that should be my rule, too.

The weather was so beautiful and unseasonal that I loved having the freedom to make the most of it.  It was a day to celebrate that we can home educate in this country.

Josiah liked the Cromwell Hall, with all the armoury in it (he’s studying about the Civil War and Charles I at the moment), and the gardens best.  Simeon liked the dungeons best.  Ruthie enjoyed it all so much she couldn’t say what she liked best.  Jemimah most liked the “big bed” (the bed Charles I is alleged to have slept in) and having to look for the wolf cubs that were hidden around the house.  I enjoyed reading about and listening to being played, in the chapel, music from the music manuscripts that were in the Chirk library rediscovered and recorded by Dr David Evans (one of my lecturers at University).  These manuscripts include some pieces by Thomas Tallis and other Renaissance composers that have never been heard before.  What an exciting project!  Unfortunately, they didn’t have any copies of the recording in the shop, as I had hoped they would.

Hide and seek with the children in the garden disturbed the tranquillity for the average middle-aged visitor, but was great fun.  The gardens at Chirk are lovely even apart from them being naturally enhanced by it being such a beautiful day.  We’ve never had time for them before but a picnic lunch in the Hawk House was very pleasant!

Having renewed by Education Membership (which is an amazing deal for anyone who home educates) we’ll be off to another property next time Tim is in Cardiff.


About deerfeet

I am a home-educating mother of four children. We live on a small holding in Wales and my husband is active in local politics and the lead pastor of our church, Festival Church.
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