Patrick Phillips' 1978 "re-creation of Tudor life" in his back garden went well, not least because the garden belongs to Kentwell Hall in Suffolk. Kentwell is a red brick Tudor mansion, with a moat, parkland, pasture and an authentic atmosphere of the Elizabethan age.
The Hall was built between 1520 and 1560 and when the Phillips took on the property in 1971 it was much neglected but little changed.
The "re-creations" have become an annual event and more. Some 300 volunteers help Kentwell turn the clock back to the Tudor age, and last year 22,000 schoolchildren paid a visit to the Clopton family, their servants and retainers. John Clopton (1423-1497) was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk and a prominent Lancastrian during the Wars of the Roses. His family lived on the site for more 200 years.
Those taking part live, dress and speak as Tudors. There are "prentices, dairymaids, weavers and spinsters, archers, goatherds and smiths. Above it all the Gentry rule. The working farm has rare breeds appropriate to the era, including Suffolk Punch heavy horses, Norfolk Horn sheep and Greylag Geese.
School groups visiting a re-creation are encouraged, nay required, to participate. Some schools spend months preparing costumes. Costume-making (and cheating) instructions are suplied, alongside classroom materials and on-site aids to the visit.
Kentwell is in Long Melford, Suffolk. Groups need to book well in advance. Costs vary between pound;5 and pound;9.75 per child, with a required adult to child ratio of 1:10.The Great Re-creation: weekdays from June 21 to July 8. The September Re-creation: September 20 and 21 only. Tudor activity days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in May, June and October.Guided school tours and farm visits on various other dates through the year. Tel: 01787 310 207.