Written by Olivia Connon, Charlotte Woodbury-Smith, Emily Harrison, Eve Peacock and Laila Ahmad
On 4th June, Year 4 embarked on an overnight trip to York. It was really fun and we have so many memories and facts to take from the experience.
The first place we visited was Murton Park. The inviting sign for Murton Park gleamed in the sunlight. A Viking lady named Astrid greeted us with “God dag!” which is a Norse greeting meaning ‘Good day’. She took us indoors to start our learning day.
Astrid taught us about the different types of Vikings jobs which included sailors, raiders, traders, settlers, farmers and craftsmen. We also learnt about the clothes Vikings would have worn. After that, we dressed up as Viking settlers and were put into families with a Mother and a Father.
Now dressed as Vikings, we walked to the Viking village. We assembled outside the Jarl’s (meaning Lord) longhouse, and met Emma and Vigdis who were both Viking villagers. The sights were amazing; there were thatched roofs as far as you could see. The ‘Jarl’ suddenly burst out of the hall and started to tell our group about his longboat.
As the longboat came in to sight we all gasped as it was magnificent! It was very well preserved but the thing that interested us most was that real Vikings would have sat in the boat! We discussed Viking food and were shocked to hear they didn’t have access to tomatoes and potatoes.
Next, we were sent to work in the fields. We discovered that the Viking children would break up the soil with a hoe so we all gave it a go. It was hard work but very fun. Following that, our family was taken to our small house, made out of wood, mud and poo! One of the Vikings told us about our house; it didn’t have any lights, instead it had a fire and candles. Therefore, our first activity was pottery so we could make candle holders. A candle made from animal fat would rest in the cup and the wax would collect in the dish.
“Ding…Ding…”. It was the slow bell calling a meeting. We all walked back to the banqueting hall as the Lord had invited all of us to a feast (otherwise known as lunch). The Mothers and Fathers and the ‘Jarl’ sat at the top table and everyone else sat on the long tables. Before we ate, the ‘Jarl’ needed some girls to attend to him. One girl had to carry a bowl of water and someone else had to carry a towel. Can you guess what job the girls had to do? Yes that’s right, they had to wash the Lord’s hands!
Then a third servant had to carry a wooden dish full of chunks of salt for the Jarl to flavour his meal. Half way through lunch the Lord asked for some entertainment. We had dancers, jokers and people who presented riddles. After the performances, the Lord ordered a slave (Mrs Spraggon) to be placed in the stocks and the Lord asked her if she felt motivated to work harder.
Mrs Spraggon said ‘no’ so Emma came up behind her with
a jug of water and 3,2,1, Emma, the Viking villager, tipped the water over Mrs Spraggon’s head! The banquet hall filled with noise as we laughed energetically.
After finishing our feast we walked back to the Viking village where we helped to collect firewood and had the opportunity to make bread which we all thoroughly enjoyed.
The first step in making bread is getting wheat and grinding it until it becomes flour. After that, we took the flour and added water to it and kneaded the mixture until it become a dough. The final step was putting it beside the fire to bake. Once it had risen, we removed it from the stones surrounding the fire and it was ready to eat.
Our third and final activity of the afternoon was to train to be warriors. Our family taught us the key points to fighting and we had a few practice fights. We learned different moves and used shields and spears. We also made shield walls in two lines. Our favourite part was being put on lookout duty and the Lord instructed us that if an Anglo-Saxon came we were to say ‘Go away you smelly Saxon!’ and ring the bell fast to signal an emergency.
Everyone thought we were just wasting time as an
Anglo-Saxon would never turn up, surely. Little did we know, a few moments later we were to spot an Anglo-Saxon lurking around the corner. Freya noticed and immediately shouted to ring the bell. We all ran back into our positions as he had entered through the gate. By this time all the other groups were watching us as we prepared to charge. “GO AWAY YOU SMELLY SAXON!” we cried.
We scared him away and, stupidly, he had left his weapons. As we arrived at the meeting point everyone, including the Villagers, were roaring and cheering for us.
After Murton Park, we went to a place called Jorvik which is a specialist Viking centre. On arriving, we immediately met with a Viking who told us about the road we were on and that it was a trading space with lots of goods and slaves to trade. It was a very ‘rich’ area.
After we had been outside, the Viking told us to take a deep breath as inside the museum it was smelly. And it was indeed, as smelly as rotten cabbage!
We were told we would eventually go on a ride to experience what it was like in the Viking age but before this we were able to look at the archeological remains of a Blacksmith’s hut. It was on the floor, under a thick layer of glass. It was only the bottom layer of the hut but we even saw the remains of a toilet.
Next, onto the ride! It was a bit scary as it was quite dark but we were given a lantern to hold. Once on the ride, we all enjoyed it. We were taken around a Viking settlement which featured realistic Viking robots to show us what they looked like. We could even smell the scents of the different areas of the Village. It didn’t smell good!
After the ride, we went into the museum. We saw a skeleton of a lady with a leg problem; one leg was in perfect condition, whilst the other leg was too thin. We had just seen her in the settlement on the ride and she carried crutches made out of bone.
Shortly after, we went to an area where a Viking was standing behind a table. He showed us some artefacts that they had found which included a comb made out of antler and an ice skate made out of a horse’s shin bone that had been found down the toilet. We found that part rather disgusting.
Once we had studied the artefacts, we went to see a coin maker to witness how Vikings made coins. First, you get a stamp that is stuck in a log of oak wood. Then, you place a piece of metal on top of it. After that, you get another stamp and hit the back of the stamp with the hammer. The resulting piece of metal is now worth 16 chickens (true in Viking times but sadly not true now)!
On the second day in York we visited the Yorkshire Museum where we learnt more about dinosaurs, Medieval times, Romans and the Tudors. First we went into the Jurassic exhibition where there were six trays full of tiny shreds of rubber. We started to feel around and we discovered we had to slowly move the rubber to one side to find the dinosaur fossils inside, just like Mary Anning; fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist of the 18th century. Next we were ushered into a grand hall to try on Tudor clothes. There were fighting costumes and also long, frilly dresses with hula hoops attached to make the skirts stick out which were a particular favourite.
We then completed a workshop with a ‘Viking’ called Bjorn. We passed round many artefacts that people had discovered in York. There was a Viking ‘fidget-spinner’ called a buzz burner; a leather shoe that was in one piece (there are only twenty left in the whole world), a comb made from horse bone and a treasure chest key.
We then made belts and buckles. Some girls used a troll symbol to represent these mythical creatures which Vikings actually believed in.
The Vikings also played a game called Trip,Trap,Troll which is where the game Tic Tac Toe originated from. Also, did you know that Father Christmas came from a festival in the Viking times called Yule? A mysterious man came and delivered presents just like Father Christmas.
Finally, it was time to go home after two days of fun. The trip has now officially replaced Jarrow Hall as the best school trip we have ever been on!