23 years ago, Steve and Jude Jones decided to build a Saxon homestead in their garden. Constructed using entirely authentic techniques, the project quickly attracted the attention of first local then national archaeologists who recognized the potential of the site to boost interest in this remarkable and misunderstood period of history. To this day, Saxonhouse continues to draw historical societies and researchers, fascinated by the prospect of seeing academic theory brought to life.
Over time, however, Saxonhouse has become much more. It is also part of the local and wider community. U3A groups, photography societies, families with a passion for history, film crews creating historical dramas and museum documentaries, and authors coming to understand more about Saxon culture: all have found a home at Saxonhouse. It is also a beautiful site where people come to enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, to enjoy seasonal celebrations and to observe the wildlife that also shares the land around Saxonhouse.
Saxonhouse has also become an outreach site for students from Demeter House School, a centre for children with learning or behavioural problems.
Recently, however, parts of Saxonhouse’s thatch have begun to deteriorate significantly, putting the entire building in danger. Without a secure roof, the structure will not survive and all those who gather here to explore, to learn, to enjoy will no longer be able to do so.
This is how you can help. Saxonhouse urgently needs re-thatching to continue serving its thriving community of history enthusiasts, local groups, and the school. Specifically it needs its central ridge replacing and the thatching around it repairing. This is the minimum work required to keep Saxonhouse open for the next few years. We have had the damage assessed by a professional thatcher, who assesses repairs will cost around £2,500. Taking into account project fees, and the costs of the rewards we are offering, we will need £3,000 to complete the work.
Saxonhouse is the project of Steve and Jude Jones, semi-retired teachers, who made the decision some years ago to build an authentic reconstruction of a Saxon homestead, using the appropriate materials, tools and skills and furnished with clothes, artifacts tools and weapons that reflect the culture of those people. The timber-famed building was erected, stage by stage, using academic and practical research. It was thatched and the walls created with wattle and daub. At each stage it was authenticated by leading archaeologists. This was done partly as an experience in itself, but mainly so that this could be a available as an amazing resource for those already interested in history or archaeology, and for those who just want to learn more about the lives of people of the early medieval era who lived in the area.
We hope you like the rewards we are offering. Here are some of them.
- Saxonhouse T-shirt
- Saxonhouse cotton tote bag
- Dawn Chorus camp over
- Original drawing by Saxonhouse co-founder Steve Jones
- Stay as guests of Saxonhouse founders Steve and Jude Jones
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk is that we don’t raise the money in time to save Saxonhouse! After all these years, we are determined to keep it up and running, and make it more widely available for everyone who wants to come and visit. We have a great group of supporters though – centred around our lively Facebook page (please join us!). And putting together this Kickstarter campaign has been a real spur to realizing how important Saxonhouse is to everyone involved. Thanks for helping!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)