Sweet smell of the Tudors! Gentlewoman Anna Fielding with a nosegay of lavender, rosemary and bay, at Little Moreton Hall ⓒ Alan Ingram National Trust
Little Moreton Hall Opens for 2018 Season on 10 Feb
Not just the sights and sounds but the smells of the 16th Century will be featured at Little Moreton Hall during 2018.
When the hall re-opens on 10 February, ‘Welcome to the 16th Scent-ury’ will focus on the aromas of Tudor times, with a special ‘You Smell’ trail appealing particularly to families. You will be able to sample the aromas of herbs such as tansy, lady’s bedstraw and meadowsweet; rich spices such as cinnamon, cloves and ‘grains of paradise’, and some exotic Tudor perfumes.
But not everything will be idyllic. Odours of sweat and damp wool, the smell of the privvy and the stench of rough, harsh tobacco will also be part of the experience.
Little Moreton Hall ⓒ Alan Ingram/National Trust
Anna Fielding, from the Hall, explained, ‘Country life in Tudor times involved a lot of hard physical toil. And you were dressed in heavy wool clothes. So some perspiration would be inevitable. You also tended your animals, undertook gruelling work in the dairy and had ‘interesting’ ideas about waste disposal.
We would probably not be very happy about some of the smells wafting round. Even some of the perfumes favoured by the Tudors would not be to our taste.
On the other hand, the Tudors would feel people today give off the scent of harsh chemicals. Sixteenth century ideas of keeping clean and of the way bodies interacted with the environment were not the same as ours. The smells we like or dislike would be different to those the Tudors felt strongly about and the reactions people had to various smells of everyday life in the past can give us a real insight into their way of thinking.
‘This wonderful old house is the ideal setting to explore those different attitudes and discover the way people really lived in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Last year we looked at the way the Tudors slept. Visitors had a great time discovering the rules and guidelines the Tudors followed to ensure a good night’s sleep. Once again, their ideas were different from ours.’
Another feature of the new season at Little Moreton Hall will be Candlemas, a religious festival which centred on taking a candle to church to have it blessed.
From 10 February you will be able to make your own candle and take in the aromas of beeswax and incense. Then, from Monday 19 February to Sunday 25 February dozens of artificial candles will bring a warm glow to the principal rooms of the hall.
Little Moreton Hall is open seven days a week from 10 to 25 Feb, then Weds – Sun, 11am – 5pm.
Candlemas Festival: 19 February – 25 February
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/littlemoretonhall or call 01260 272018.