Little Woodham C17th English Living Village

Today it is still possible to see buildings all over England and in Leiden in the Netherlands dating back to the period when the Mayflower passengers lived there.

In many cases these buildings have been altered over the years although elements of them still survive.

To get a better understanding of what life was like in England during the C17th needed to look at reconstructed buildings such as at Little Woodham – Living History Village in Hampshire.

The village started in the mid-1980s as a community project. Initially funded with a grant from Portsmouth Council it is now self-funding. 

Here a range of typical village buildings have been constructed including a blacksmiths forge and the only working C17th kiln in the world.

Little Woodham volunteers wear replicas of the clothes that would have been worn in the C17th and use the tools and working techniques from that era too.  All the volunteers interact with visitors demonstrating the respective skills and answering their questions.  

Here are the first of interviews with the volunteers:-


The Musketeer

By the C17th firearms were being used in England for hunting and personal protection.  The concept of militias and regular training had faded away.  The English Civil War would change that.

People did have access to firearms – muskets and pistols – body armour and swords but they would not be common.

England had troops fighting wars in mainland Europe and in Ireland and some had sought fame and fortune as a Mercenary.

Myles Standish who sailed to America in the Mayflower was thought to have joined Queen Elizabeth’s forces that were sent to Holland in 1601 to fight the Spanish.  By 1609 Standish may have met the Pilgrims in Leiden. He certainly became a member of the Separatist Church.  When the Pilgrims were planning their voyage to America they selected him to lead the explorations on land and arrange the settlements defences.

In the demonstration we learn how the musket was loaded and fired and how it could be used as a weapon in its own right in close quarter fighting.  


The Pikeman/Soldier

A pike was a pole weapon with iron spike at the end of a wooden spear anywhere from 3 to 7 metres (10 to 25 feet) long.  Pikes were used extensively in warfare in Europe from the C13th to the early 18th century.  Although a very effective defensive shield protecting musketeers and canons from cavalry and foot soldiers it was a very effective offensive weapon.

In this presentation we learned about the armour and the clothes worn and also the life-style of a soldier under canvas.


More demonstrations will follow shortly.

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