Henry VIII & his Wives School Visits

Our Tudor school visit offers an outstanding opportunity for historical enquiry through artefacts.  Henry VIII and his Wives (not to forget his jester!) is a very special day in school, packed with learning.  Designed so that pupils get the opportunity to meet King Henry VIII, it is also very hands-on with lots of short and stimulating workshops.

 In our local area, both of us spend the day in school and can work with several classes at no extra cost.  Greg begins the day as King Henry and will usually change into Henry’s Court Jester, Will Sommers, whilst Lisa becomes each of the six wives in turn.  Further afield, the day can easily be adapted for one Specialist to deliver an outstanding Tudor day in school, single-handed.

The royal visitors will lead a series of half hour sessions on a given aspect of Henry’s life or Tudor life in general and, depending on numbers, some of the sessions can be teacher-led to accommodate several classes separately.

Coming face to face really enables a very exciting and direct form of learning, as children interrogate these fascinating characters from history.  Key learning objectives on each wife and other aspects of Henry’s life are always included.

The typical structure for the day is as follows:

Feasting Session


Catherine of Aragon introduces Good King Hal and herself.  Children are dressed in Tudor clothing and work as servants for Henry, laying his table for a fine feast as he introduces the day.  Anne Boleyn usually enters part way through this first session and causes a stir!

Where does the King want his pizzle pot to be placed?!



Henry or Jane Seymour display a replica ink well and pounce pot and these are passed around for young scholars to handle, along with an authentically reproduced copy of Gilbertus Angelicus (complete with urine chart and other illuminations!).

A replica horn book is handled, illuminated letters are discussed and children set about copying out the Lord’s Prayer using a class set of goose feather quill pens and ink.

Tudor Health

Health & Medicine

Catherine Howard explains the basic (and ancient) concept of the four humours, on which Tudor medicine was based.  Children are asked to chop and grind ingredients in pestle and mortars to make typical and authentic Tudor remedies.  Some of the remedies would actually work for various reasons and these are explored … but Catherine fully expects that raisins, lettuce and petals, ground up and mixed together will cure bubonic plague – so feel free to comment, tutors!


Children are taught various Tudor Dances by King Henry or Anne of Cleves, discussing different types and why rich and poor people dance them.  This session works well in a hall and children learn a courtly Pavan; the follow-my-leader-style Farandol and a peasant’s Branle.  (If either Royal personage catches the other dancing a branle, much hilarity ensues!)

Pastimes, Toys & Games

Pastimes, Toys & Games

Court Jester, Will Sommers discusses Henry’s failing health and laments his ill humour.  He shows the children some juggling and regrets that the King no longer finds it diverting.  Breughel’s Children’s Games is displayed and games are identified and explained for children to play.  An outstanding collection of replica toys is available for children to enjoy.

Crime & Punishment

Crime & Punishment

Depending on numbers, this session can be teacher-led.  A short playlet, exploring the fate of Anne Boleyn can be shared for group reading and/or children engage in matching activities looking at individual Tudor “crimes” and how they were likely to be punished.  Optionally, classes can re-enact scenes in groups as role play activities, linking to PSHE.

Tudor Rose Badge Making

Whilst the heraldry of the houses of York and Lancaster are discussed, a Yorkist livery badge of the Rose En Soleil and a Tudor Rose shield can be passed around.  Children then craft their own Tudor Rose Badge, with paper or card, pens or pencils to be provided in school, please.  (We provide safety pins but will doubtless be bamboozled by any mention of sticky tape!)


 In schools where teachers have already included Tudor Roses in their planning, we can offer a session on Heraldry as an alternative.  Children explore the meanings of different ordinaries, colours and heraldic symbols and design their own coat of arms.



We usually end the day with groups back together in the hall for storytelling and/or a Mummers’ Play of the Battle of Bosworth which underlines some of the learning from the day in a lighthearted fashion as confident children are asked to get involved in telling the tale.

We work fully in role as King Henry and his wives. This means that we use our subject knowledge to respond to questions and talk as they would do. To achieve this we use a medieval-flavoured pattern of speech to lend a realistic feel to our words whilst remaining clear enough for children to understand. The overall experience for children is then an immersive one where they feel they have truly met Henry and gained a picture of his life. The sessions are interactive and involve all of the children.


The costs quoted below cover the service which can be delivered by one or two Specialists, dependent on your area and other factors (please see our Terms and Conditions).  Full days can be booked up to one hour’s drive from our base.  Reduced full days, half days and bookings where both Specialists are required can take place in schools up to forty minutes drive from our base.

Full Day – (One Specialist, 9am-3pm)

The full day rate is £275.00 from Autumn 2019 plus mileage (55p per mile round trip from CV13 0DZ)

Reduced Full Day – (One Specialist, 10am-3pm)

The reduced full day rate is £225.00 from Autumn 2019 plus mileage (55p per mile round trip from CV13 0DZ)

Full Day – Double Rate (Two Specialists)

The full day rate for two Specialists is £325.00 from Autumn 2019 plus mileage (£1.10 per mile round trip from CV13 0DZ)

Half day

Half days can incorporate some of the above sessions. The cost for ½ day is £180.00 from Autumn 2019 (55p per mile round trip from CV13 0DZ)

These rates are complete and there are no hidden costs.  The day is fully risk assessed and this can be emailed upon request.  Confirmation of booking is taken as a contract between the school and The Specialists and acceptance of our T & C’s.

Greg and Lisa McCarthy have many years of experience working with children. Greg is a teacher and Lisa a former Occupational Therapist in learning disabilities. Both have DBS and public liability insurance.

Tudor school visits for education.  We provide a living history and reenactment service as historical interpreters focusing on Henry VIII and his wives.  Our Tudor sessions use dance, writing using quill pens and artefacts such as toys and games, badges and feasting objects for the Tudor table etc. to bring the excitement of real history to your classroom.

Some of the locations we travel to for our Tudor workshops are:

East-Midlands, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Leamington, Leicester, Hinckley, Nottingham, Coventry, Birmingham, Tamworth, Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Ilkeston, Swadlincote, Nottinghamshire, Derby, Mansfield, Worksop, Newark, Loughborough, Melton Mowbray, Coalville, Lutterworth, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Nuneaton,  Solihull, Warwick, Rugby, West Midlands.