Most countries have a national day, celebrating the founding of the nation. Unfortunately our nearest equivalent (St George’s day) suffers from the fact that little is known of St George, although we do know he wasn’t English and the dragon story isn’t true.
What’s more, it is curious that the oldest dates most people remember from English history are dates when the country was invaded – 55BC and 1066 – rather than dates which commemorate our coming together as one nation.
But next January will be the moment in which we can celebrate 1000 years of England, as the country became united under one ruler: the start of the long journey ultimately to the United Kingdom and what we now call “British Values”.
For 7 January 1018 was the date on which King Knut consolidated his power across the whole country, and England was effectively born.
And so to celebrate this date we have developed a programme that sensitively highlights the issues of today by exploring them through stories within the context of the very beginning of England, 1,000 years ago.
Through the stories we tell, children can invest their imagination in creating the story world with their mind’s eye.
And since it is quite possible that most children’s parents don’t know about the creation of England in 1018, the power of the story will be ever greater. For children love nothing more than educating their parents!
Storytellers from Snail Tales are travelling the country sharing the legends of the Anglo-Viking period, from Alfred’s burnt cakes to Knut’s wet feet – tales which reveal how England was forged by the great Anglo-Saxon and Viking leaders.
The storytellers will also run workshops on life in Anglo-Viking England to help your children understand how Knut united the various tribes that made up the country.
We’ll also supply an activities pack marking England’s 1,000th, including: recommended music; Who Made England? book from The History Press; a special commemorative coin from the Royal Mint; and a special discount on tickets to your nearest performance of our theatre tour celebrating Knut, The First King of England in a Dress.
If you would like one of our storytellers to come to your school to engage in the activities above, please do click here to find out more. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 020 328 76245.