Bullace Hill Living History
17th - 21st June 2024


"Good morning and welcome to the dye house. I use a plant called woad, mixed with stale urine to dye cloth blue. It is quite a smelly process, but as you can see it makes a lovely sky blue. It is very important that no air gets added to the vat until you take the fabric out, because the oxygen is the final ingredient to make it blue."

"Good day to you. This steaming mound here is our charcoal heap, where wood is slowly cooked to produce charcoal, most of which will go for smelting iron in the Forest of Dean, but some will end up being used for domestic purposes here on the hill. Our charcoal heap requires constant tending, so while it burns we must stay in the woods day and night."

The charcoal burners

the bread house

"Good day. Welcome to the well-house. I work to provide both hot and cold water for the farm; drawing water from the well and heating it in the copper. I also prepare and bake bread to feed the labourers. This means lighting and tending the fire to heat the oven, preparing the dough and baking the loaves. If the bread is burnt or has pieces of charcoal in them I will be very unpopular!"

saltpetre man

The saltpetre man makes saltpetre for gunpowder to sell on. He is a roaming merchant and is required to go where the work is.

hay maker

The hay maker needs to work when the weather is fine or his crop will be spoiled and the animals will not have enough to eat. First he has to cut the hay by hand and then turn it while it drys before brining it in to store  for winter feed.

the whitehouse

"Welcome to the white house. This is where I prepare the white meats for the farm, the butter and cheese. My day starts very early when I go up to the common to milk the cows. Back at the farm I leave the milk to stand to let the cream rise to the surface, then start the process of churning the cream for butter and making cheese with the milk."

All of these characters are examples of what is on offer and not guaranteed to be at each living history.

the spinners

"Welcome to our home. We need to look after the house and garden to provide our daily food. But that can not provide all our things, so we need to earn some money. My husband is away working for Mr Morris as a labourer and at this time of year I am  busy with the wool."

  • Spinners
  • saltpetre man
  • dyers
  • shepherds
  • hay maker
  • garden
  • kitchen
  • dairy makers
  • bread makers
  • carpenters
  • charcoal burners
  • potter

the hall

"Good day and welcome to the Hall of the house. This is where most of the food for everyone that works on the farm is prepared. Everything has to be cooked over the fire in cauldrons or roasted next to it on a spit. We also spend a lot of time preserving food especially meat so it lasts for more than a few days! Things are very seasonal on the farm so we have to find ways to make things last as long as we can."

the carpenter

"Good morning, and welcome to the Carpenters. We have been employed by Master Morris to build or repair gates, doors and furniture around the farm buildings. Trees have many different purposes: oak is strong and used in building, ash and beech can be steamed and bent to be used in furniture and tools. Elm does not rot when wet and is used for coffins and pumps. We select and fell trees and then prepare timbers and planks for the task in hand."

The trapsman

"While tending to our charcoal heap we'll use some of our time for trapping and hunting, both for the pot and to earn a little extra. Using traps we'll catch small animals and birds, and with our bows and dogs we'll catch larger prey and help Master Morris keep down the pests like foxes. Obviously, we don't hunt game like rabbit and deer, because that would be illegal..."

The People

RObert morris

"Welcome to the hill. I am a husbandman. I rent the small farm which I work with my wife and servants and employ local labourers and their wives in harvest time. We farm cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry as well as grain and hay, orchard fruit and garden crops. Life is fixed by the cycle of the seasons and much of the work changes every month. Come and meet some of the labourers that are here abouts."


"Good day! I care for my family’s flock of sheep all year round; helping with lambing, tending to illness and moving them from pasture to pasture. I must keep the sheep healthy and safe to ensure that each year we have a good yield of wool. My family sells the fleeces to the visiting wool merchant. If he buys our wool we hope for a good price, but if we cannot sell our fleeces, life will be tough."


"I am Goodwife Morris, my husband is the Tenant Farmer of the land you are visiting today. I am responsible for the farmhouse, yards and gardens and all that goes on in them. I have the help of a servant who I have to teach. There is a lot to learn to be the wife of a farmer, cooking, dairying, laundry, linen sewing, looking after the chickens, ducks, pigs and bees and how to garden for foods and medicines."