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Private Independent Day School for Boys 3 - 13 & Girls 3 - 7, Flexi-Boarding for Boys 8 - 13

Roman Day at CCCS - 3rd May 2024

I have even more admiration for the Romans now having attended our Romans Day in the William Walton Hall this afternoon.

We were visited by The History Man, who arrived with all things Roman - maps, games, writing implements and weapons. I learnt afterwards that everything he brought, he had made himself – as he put it, “Roman armour is not in general demand these days.” There were beautiful games, some made from wood and others from bones; there were wax tablets as well as some gladiatorial equipment, including beautifully engraved helmets. The skill and care which had gone into their manufacture was extraordinary. Among the many things that struck us all was the weight of some of the equipment – the metal helmets would have been very heavy to wear, particularly for lengthy periods of time, and many of the swords and axes very heavy to wield. Roman soldiers and gladiators must have been very strong. The boys were in seventh heaven and the enthusiasm with which they carried out all the activities available was a joy to witness. This was kinaesthetic learning at its best.

Last weekend, I went with the Pembroke Choristers on their visit to sing in Tewkesbury Abbey in Gloucestershire. This magnificent church, the second largest parish church in the country and arguably the most magnificent, is merely the parish church for a certain area of Tewkesbury, yet it is very significantly larger than Christ Church Cathedral, which is the cathedral church of England’s largest diocese. We guessed that it was about eight times the size of Pembroke Chapel, the building in which the choristers usually sing, but the choristers filled the Abbey with sound in the most spectacular way. It was a great success and it was good to see so many parents and staff attending on a Saturday afternoon. We went on a quick tour of the building; the boys particularly enjoyed a tomb which had the figure of an emaciated looking man being consumed by a snake and a mouse. We saw the door of the sacristy which had, hammered onto it, bits of mediaeval armour which had been collected from the field of the battle of Tewkesbury. We saw the breath-taking ceiling of the Quire studded with suns, the symbol of the House of York, the Royal house which was victorious at the battle of Tewkesbury, and which wished to leave its glorious mark upon this magnificent building. I would like to commend the boys on their splendid singing and upon the interest they took in everything they were shown.

I was delighted to be able to watch some Cricket matches on Merton Field on Wednesday. Our boys had not had much time to practise and yet they played with real commitment and enthusiasm. I enjoyed watching us clinch a narrow victory over MCS, winning by 5 runs - having bowled all their batsmen out. Our boys were ecstatic. Mr Harrison and his team have manged to engender a real enthusiasm about Cricket, which is very heartening to see, particularly given the imminent arrival of the Pavilion, which will allow us to host Cricket in the future. I am always interested to see how interested tourists are, while walking through the Meadow, when our boys play Cricket. A match on Merton Field inevitably attracts large crowds of onlookers in the way that Rugby and Football do not. I suspect it’s a quintessentially English sight!

On Monday, I attended, and indeed performed in, the double reeds concert. We were joined by some outstanding senior players from Wells Cathedral School and the Purcell School of Music, who bewitched us with their playing. At the end, all three schools performed a piece together. The piece had been written for a group of double reed players of widely differing levels, having parts both for complete beginners and very accomplished musicians. I was handed a Bassoon reed and had to blow it, spelling out the word bassoon in Morse Code. It was exhilarating to take part in an orchestral piece, my fist time ever doing so, having only played the piano (badly) in my youth.

This week, the whole of Pre-Prep visited the Botanical Gardens on the other side of Christ Church Meadow. The children came back telling stories of poisonous trees and carnivorous plants. They even saw bananas growing on a tree. So enthusiastic were they all, that I have determined to go again very soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the poisonous tree - so I know how to avoid coming to harm when out and about!

I warned the boys not to come into school on Monday – they will find no one here, as it is Bank Holiday. I hope that you all have a wonderful long weekend and I very much hope that we see at least a glimmer of sun.

Mr Murray