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Fare Ye Well, Roger

The Tudor Farming Interpretation  Group is very sorry to announce that one of our key members, Peter McGrory, sadly passed away last week, after battling cancer.  Peter was a central figure of the Tudor Farming Group, and I cannot express how sad we all are at his loss.

Peter worked with us for many years helping develop and deliver the Tudor Farming Project which interpreted the lives of a farming family who lived at Under Whitle in the Peak District during the Tudor Period.  The project aimed to help children (and adults) understand what life was like on a Tudor farm in the Peak District and helped children to think about the sustainability of modern day lifestyles compared to that of a Tudor family.  Over the past 5 years, about 200 school children  visited this project, which won a national award for Innovative Learning Outside the Classroom.  When I say we couldn’t have done this without Peter, I mean it.  He made a real difference to the project and a real difference to the lives of all the children that came for a visit.

The project evolved  from the discovery of some Tudor documents which revealed a land dispute between the Horrobyn famly and their cousin, Roger Horrobyn, a tailor from Longnor.  These were difficult concepts to convey to primary aged children and so we interpreted them through a play (what we wrote!) and we all took on the “parts” of the Tudor family. Peter kindly offered to play the part of dastardly Roger Horrobyn, or “Dodgy Roger” – the terrible tailor who invaded the land and bribed the local Lady Blount with laces and ribbons to give him the right to the land.  He gamely took on the character of Roger, in his pink hose and gaudy clothing, enthusiastically displaying some rather effeminate manorisms and he was absolutely marvellous – the children loved his  character,  which  was the true baddy of the story!  Although he was the subject of the play, he only came on stage during the final scene when he appeared magnificently at the Chancery Court in London before Lord Audley.  It was his finest moment and he played it to full effect and truly awfully (he was after all part of the “Pathetic Players!)  to the resounding boos and hisses of the audience.

The Tudor group have worked together over many years and we honestly felt that ”Dodgy”, as we affectionately called him,  was truly part of our Tudor family.  We had huge amounts of enjoyment and laughter with our appalling acting, but  more importantly Peter helped children to understand what life was like on a Tudor farm, helping them to identify and collect vegetables in the Tudor garden, then helping them to cook potage over an open fire and then assisting with the Tudor dining experience.  This project took a huge amount of background work before we even got to delivering to school children, and Peter was involved in hours of preparation, meetings as well as delivering the school days and the open events

He was also instrumental in helping to deliver the Peeling Back the Layers Project and was unhappy that he wasn’t able to help with the survey and excavation due to his hospital treatment.  He was looking forward to coming out again to see what was happening with the final excavation this week.  It is terribly sad that Peter didn’t get to enjoy the results of all the work he contributed so much to.We will never be able to thank him now for making our project so successful and such fun, and I know the entire Tudor family will miss him as much as me.  Peter was so kind, offering to help in any way he could whenever the project needed someone.  He was a truly lovely man.

Much love Peter, Fare ye well, Roger.


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