Doh! New discovery in our old house

A few weeks ago the Great Hall at Trerice, which is only lit by sunlight through the 576 paned window, had just the right sort of light to pick up details in the plasterwork frieze. The frieze is runs around the two-storey room at ceiling height, so it is not often that much attention gets paid to it because it is so high up and the light’s not always very good. There’s been many times when we’ve seen it but not actually looked at it!

Closer inspection of the frieze came about when it was asked why Homer Simpson should be depicted in the plaster… doh! turns out it wasn’t Homer but a lady wearing something like Tudor dress and headwear.

This one’s in the middle of the frieze on the Musicians’ Gallery wall, above the door from the Screens Passage to the Hall.

Most of the figures are completely different, although those in the corners of the room, diagonally facing each other are very similar, but have minor differences. We’re in the process of researching more about them, and whether they are just generic images or have a stronger link to Trerice and the family who lived there. It might be very fanciful, but they could be portraits of the Arundell family…

We’ve been wondering if it’s possible to date the figures from the styles of clothes and hats they’re wearing.

Going clockwise around the room from the lady’s image, at 12 o’clock, the others are:

This one’s in the other corner of that wall next to the window. Originally it was thought that it was a scary looking baby but it seems to have a beard, so could be an old man.

This one’s on the side of the room with the window, opposite the fireplace (at about 4 o’clock). It has some similarities to the brass of Sir John Arundell in armour in Stratton Church.

This one’s diagonally opposite its ‘twin’.

This one’s in the centre of the frieze (at 6 o’clock to the lady’s image).

This one’s diagonally opposite the similar one near the window.

The next two are above the fireplace, opposite the window, which might suggest a place of importance.



The last is back on the first wall at the Musicans’ Gallery end, in the corner.


We’re wondering if it’s possible to date them from their clothes and hairstyles?

Thanks to Emily Hide for the photos.

Schools’ project: a few more finishing touches

The finishing touches (almost) have been added to the mid Tudor noble lady’s gown – fore-sleeves and a girdle. Just need to finish the smock and create a hood to complete it.


The brown late Tudor dress is getting closer to completion with a supporter or picadil for a ruff under way. Not satisfied with the result from Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4, (probably used the wrong fabric and glue) version number two, without glue, is being attempted from the Seventeenth Century Women’s Dress Patterns Book 2 (ed. Susan North and Jenny Tiramani) which so far is looking a lot tidier. It’s interesting to note that although both books examined the same object the patterns and instructions are quite different; the ability to x-ray items noticeably alters and revises views on the methods of how things were constructed.

Each tab or picadil was cut out in card and paper clipped in place first to make sure they fitted together on the base.

They were then cut out of the top fabric.

After the top fabric was wrapped around each piece of card and sewn together they were folded in half and slotted over the base and sewn at the bottom.

The underside neck bit was stitched – an attempt at stem stitch but a bit rusty – for decoration then attached to the picadils.


The card neck piece was then attached before the top fabric was added over the top. The next step was to cover the join with ribbon – brown in this case to indicate it goes with the brown dress – all about the subtlety!


After that the top fabric was added to the top side of the picadil.

The two picadils together (the Janet Arnold pattern on the left).