Halloween Candleholders, October 2023
At this special halloween event we made clay candleholders designed to protect our homes from evil spirits lingering in the darkness. We learnt all about protective markings thought to stop evil spirits who were believed by the Tudors and Stuarts to bring bad dreams.
Garden Produce Preserving Workshop, September 2023
In our second preserving workshop of the season participants tried and tasted some old recipes that cross the medicine and food divide. We made a variety of infusions, conserves, and fruit-based sweet treats that the Tudors and Stuarts believed would help them to sleep.
Preserve Making Workshop, September 2023
Back at Ordsall Hall, in this adult workshop we learnt how early modern people regulated their humours across the year by exploring techniques for preserving sleepy ingredients for autumn and winter.
Sleepy Foods from Ordsall Hall, September 2023
To celebrate our first year of programmed events we joined forces with the Manchester Medieval Festival – a family friendly festival in Manchester’s medieval quarter. Anna Fielding and Jo Green gave people a taste of what we’ve been up to so far in this interactive workshop at Stoller Hall. Visitors learnt how to crystallise roses and make quince paste using Ordsall’s garden produce.
Back to School Bedchambers, 30th August 2023
To round off our programme of summer holiday events we focused on starting the new school year with a good night’s sleep! We learnt how the Tudors used scent and cleaned their bedchambers using herbs.
Summer Cooling Drinks for Sleep, August 2023
Using produce from the garden we recreated early modern recipes and made our own cooling drinks, like this barley water, to
discover what early modern people did to keep cool and aid sleep in the summer.
Tudor Outdoor Fun and Sleep, August 2023
At this event we tried our hand at a range of Tudor activities, such as nine men’s morris, in the garden at Ordsall Hall and in doing so discovered how time spent outside can help us sleep!
Flax and Lavender Stuffed Pillows, August 2023
At this workshop we made Tudor sleep pillows stuffed with sleepy herbs and flax seed that can be can be warmed in the microwave or cooled in the freezer.
Sleepy Crops: Grains and Bread for Sleep, August 2023
Bread for sleep, then and now. At this event we made our own bread from historic recipes using cereal crops including wheat, oats, barley, and flax. Download our whey bread recipe on our resources page!
Corn Dolly Weaving with Sleepy Herbs, July 2023
To celebrate the wheat harvest we made corn dollies with sleepy herbs to protect against evil and keep us safe at night.
Mattress Stuffing, June 2023
Our visitors helped make the Ordsall servant’s mattress for the attic by trialling different mattress fillings in mini-mattresses. We included herbs to kill bed bugs!
Sleep Remedies, May 2023
We explored medicinal recipes which cooled the body to help sleep in the hot summer months – including chamomile and rose sleep waters and washes, plus lettuce, vinegar and other cooling ingredients.
Sleepy Garden Planters, May 2023
Visitors helped us harvest our garden produce and got to plant crops of their own.
Posset Making: Sleep and Dairy Drinks, May 2023
We made rose-flavoured posset drinks with milk, cream, eggs, and fruit juice.
Seed Bombs, April 2023
Participants got the chance to take some of Ordsall’s sleep garden home by making sleepy seed bombs – ‘bombs’ made of rolled up balls of soil, flour, water, and sleepy plant seeds.
Sleep Remedies, April 2023
Visitors helped us decide on the best early modern sleep remedies by using lettuce, rosewater, fennel seeds, milk, poppy seeds to make sleepy poultices and plasters
Sleep Garden Collages, March 2023
In this session we explored the importance of gardens and outdoor space for the management of sleep and domestic environments. A variety of media including linoprints, illustrations from early modern herbals (botanical medicine guides), coloured papers, and pens allowed us to map out key areas to provide soporific plants and crops, quiet places for peace and meditation, and spaces for exercise and fresh air. Elements of these gardens were later used by head gardener, Jo Green, in her designs for the Ordsall sleep gardens.
Candle Making, February 2023
Two sessions, one for adults and another for families, provided an opportunity to make candles and consider the role lighting plays in sleep. Timed around Candlemas, the traditional festival which marked the return of the light after the cold, dark winter, we reflected on the kinds of lighting we use today and the historical options available to a family like the Radcliffes of Ordsall. Adults made poured wax candles with sleepy essential oils like rose and sandalwood. Families made rolled beeswax candles which would provide a clean and clear light compared to lower status tallow or animal fat candles and rushlights.
Sleep Remedies, February 2023
Using 16th and 17th century medicinal recipes, we recreated sleep remedies involving soporific ingredients such as fennel, rose, and lettuce. During the session we discussed how each of these ingredients were believed to work in the period, based on ideas of temperature, personal temperaments, scent, and naturally occurring botanical properties that still work today. Try out our lettuce poultice amongst our other Ordsall sleep recipes on our resources page.
Halloween Hagstones, November 2022
To celebrate Halloween the Sleeping Well team gave a special talk on how former residents of Ordsall Hall would protect themselves from evil spirits.