Demonstration Or Workshop?

In addition to general demonstrations and talks I can run workshops for small numbers of children and/or adults to produce devotional replicas or more secular twenty first century talismans.

The Dissolution and following Reformation have forever dislocated most people in England – Christian or otherwise – from the Catholic past… Simple in essence, the stringing of a few beads on a cord can offer a window on religious meaning, ritual and symbols:

The small beads called ‘aves’ are for saying the Ave Maria (Hail Mary), the larger primes/‘paters’ for the Paternoster (Lord’s Prayer). The whole thing is also called a paternoster, as well as a rosary, and can be either a single string or continuous like a necklace (when, of course, it’s called a chaplet…)

PaternosterThe number of primes can give further meaning: three for the Trinity; five for Christ’s wounds; seven for the Joys or Sorrows of the Virgin.

Colours have their symbolism too: red for martyrdom; green for the Resurrection and renewal; purple or brown show humility and penitence; yellow indicates human frailty; blue and white together are the Virgin’s colours; black and white the contrast between man and God.

Some strings are plain, others have a terminal (endpiece) which might invoke the protection of a saint, have a connection with a particular shrine or indicate an occupation.

There’s room for superstition and sympathetic magic as well: The little ammonites found along the south coast that have a void in the centre were said to be the headless curled up remains of the snakes St Patrick cast out of Ireland and thus protect against snake bite.

A forgotten world in a string of beads!

Obviously a pre reformation occupation in England, I am happy to work in late medieval or early Tudor secular costume or dressed as a nun. This demonstration works well when combined with Pilgrimage Talks (which you can see at the base of the linked page)


While I generally have a few ready made pieces available for sale I also take commissions of historical replicas for display in collections or in recreated medieval room settings (as for Nant Clwyd in Wales or Walraversijde in Belgium).


I will also make paternosters for personal proper devotional use designed to your particular requirements.