Tabulae Ltd

Artisans Through the Ages

Our Presentation for English Heritage Kelmarsh 'Festival of History'

Contact Information

Contact Name:
Kay Rouse





As a special feature for English Heritage at their Kelmarsh Festival of History, Tabulae designed and sponsored this 'Artisans Through the Ages' presentation.

The show was set up to present a walk through time from Roman to WW2, not just visually but with each period worker offering visitor the chance to engage in a hands-on activity, whether with a photo opportunity or an actual souvenir to take home.

Steve Wagstaffe demonstrated the arts and skills of a Roman metal-workers 'factory' and showed  various of the devotional and surgical instruments he has researched and made - some of the techniques described for the latter not being for those of a delicate nature...

Fi Rashleigh offered rather gentler aspects of Roman domestic life focusing on fashion, cosmetics and style: Visitors with long hair were invited to experience the latest in hair styling (Those more tonsorially challenged could opt for the very latest in Roman wigs...)

Pete Butler of Saxon Village Crafts showed Saxon horn and antler work, cutting combs and pins for visitors to see

- his wife Joyce demonstrated tablet and braid weaving and allowed visitors to try their hand at both.






Company of Artisans Karen & Charlie Slade demonstrated, respectively, Medieval encaustic tile-making for visitor participation

- plus Tudor wattle & daub building techniques - with have-a-go plasterwork, again providing a take-home souvenir.


Deb Bamford of The Mulberry Dyer, in Stuart mode, invited visitors to experience the 'magic' of woad dyeing in making their own piece of bright blue cloth: it's all in the effect of the air...


Her partner John Stoker demonstrated the work of a Pinner - displaying his collection of specialist pinners' bones and tools to produce this vital clothing component.

Tony Atthow from Higgler explained the Georgian complexities of  Perquisites - in his case that of Butts & Stubbes - while referencing the success of his near contemporary Mr Fortnum (of & Mason fame!)

His - not so - humble servant, Mistress Rouse, invited visitors to try their hand at making a sealing wax impression to take home, also explains exactly how Dick Turpin made his fatal mistake and regales with lurid news reports...

Alongside the Victorian ropewalk, Gerry & Carol Burrows offer a Show & Tell experience of their Victorian showman's residence: see if you can tell just what each item is in their display - all is here from skirt lifters and glove streatchers to magnifying globes...

The modest Mrs Burrows tucks the drying rack for her smalls - almost - out of sight and proudly displays her religious tracts for all to admire.  At centre stage, asleep on the bed, is their cat - the champion mouser, Acryl.

Mrs Gilkes of Warp & Weft invites you into her post-bombing tented home for a tour of all her facilities: A bedroom for herself and her daughter comes complete with an improvised period dressing table and her fully utility kitchen is demonstrated.  Mrs Gilkes will explain all - from the intricacies of Wartime hairdressing to dressing and cooking on the ration.  On the Make-Do-and-Mend front do have a try at rag rugging to make a mat to cover your floors.