A House in History

by admin on 12 September 2016

Some houses last a couple of hundred years and some leave some history behind.

I was privileged to write about and perform in a house that has an amazing history.

Adgors Farmhouse at the Museum of East Anglia Life in Stowmarket has been lived in continually since around 1350





It was built according to record by one John Adgor.

He also appears briefly in Edward III court rolls being elevated from serf to freeman and being granted a lease on a very well to do farm. He subsequently built the farmhouse probably within 6 months of this elevation. There, he and his family survived the Black Death.

The written history leaves some very interesting questions and the basis for a wonderful story.

Why did his local Baron grant him not only his freedom, but the lease on such a large farm on such easy terms?

How did Adgor, until 6 months before a slave working for his food, find enough money to build such a fine house so quickly?

Some more research on the Baron and his activities in the company of Edward III gives a possible clue.

The resulting story sets the scene in Combs, Cambridgeshire with Adgor growing up as a serf; links him to the opening battles of the Hundred Years War; his return as a man rich with war ‘booty’; his freedom at a hearing of the manorial court; the building of his farmhouse; the difficulties of running the farm as a freeman and employing his former friend serfs; the effect of the Black Death on the area; his life in his wonderful farmhouse.

The research was interesting and fun.

Building the storylines and characters around the research was a challenge.

The reception of the story by the audiences was gratifying.

What was a challenge was to, as the performance happened, have to adjust the content to the audience of the moment. One audience may be a full audience of interested adults, the next a group of primary school children.

The amazing part of it all was to perform this in the actual house Adgor built, touching the octagonal columns he specified to his carpenter, living his life for just a moment.

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