17 August 1646

370 years ago today the Royalist garrison at Pendennis Castle, led by John Arundell of Trerice, finally emerged after agreeing terms of surrender. They had held the castle for 5 months against the Parliamentarians and it was the last remaining Royalist castle in England. By mid August the garrison was depleted by famine, disease and desertion. 

John Arundell, sometimes known as ‘Jack for the King’, was born in November 1576 and was heading for his 70th birthday at the time of the siege. He was the son of John the rebuilder and grandson of Sir John who feature in the brasses which are the starting point for the costumes at Trerice.  Not long after the siege ended ‘Jack for the King’s’ wife and daughter, both called Mary, died from the deprivations suffered in the castle, and as a result of the family’s involvement in the siege and their loyal support of Charles I, their estate was sequestered and were fined £10,000.

The family were later rewarded for their loyalty to the Crown with a barony after the Restoration of Charles II, but John did not live to see this, so his son Richard became the first Lord Arundell of Trerice. 

Whodunnit – more uses for curtains

The Murder Mystery last month was well received and the actors looked just the part in their 18th century outfits.

Outfits for the stable boy, the clergyman and Lord Wentworth joined those for Lady W and the chamber maid. They consisted of shirt, breeches, waistcoat, coat, neck tie, tricorn hats and wigs. Lord W’s suit was made from curtains bought originally for a bridesmaid’s dress along with left over curtain material from Lady W’s petticoat for his waistcoat. 

There were a lot more buttons involved than I expected and seemed to be forever covering buttons!

We were very pleased that the clergyman’s outfit fit so well because we were given relatively few measurements and it was first tried on the day before the performance.

We took a few shortcuts: Two of the tricorn hats were adapted from floppy black felt hats from Primark. Buckles for shoes made from card wrapped in foil with a black piece of material behind. Football socks were a short notice substitute for stockings.

We found that the wigs needed a fair bit of attention to make them look reasonable as they didn’t look much like the pictures on the packets. Luckily we have a hairdresser in our midst to put it right.

Yards of gathered fabric trim was also added to Lady W’s dress to finish it off. 


A couple of photos from the dress rehearsal: