The sixties was a time of discovery in British education. I didn’t know that because I was one of the lucky ones to be schooled through it. We had teachers who were new to the profession, teachers who had grown up through the war and grown some more in the fifties and then into sixties. They had seen the world change. And it had been for the better.
History had always been my favourite subject, well that and art. Art had been about creating, represtenting and shaping what I saw whilst history had been…well, it had been about the same stuff.
I was always aware of how important history was to our village. We had an ancient church there and a line of descent that demanded an annual recreation by The Sealed Knot Society. This was the civil war remembrance group who dressed up and fought out the Battle of Thornhill, a decisive play between the roundheads and the cavaliers.
I shouldn’t have been, but I was always a secret cavalier. They seemed romantic in comparision to the workaday Cromwelliams. Cromwell was about not singing, not having your hair cut on Sunday, wearing black clothing. Perhaps that was why I never took to Goths during the eighties. Anyway, I loved history.
One memory stood out amongst many other significant ones. It was the time that our teacher measured the circumferences of our heads to determine whether we were of Anglo-Saxon or of Viking descent. Post war meant that Anglo-Saxon was, ironically, the most patriotic as it was seen to be more aligned to the natural English bloodline; we still had maps with pink on them to show the extent of the empire.
As it turned out, in a massively Anglo-Saxon head measuring school, that was Church of England in denomination, I was a big headed Viking. Raider, reaper and raper, I ought to have hung my big scandinavian head in shame, but I didn’t.
Evans, Evanson I was and that I have remained.