Heritage Week

Celebrating Our Local Heritage: St. Mary's School's Heritage Week

As the autumn leaves (and rain) began to fall, there was a palpable sense of excitement at St. Mary's School, all thanks to the remarkable Heritage Schools initiative from Historic England in collaboration with Surrey Heritage and Surrey Museums Partnership. The driving force behind this endeavour was to instil a deep sense of pride in our local heritage among the children while allowing them to understand its significance in the broader national narrative and create stronger community bonds.

For St. Mary's School, this initiative meant embarking on an adventure that would not only educate the students but also bring the entire community together. The heart of this venture was the Chiddingfold local walk, a week-long program that catered to students of all ages and skill levels. The activities were designed to match the abilities of the children, and they encompassed a wide range of skills, from map reading and history to computing, literacy, and art.

Students practised reading Chiddingfold maps (some as old as 1880) and planned a walk, fostering their map-reading and navigation abilities. They explored important buildings and places in Chiddingfold, the Village archives, the Crown, Ramster Hall and Gardens, Jack Salway’s magical garden, Pied Piper Theatre, Cordelia’s artistic cottage and St Mary’s Church, which allowed students to delve into the village's rich history.

The children honed their digital skills by creating photos and videos to document their journey. They were inspired to write a poem to express their feelings about the village. They engaged in artistic endeavours, such as mark making, sketching, painting, and creating collages inspired by the village's beauty.

One of the most significant aspects of the Heritage Week was the opportunity for students to meet and learn from the village's own community members. Listening to their stories, understanding their life experiences, and seeing their work in Chiddingfold instilled a deep admiration for the village and its history. A magnificent display showcasing different facets of the village was created, reflecting the hard work and dedication of the students. The success of Heritage Week would not have been possible without the support of numerous individuals and groups, including volunteers, the Chiddingfold Lunch Club, parents, grandparents, and neighbours. Their involvement was instrumental in bridging the gap between the village and the school children, reinforcing the idea that community spirit is the backbone of any local heritage initiative. The valuable contributions of our local artist, John Worth, played a pivotal role throughout the week, and the video he created using the Chiddingfold walk memories footage was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Heritage Week at St. Mary's School evolved into a commemoration of community, culture, and historical heritage. It left an enduring impression on students, teachers, and the community at large, emphasising the significance of preserving and treasuring our local legacy. We hope the heritage of Chiddingfold endures within the hearts and minds of its young inhabitants.

Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the wonderful individuals who contributed to the realisation of this project, offering their time and resources to make this week truly exceptional. Special thanks to Louise Cartledge, Su McKie, Phil Darley, Jack Salway, Beverley Draper, Rosie Glaister, Hannah Hall, Tina Williams, Iona and Chris Everett, Christine Tebbot, Ruth Goddard, Gill Beckwith, Jane Bell, Mark Harrison from King Edward’s school, Cordelia Hampton John, and John Worth. This project simply would not have come to life without your generous support and participation.

Agnieszka Ryder

Y3 Class Teacher and History Subject Lead

The video representing our Heritage Week was skillfully produced by the talented local artist John Worth, with support from Cordelia Hampton-John. We deeply appreciate the dedication and hard work that went into creating this wonderful, enduring commemoration of our Heritage Week.