The factories and workhouses of the industrial revolution may be your first thought of Greater Manchester’s history, but now a team are exploring the story of medieval Salford.
The Salford Archer: A Medieval Tale is a lottery funded project telling the story of what life was like in Salford during medieval England.
Domenico Vaughen and his team present a series of exhibitions across Greater Manchester, including full costume history sessions, traditional dance and even medieval past-time classes such as archery.
By day, Domenico is a service officer for people who have learning disabilities – but in his spare time his passion lies in archery and the history of the region between 1400-1600.
His passion for archery stemmed from taking a group on a holiday where he came across the sport, and has never looked back.
Domenico told MM: “A lot of people tend to see the history of the area being connected with contemporary history and the industrial revolution.
“We want to show that our history and heritage goes back much further by connecting people with our past by hands on experiences.”
In Domenico’s spare time he runs a local Archery group – Archery in the Community.
“We make archery easily accessible, running ‘have a go’ and taster sessions for local groups and schools,” he said.
One of the team members informed Domenico of the ‘All Our Stories’ Lottery fund which would help fund the group.
Domenico only had three days to put the application together before the closing date – yet it was successful and they received £9,000.
He based his application on Thomas De Eccles – ‘a standing archer in the king’s bodyguard’. He wanted to tell the actual story of Thomas – who he was, his family and what became of him. He said: “The Lottery commission were very supportive.”
The team deliver presentations in which each member takes on an actual character from the medieval period. Domenico plays Thomas De Eccles.
“Our presentations are in full costume and take the form of a 30 minute introduction where we tell the tales of our characters,” Domenico said.
They then proceed to let people experience activities from the period such as traditional dance, crafts, toys, games and, of course, archery.
The most recent exhibition, held on April 12 at Walkden Library in Salford, was said to have been a great success.
He said: “The last event went really well, more than 120 people came through. We were very pleased to see if get such a positive reaction.”
The project benefits children especially as they can connect with the past by handling equipment and participating in the activities.
“I really liked braiding, it made me feel like a girl from history,” said one girl from a presentation.
Another ‘football loving’ boy said to his teacher, when asked if he wanted to go and play football, “It’s okay Sir, I want to finish off my brass rubbing.”
Domenico and his team hope that their project will prove to be the start of an interest that will stay with young people for life.
“We hope that people will enjoy discovering about their heritage, learn something new, teach us something new and contribute information to help the project develop,” he said.
To find out more about the project, visit the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheSalfordArcherAMedievalTale?fref=ts