Free workshop to help create stunning shield wall around Tamworth Castle

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019

DO you want to help defend Tamworth Castle? Take part in a fantastic shield wall project supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

An ambitious project to create a stunning shield wall around Tamworth Castle is well underway and a free workshop is being held next week for anyone who wants to take part.

Tamworth youngsters are being invited to get crafty and celebrate the town’s Anglo-Saxon heritage by decorating a shield that will then be varnished and added to hundreds more, ready to display as part of the opening of Tamworth Castle’s brand new Anglo-Saxon-themed Battle and Tribute exhibition in spring 2020.

As well as celebrating the opening of the stunning new exhibition, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and currently underway on the top floor of the castle, the shield workshop is also marking the 10-year anniversary of the discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard and Staffordshire Day.

The workshop is being coordinated by Tamworth Cultural Education Partnership with partners Tamworth Castle and Tamworth Library. It takes place at Tamworth Library, Corporation Street, on Saturday, April 27, between 10am and 2pm.

Local children have been helping to create the shied wall.

Local children have been helping to create the shied wall.

There will be a number of shield-making workshops taking place across the county as part of the Staffordshire Day festivities from April 27 to May 5, which aim to celebrate everything that is great about Staffordshire.

The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever discovered. It consists of over 3,500 items which were most likely deposited in the 7thcentury. The hoard lay undiscovered in a field near Hammerwich until the summer of 2009.

Tamworth Castle is one of a select few locations chosen to display pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard, and while they are not currently on display due to the development of the new gallery, the castle will be getting even more pieces to showcase as part of the stunning new ‘Battle and Tribute’ exhibition.

The interactive family-friendly gallery will be devoted entirely to the town’s rich Anglo-Saxon heritage and will include a high-quality battle film experience, a touch-table strategy game and a mead hall.

The project represents an investment of more than £750,000 into Tamworth Castle, including a £499,900 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

A special event is being planned to mark the opening of the new exhibition next year and this will include the display of the shield wall made by visitors to the castle, local schools and Tamworth residents.

More than 230 shields have already been created by children visiting the castle in recent months, but it is estimated that twice that amount will be needed to make it a really stunning display.

Local children have been helping to create the shied wall.

To get involved, people of all ages are invited to drop into the workshop on April 27 where foam-board shields will be provided along with paint and supplies to decorate them with. Further shield-making opportunities will be announced in the coming months too.

Linda Baker, Education and Events officer at Tamworth Castle, said: “The themes of battle, kingship and warrior culture in Anglo-Saxon Mercia will be central to the new exhibition, so we thought the shield wall project would be a great way to bring that to life as part of the opening celebrations.

“The response so far has been great and children have really enjoyed making them, but we need more if we are to create a really stunning spectacle. When we were invited by the Tamworth Cultural Education Partnership to support next Saturday’s event, we saw it as a great opportunity to take our project out into the community as well as linking in with Staffordshire Hoard and Staffordshire Day celebrations across the county.

“We’d encourage families to come along and join the fun. Those who have already completed shields are really looking forward to seeing them as part of the shield wall around the outside of the castle when we open the new gallery next year.”

Tamworth Castle is open to visitors as normal apart from the top floor gallery.