We are pleased to announce that we have another exciting suitcase to add to our collection for the ‘Landmark Travels; Our Past in a Suitcase’ project. As well as suitcases celebrating the landmarks of Treffry Viaduct and Carn Euny, we now have one linked to Dupath Well near Callington.
Mrs Rowe and her children of Warleggan class at Pensilva Primary School were our hosts for the unveiling of this new resource a couple of weeks ago. Initial discussions about the different types of holy wells that exist around the world and how people use them fascinated the children and prompted a ‘what’s your favourite Well’ chat.
As always we used a story to introduce the landmark. Dupath Well has an ancient legend attached to it with all the ingredients of the classic fairy tale… a fair maiden, two suitors, an overbearing father and a duel to the death! We unpicked some of the tricky language of the legend with the children and talked about how they
could introduce some of the characteristics of the traditional fairy tale into their own story. Children then worked in groups to build up their own versions of the legend, including some creative additions like a magic carrier pigeon, a fierce dragon and a magical sword.
The afternoon session saw us creating simple stick puppets which became the characters of their legends. We had great fun choosing faces for them and rooting around in mounds of exciting decorative papers and fabric for just the right piece for a dress or a hat or a cloak.
Puppets made, and legends mapped out… the children then had the task of creating a final scripted story (great for literacy skills) and practicing performing this with their puppets for the next time we saw them at Dupath Well.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day for our day-long adventure to the Well. The sky was a clear blue and the sun shone down with the strength of a summer’s day. The children were very excited to be at the Well and we spent some time exploring and using all our senses to really tune into the place. Then their puppets really came into their own as the children had to ask them a question from a series of three. Some wanted to know; ‘have you heard of anything magical happening at Dupath Well?’ others, ‘tell me something surprising about yourself’. These exchanges were
written on large speech bubbles and captured through photographs which will now sit on the grass in the bottom of the special suitcase to travel to the next school.
When we had been looking at how and why people used holy wells, we touched upon the items that they left there. This led us onto our next activity where we made very special votives from clay and natural materials. These each contained a ‘thank you’ token and would later be placed around the Well and their candles lit. The children showed great reverence and took great care when making their personal votives and were very excited to be leaving them behind for others to see. They made a stunning display when lit at the end.
In the afternoon, the time came to watch the children perform their legends. Each group would use the doorway of the Well as a stage and their puppets would act out their story, which was read out by a chosen narrator. We had a full audience of attentive classmates and intrigued parents and grandparents, to watch some often hilarious, sometimes gruesome and always colourful scenes from the legend of Dupath Well.
To round off a very full and exhilarating day the farmer, who is also the custodian of the Well, invited the class to see the new-born lambs. A very memorable moment indeed!
We will also be making a film of the whole experience, which will travel on to other schools in the suitcase, so watch this space!
A big thank you to Kristy Rowe for doing such a great job and being so supportive and to Peter and Jenny Coombe for being so welcoming and letting us cuddle your lambs!