High Weald

Dip into our video library to meet a Roman soldier, Victorian landowner, Tudor ironmaster's wife or a Stone Age man. Discover how different people have used the land and its resources throughout history. 

Our historical character videos are suitable for Key Stage 2 children and cover aspects of the History programme of study (Curriculum 2000). These include:

1a - placing events, people and changes into correct periods of time
2a - learning about characteristic features of the periods and societies studied
4a - finding out about events, people & changes studied from appropriate range of sources (including ICT)
6 - Links to breadth of study are listed next to each character in the video library.

Further Curriculum Links - Discover more about what was going on during the time of each Historical Character

Meet Dora, a WW2 evacuee

In 1969, Dora and her daughter visit Ashdown Forest and Dora relates to her daughter some of her memories of being evacuated to Withyham during World War 2. She talks about the family she was billeted with on a farm and her memories of what she got up to at school and of life on the farm during the war and the effects on the people and places around her.

Meet Edith

Edith is a farmer from the Medieval period and is a cheerful soul who farmed the High Weald at the time of the Black Death. Edith leaves you in no doubt that life was hard back then, "all about survival". The High Weald is one of the best surviving examples of medieval landscape in Northern Europe.

Meet Edmund

Edmund is an early Anglo Saxon Drover. The woods where he led his pigs to fatten up on the Autumn acorns and beech masts are still a key landscape feature of the High Weald. Many of the routeways that drovers such as Edmund would have used to drive their pigs from the Downs into the High Weald survive today in the road and Rights of Way system. Curriculum link for primary schools: Local History Study 7, British History 8, Anglo-Saxons 9

Meet Hugh

A Commoner of Ashdown Forest from the Medieval period. Hugh worked hard on Ashdown Forest, one of the many hunting forests spread over the High Weald. As a commoner Hugh had special rights, such as grazing his beasts and collecting an allowance of firewood.

Meet Edward

Edward, a wealthy Victorian landowner, invites you on to his estate to share how he has developed his garden using the natural features of the High Weald such as the gill streams and their microclimate, sandrock, clay soils and hammer ponds - some of the essential components that have helped build the area's great gardens. Discover how he, like many other Victorians, influenced the landscape as well as his thoughts on The Great Exhibition, steam trains and women on bicycles...

Meet Jacob

A coppice worker from the High Weald.

Meet Jane

Jan is a Tudor Iron Master's wife who balances the inconveniences of the noise and smoke of a busy Tudor iron works with the luxuries it brought her in her position as the Ironmaster's wife. She talks about the "mighty appetites" of the new blast furnaces and how wood became a precious commodity that needed careful management. Curriculum link for primary schools: Local History Study 7, British History 8, Britain & the wider world in Tudor Times 10

Meet Maximillius

A Roman Soldier from the 2nd Century AD, Maximillius is part of the Classis Britannica fleet stationed at the ironworks near Beauport on the edges of Hastings. He describes the Roman iron industry in the High Weald, including the processes they went through to extract the iron from stone.

Meet Ruby

Ruby is a hop picker from between the wars. Ruby's family came 'hopping' in the High Weald for generations, travelling down from the East End each September. She is astonished by the changes and wonder what in the landscape, if anything is permanent. She reflects on the relationship then between people from the town and country - is it still the same today?

Meet Tarneg

Tarneg is a Mesolithic hunter from 8,000 BC who came into the High Weald to hunt for aurochs. He tells the story of his first hunt and his impressions of the dense woods of the High Weald compared to the chalk downlands.