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Swan Students Visit The Weston Library

This week, we were lucky enough to visit the Weston Library, where students participated in a carousel of activities on Anglo-Saxon literature.
We were shown some priceless medieval manuscripts, some of them over 1000 years old, by the curators. They talked us through how the books were written and illustrated (counter-intuitively the words come first and the illustrations or illuminations come second) and showed us some exquisite books written in Latin and Anglo-Saxon or Old English. In the second session students had a go at working out some intriguing riddles before being allowed to handle the materials used to make medieval books, including the parchment (made from animal skins), quills (made from feathers) and even the oak galls (marble-sized balls of bark made when oak trees react to wasps and their larva) used to make iron gall ink. We were also shown some examples of the effects of book worms (who tunnel through paper), which explained why the team are so vigilant about banning food and drink in the library. In the final session, we were treated to a thrilling mini university style seminar on Old English and Beowulf, delivered by Dr Stewart Brookes, a research fellow at Oxford University. Students were quite star struck and loved his very theatrical delivery!
This trip runs again this Wednesday for the remaining half of the year group.  Thank you so much to Mrs Hinze and Mr Davis for organising such a wonderful opportunity.