National Heritage Festival
Heritage Open Days is England's biggest heritage festival involving 40,000 volunteers. It celebrates fantastic history, architecture and culture; offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – all of which are free to explore. Every year, on four days in September, the bunting is unfurled and buildings of every age, style and function throw open their doors. It is a once-a-year chance to discover the often hidden or forgotten gems and enjoy a wide range of tours, events and activities that bring local history and culture to life. The School was delighted to participate for the first time this year and open its historic buildings and gardens to the public.
Visitors were impressed with the Schools rich history dating back to its foundation by Viscount Weymouth of Longleat in 1707. Amongst the many historic buildings on the tour, the visitors were particularly impressed with the Fives Court which is one of the oldest in the world dating back to c.1780. Fives is a form of racquet sport and was particularly popular with the public schools of the time. Also of interest was Bishop Ken’s chair reputedly sat on by King Charles II in 1663 on his visit to Longleat. The chair now resides in the Headmaster’s office. Many thanks to Graeme McQueen, Head of Development and Alumni Relations for hosting our visitors and School Archivist Mike Porteous for such a fascinating talk and tour.