Children at St Pancras School in Lewes spent Friday preparing for their very own Feast of St Pancras and learning about the Battle of Lewes.
King Henry III and most of his army spent the days before the battle at the Priory – most inconvenient for the monks who were holding the annual Feast of St Pancras commemorating their patron saint.
The Priory was also the setting for the King’s surrender to the baronial army under Simon de Montfort and the signing of the Mise of Lewes.
The children participated in a whole day of activities, organised by the Lewes Priory Trust, culminating in their own feast.
The project – called Feasting, Fighting and Freedom – was devised by Helen Chiasson and Kate Hickmott, education officers of the Lewes Priory Trust, and funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The children prepared medieval food for the feast, learned about serving etiquette and decorated the hall with heraldic and religious banners. They also learned about what happened in the the battle and how the monks used herbs to treat the wounded.
There were also hands-on archaeology activities to look at what remains from the battle today.
Sy Morse Brown, Chairman of the Lewes Priory Trust, said: “This is an exciting project and we are delighted to have the opportunity to bring the Battle of Lewes to life for the children. The Trust has a strong commitment to education and we aim to excite children’s interest in all aspects of the Priory’s history.”
Headteacher of St Pancras School, Debra Turner, said: “It is, once again, a wonderful experience for all our children to work with the Lewes Priory Trust. Their creative approach to learning inspires and excites everyone and encourages the children to learn more about their local heritage.
“We are particularly excited that the project has put St Pancras, our patron saint, into a wider context for our children and their families.” Other schools interested in staging a St Pancras Feast day should contact the Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Hickmott said: “The children had a brilliant day and made all the items for the feast themselves – bread, butter, spiced cordial, monks’ stew, lavender biscuits and all the decorations.” Visit www.lewespriory.org.uk/battleoflewes