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 At our October visit to Tretower we welcomed Master Ash and young Master Christopher. We hope that they will be joining us for many more events in future. We were exceptionally busy on Saturday welcoming 2 large groups as well as many casual visitors. Sunday was slightly quieter but still busy. The weather was glorious and it was good to see so many families picnicking........somewhat unexpected towards the end of October. Our weapon displays went very well. The guns behaved themselves perfectly which is more than can be said for some of the musketeers ! Many thanks to Victoria Smith for the photograph above.

 

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  The picture above  by Mike Smith, taken at Gloucester History Festival, shows Master Robert complete with flag of the arms of the Freemen of the City of Gloucester. He's also complete with a beautiful buff leather baldrick. Unfortunately the baldrick has been lost and, if anyone knows its whereabouts please contact me marmill@marmill321.plus.com Thank you.

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We were delighted to be invited by Gloucester City Council to lead the large parade through the City, on Saturday, September 1st, to signal the start of the 2 week History Festival 2018.  We set up camp behind St Mary De Crypt Church and entertained the public while awaiting the call to muster for parade at 2pm. after which we retired to our camp where we were invited to salute His Worshipful the Mayor, Aldermen and other Dignitaries with musket and hand cannon fire. The 'boys' and Sian were only too happy to oblige ! Many thanks to Robert of Gloucester for his organisational skills.

  Sian and Steffan preparing for the parade.

 

 

    Look out Mike. There are Romans behind you !

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 Bank Holiday weekend was brilliant. We'd looked at the weather forecast and knew we'd be in our outdoor camp on Saturday, in the house on Sunday while it tipped down outside and outdoors again on Monday. Visitor numbers almost beat the record and kept us very busy. The firing demos went well. The only problem was we had too many volunteers to face a firing squad and I didn't have enough blindfolds. No worries.....those about to 'die' provided their own !! 

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5 of us were invited to a reception with HRH Prince of Wales at Tretower Court yesterday and what a wonderful time we had. The Prince made his way upstairs where he saw schoolchildren making Tudor roses and doing other crafts. Then he made his way to The Great Hall where he met Steffan who demonstrated a few of his musical instruments. Phil and Graham were in the Servery where they spoke about Living History and the Prince asked lots of questions. Hopefully they gave the right answers ! Sian and I were in the kitchen and he asked us about food preparation and we invited him to try some flat bread which Sian had just cooked. Yes, we had a fire although it was a scorcher of a morning weatherwise. We then made our way to the garden where there was a lovely buffet and opportunity for more photos and chat. HRH was late leaving for his next appointment as he seemed to be really enjoying himself. The Police outrider and the Royal chauffeur had to drop a big hint by starting up there engines !!

Pictures above reproduced with thanks to The Daily Mail. The third picture shows the reaction when Sian told the Prince the source  of her recipe which shall remain secret !!

 

  Sian and I waiting patiently in the buffet queue. Some important folks have already been served with their cups of tea !!

 

  The Prince taking his leave after thanking Steffan.

 

  Ladies of the Court after saying their farewells to the Royal visitor. 

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3rd weekend in June was another great time at Tretower.  On Saturday we added a certain amount of entertainment at the wedding of Chris and Gary. After a lovely ceremony in The Great Hall, fun and games were had by all especially when Gary thought he was to join the firing squad rather than be their target. His 'friends' wouldn't allow him to back out and he was  a wonderful sport, even if it meant him kneeling on the damp grass in his immaculate wedding suit and then falling over when 'shot'. Many thanks Chris and Gary for your token of appreciation. Sunday was not quite so busy, but busy enough to keep us on our toes. Many thanks to Claire for her great photos below and to the whole group for making it another good event.

  

  

 

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 Thanks to Peter, our friendly caretaker who provides us with jackdaw twigs, we have a brilliant starter for our kitchen fire. By the look of it you'd never think it was  a beautifully sunny day, but visitors always appreciate the warm welcome ! Yet another very busy, enjoyable weekend. Many thanks to Steve White for the wonderful photo.  

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 Publicity shot taken by our friendly custodian, Rose. 

 

 Mistress Gwen and Master Anthony during a break from the archery.  Photo by Steve White. 

It was good to be back in the 17th century last weekend. We hadn't been in that period for some months. The 'boys' were delighted to be able to fire their muskets. the archery went well under the auspices of Sian, Mike and Anthony and many visitors, fairly local and foreign kept us busy. Our talented musician has acquired another role, that of bee keeper ( or perhaps I should say bee rescuer ) as he clambered up to great heights to rescue bees who came into the house and couldn't seem to find their way out again. It was warm enough to tempt the bat to fly around the house too. Another great weekend. 

