Your article: A step back in time for students

Civil War event at Woldgate College
Civil War event at Woldgate College

Students at Woldgate College stepped back in time 350 years to learn about life for ordinary soldiers during the Civil Wars.

Year 8 students (aged 12 to 13) met four volunteers from the Sealed Knot Society, a national organisation that re-enacts life and battles from the Civil Wars that occurred between 1642 and 1653.

As part of the experience, students were given detailed demonstrations and explanations of the equipment, weapons and armour used by soldiers before having the opportunity to ask questions and try out the equipment.

In the afternoon, the re-enactors took to the school field and, with students standing at a safe distant, demonstrated how to load and fire muskets and cannon.

Students were amazed at the noise and smoke made by the 17th century weapons.

One student said: “I never realised how loud muskets were in real life, I can’t imagine hundreds of them firing at once.”

Another student said: “I have really enjoyed this afternoon, it is much better to see things like this in real life than on TV.”

Event organiser and History teacher Luke Sloman said: “At Woldgate we believe strongly in educating our students through both classroom teaching and experiences. Events like this give our students the opportunity to directly experience the past in a way that would be impossible in a conventional classroom setting.”

He added: “Over the last few weeks our Year 8 students have been learning about the political, social and religious causes and impact of the Civil Wars. However, this event has given them a direct insight into the physical and emotional effects of the war on ordinary lives.

“Many students have commented on the weight and size of the weapons and equipment 17th century soldiers were expected to carry. Others have commented on the unfair treatment of female camp-followers during the wars and how this reflects seventeenth century social values.

“History means asking questions about the past and this event has given our students a memorable opportunity to do this.”

The event was the culmination of Year 8 students’ work on the changes in power and the development of democracy between 1500 and 1900, when political power transferred from the monarch to Parliament.