Staffordshire’s Tamworth Castle will reopen to the public in May with the launch of a new state-of-the-art, interactive gallery celebrating the town’s Anglo-Saxon history – including a forgotten ‘warrior queen’.
Once the ancient seat of Mercian Kings, Tamworth Castle’s story will be brought to life like never before as part of ‘Battle and Tribute’, offering visitors an interactive and family friendly way of exploring the town’s rich heritage.
Re-opening 18 May, subject to national restrictions easing as planned, the Castle’s top floor has been transformed into the new exhibition, which includes a mead hall, an immersive combat film experience and a unique touch-table strategy game.
It will also display even more pieces of the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork yet found – alongside other artefacts.
And part of the gallery will be dedicated to a largely forgotten heroine of history, Aethelflaed, daughter of Alfred the Great,
This ‘warrior queen’ – also known as the ‘Lady of the Mercians’ – may not be a household name, but she leaves a legacy as one of the most powerful figures of her time whose successful rule is said to have been key to the founding of England.
She will be among the ‘stars’ of the new gallery at the Castle, where Aethelflaed (pronounced Eth-al-fled) ruled the Kingdom of Mercia and where she died in June 918.
Originally expected to open in summer 2020, plans were hit by lockdowns and restrictions, but now the new gallery – supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant – is set to be revealed this May.
Among the highlights will be the mead hall, complete with fire and gift stool – where the king would have sat when giving out gifts of loyalty to his warriors – and a large ‘snakes and ladders’ interactive activity for families to play. Visitors will climb a ladder, or slide down a snake, depending on whether they win or lose in battle – and may even be granted marriage to a Saxon princess.
Tickets to Tamworth Castle can be pre-booked, and a brief preview of the immersive film experience that forms part of the new gallery can be seen at https://bit.ly/3ss92qJ
For more about Tamworth Castle, visit www.tamworthcastle.co.uk
For tourist information on the county, visit http://www.enjoystaffordshire.com.