Bringing local history alive: Swineshead Pageant
Recently Ruth has been working with Kathleen Smith from Ideas and Making on part of the Transported project that is currently running in Swineshead, Boston. Villagers in Swineshead are hosting a pageant this summer celebrating all things medieval, in reference to their famous visitor King John.
To fill you in on the history, King John travelled to Swineshead with a huge entourage of squires, servants , footsoldiers, cooks, archers, holy men and body guards to name a few. Also bringing a substantial amount of treasure with him. This was reportedly lost in the Wash in October 1216. The following night after losing his treasure he stayed at Swineshead Abbey, where a myth tells that Simon the Monk was to give him a drink laced with poison. The king travelled onto Newark Castle where he died - possibly a result of his stay at the Abbey?
Today Kathleen is our guest blogger, introducing you to the crowns she has made and to tell you a little about the project...
Why have we chosen to make 10 crowns for the Swineshead Pageant?
We wanted to tell the story of King Johns treasure but in a different way. The most recognisable symbol of treasure is a crown, as it immediately connects with the idea of the Crown Jewels. We wanted to use this symbol and create a modern twist on the look of the crown. So we decided on ten coloured crowns, that stand out and are easy to see. Using this idea, we could then create an arts trail around Swineshead, connecting with information about the lost treasure, which would make it more interesting for children by having to find the crowns.
What was your process to make the crowns?
First of all I researched the look of traditional crowns, and through sketching re-worked the most common patterns to make a simpler and clean design. Through a CAD computer programme I made accurate drawings which were then printed out and attached to metal to be cut out by hand. All the crowns were then soldered and filed ready for colouring.
How are you working together with Curiosity Creators on this project?
I am making the objects for the Treasure Trail and experiment with technologies such as NFC tags and working with Ruth on locations to work out a suitable trail that will fit in with the rest of the festival. The crowns are being used to also promote the festival as the symbol of the crown, hints towards the idea of treasure, so portrays one of the main themes of the festival.
How can people find out more about the history of King John and his visit to this area of Boston?
By using the Treasure trail in conjunction with NFC tags, an audio link will be provided through visitors mobile phones. The NFC tags will allow facts about King Johns treasure to be heard. There is also a book called 'The Lost Treasure of King John' by Richard Waters who has researched the subject in depth.
Some of these crowns are being gifted back into the community at the end of the pageant - how can someone enter to win one of these beautiful crowns?
There are a few ways to enter to win one of these crowns. Ruth and Julie are running a number of workshops in the months and weeks before the Pageant, people who attend these workshops can be entered into a draw to win one of the crowns. Villagers have been invited to make their own toads to bring along to the Pageant - all toad makers will enter a draw. People can also win one during the Pageant itself by taking part in the treasure trail. All information can be found on the Swineshead Pageant Facebook page or Curiosity Creators page.
There has been a toad modelling some of your crowns! What is the link with the toad and King John?
If this was a game of Cluedo, it would be Simon the Monk, in the Abbey with a poisonous toad! If the rumours are to be believed,the poisonous skin of a toad was used to add poison into the Kings drink. Ruth made the toad and we spent a day having a photo shoot with the toad, the crowns and cake!
Where can we see these crowns before the event?
The Big Question, do you have a favourite crown?
My favourite crown is the fluorescent green crown with many points and spheres on the end. Mainly because I liked the design, plus my favourite colour is green. Though I think as a set of crowns, being many different colours and designs, they stand out as each one is completely unique.
When and where is the Pageant?
Swineshead, Boston, on the 25th and 26th June 2016.
Check out the Swineshead facebook page to find more about the workshops and commissions that are being run by Ruth from Curiosity Creators and Julie from Zoomorphia