 

 Master Steffan relaxing from musical and bee rescuing duties.           Thanks to Phil and/or Sian for the photo.

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We had a brilliant Easter weekend (and Monday) and had no need to worry about inclement weather when we're inside such a beautiful building. Lots of visitors again, young and old, and we met some lovely re-enactors too. Many thanks to Lorna Thomas for the first picture taken in the Great Hall. Our newest family are keeping  their distance at the end of the Hall and their son appears camera shy in the second picture as he's hiding being his halberd !! The camera does lie as they're not like that at all. They talk to the visitors and 'muck in' with the rest of us, a great asset to our group.

 

 

 

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 We thought we'd had very busy days in the past, but last Saturday (Feb 17th) surpassed everything. It was the first time we had to sort out a traffic jam within the house. What a day ! The whole house was packed with people ( and their dogs who enjoyed my feeding them our lunchtime cheese) and we had a wonderful time. The public were so appreciative and sent us some great photos and compliments. It's wonderful to get feedback and we thank those who took the time to contact us after the event.

      

 

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We are delighted to have been invited to Gloucester on September 1st to commemorate the Siege of the City. It's a large event, but we are the only re-enactors to be asked and will live life in the 17th century at the 12th century Church of St Mary de Crypt. Gloucester folk have always given us a warm welcome in the past and we look forward to seeing some of them again. 

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 What a start to the season at Tretower today. The weather was atrocious , but, as you can see in the 15th century selfie above, Phil captured himself, bottom right, and the rest of us enjoying the 'warm' kitchen. Plenty of visitors to keep us busy and to get Anthony off to a great start talking about weapons to people who came from Swansea, Crickhowell, Sweden and Buffalo USA among other places. Sian needed that fire for her flat bread and Steffan used the spit to cook a chicken. The rest of the group made sure we had plenty of victuals too. Thanks all. Roll on February when we can do it all again !                                

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                                               2017

 Fantastic end to our 2017 season at Tretower. Loads of music, carol singing, fun and visitors. Custodians and some of our members had decorated the house beautifully for the festive season. Members brought some lovely goodies for our midday table as did our favourite caretaker, Peter. Thank you all. Sorry we don't look as though we're enjoying ourselves in the first picture. We were very busy enjoying ourselves and had our mouths full !! While some of us sat near the fireside with the children singing "Away in a Manger", some of the boys wandered off to try out Rob's crossbow, with startling results. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, whatever they do, and that 2018 will be happy and healthy for all of us.

 

 

  

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 Members of the group enjoyed being an accompaniment to a wedding that took place at Tretower yesterday (Nov 18th). Many thanks to the troops for carrying on without us. I keep insisting that our group has no leaders, and yesterday proved it. Someone else can always be trusted to step up to the mark. Well done all.

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Our Tretower events for 2018 are listed on the Events page on this site. A full programme for the whole year. Some would say we never get a rest, but we say, "Aren't we lucky ?"

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October 14th and 15th at Tretower were busier than expected, but greatly enjoyed by all. Mistresses Sian and Marion were only joking when they tried to remove Master Steffan from the kitchen for playing too loudly ( see photo below). While many groups have finished their living history season, we will be carrying on through the winter  ( but only on Saturdays) and we'll be at Tretower again on November 18th (in 15th century mode) to entertain guests at a wedding.  

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 We welcomed 3 new members to the group in September and they were an instant asset to the group. Mistress Sarah is interested in crafts and archery amongst other things. Master Michael proved to be at ease with shooting a musket and Master Anthony became a pike man for the weekend. The rest of us went about our usual business and all agreed it was a great weekend. Of course we missed quite a few of our 'old' stalwarts as they went off on their holidays. We hope they had a good time and look forward to seeing them next month.

 In the picture below, Master Jonathan has purloined a beautiful piece of white fur and improvised !!  L to R : Mistresses Molly and Sarah, Masters Robert, Jonathan, Anthony and Michael.

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 A very different event took place at Tretower over the Bank Holiday. It was entitled Stories from the Tower and featured story tellers and musicians as well as jugglers, face painters etc. Crowds of people came and the whole site was buzzing ( inside and out ). Some of us were in the kitchen beside the fire ( although we didn't need it as the weather was scorching ) and we were joined by Cara who played her harp beautifully throughout the day.   Sian probably took days to recover as she was rushed off her feet with archery duties. A super weekend enjoyed by all.  

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 Atmospheric photo of Master Jonathan playing a tune, sent to us by an appreciative visitor. Look at those fingers go !! Many thanks Pascale.     Much appreciated.

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August 19th and 20th at Tretower. Sian lit the fire before we arrived on Saturday ( thanks Sian ) and we decided to have a hot drink before the public arrived at 11 am. No chance ! We eventually got the drink at 1.15 pm. A huge group of Ramblers were first to arrive and we were busy all day after that, mostly with foreign visitors. Sunday morning was very busy and the afternoon less so as it had started to rain. It didn't worry us though as we were warm and dry by the fire in the kitchen. Thanks to Sian, Jennie, Phil and Jeff for your company. A very enjoyable weekend.

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Something different happened at Tretower at the weekend (July 15th & 16th ). It rained !!!  However, it was only a shower on the Sunday and it didn't affect our goings on, in fact it cooled us down somewhat. It was good to have Master Luke, herbalist/apothecary/surgeon extraordinaire with us again accompanied by his sidekick, Freya who behaved herself impeccably. Weapon firing was carried out in a new spot for us and we wondered why we hadn't done it there before. The audience were much nearer, meaning I didn't have to shout my commentary at them. Mistress Gwen had plenty of room to run the archery and the 'boys' had plenty of room to shoot, even when it came down to sending an unwilling victim to meet their maker. Many thanks to Laura and Michael for being such good sports and facing the firing squad. Master Philip is taking great delight in firing the blunderbuss and the smoke in the photo below demonstrates beautifully how shot or pellets would be distributed if the gun was loaded. Thanks to Steve White for the photo. 

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 Our latest model strikes a favourite pose !!! We think the sun had a lot to do with his behaviour.

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What a scorcher of a weekend at Tretower ( 17th & 18th June ) There was a lovely medieval wedding in the Great Hall on the Saturday and the bride, groom and guests loved our presence as the Tretower Household. Sunday was slightly less hectic ...no wedding, just lots of interested members of the public from all over the world it seemed. Although the sun was beating down, we still had a fire in the kitchen to cook Steffan's wonderful concoction of a stew of pigeon, rabbit and pigs trotters. Like all good cooks, Steffan took a well earned rest afterwards ! More recent pictures on the Tretower Gallery.

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 Another great day was had by all at Tretower yesterday ( May 28th). The sun shone and the public came out in force. All the activities were very popular especially the archery and our live firing displays. It was good to get back to the 17th century for the first time since last autumn.  More  pictures on the Tretower Gallery page.

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We actually managed to get most of the group together for a photo shoot at Tretower on April 23rd. Had a great weekend with lots of interested public. It was good to welcome Master Robert again. He brought Debbie with him and she soon fitted in very well. More photos on the Tretower Gallery page thanks to Rose and Grace.

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We're getting quite used to coming to the rescue when a booked group has to cancel an event. It happened again at the weekend when we were asked to step in at Tretower Court. Of course we were delighted, although we couldn't be at full strength as some members had already made their Easter plans. We might have been small in number, but I think we gave the visiting public a good deal for their entrance money if the comments in the visitors book are anything to go by. Many thanks to Jennie, Claire, Steffan and Jeff for helping out Graham and me. Much appreciated. We were very busy on both days and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

                       

 

 

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What a shame ! I've had to turn down an invitation to stage an event at Pembroke Castle as quite a few of our members have other commitments on the suggested weekend in July. It would have been wonderful to return to a place where we've had many enjoyable events. If only we'd been asked earlier, we could have planned ahead. Always wise to get your invitations in quickly as we start getting booked up in October for the following year. The events manager will be keeping us in mind for 2018 so that's good.

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Thought this might give our musketeers a smile ! 

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I've made a start on our Events page for this year. Please note that our Tretower events could be Saturdays and Sundays if members of the group wish to attend both days. I'm sure we're all looking forward to another busy season, but perhaps not quite as busy as last year as we hardly had a weekend off. However, what would we find to do with ourselves if not entertaining the public ?

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  Hope all The Marcher Stuarts/ Tretower Household, custodians and follower friends had a wonderful Christmas. Here's wishing you all the best for 2017.  Will be posting all events on our page once they're confirmed.

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Phil produced the cartoon below some years ago. I wouldn't have said our musketeers were THAT slow to load !!  

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Saturday, 17th September. It's not often we manage to get a group photo, but, thanks to David Swidenbank and his organisational and photographic skills, we have the one below taken today outside Porthcawl Museum.  A fantastic welcome from Ceri and her wonderful volunteers, copious teas and coffees, enthusiastic museum unpaid 'staff' who 'dressed up' and entered into the spirit of things with gusto and a very interested audience made it a super day. We were joined by Mark who hadn't done any re-enactment for some time and it was great to have him with us. Great museum too. More pictures by David on the Porthcawl Gallery on this site.

 

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