The family home of the man who wrote one of the most popular and well-known carols of all time – Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – will be open in Bristol for a limited time only in the run-up to Christmas, fully decorated, bursting with history and offering a fascinating insight into a Georgian family Christmas.
Charles Wesley’s House, at number 4 Charles Street near Stokes Croft, will open for just four pre-bookable tours on the mornings of 28 November and 5, 14 and 19 December. The house – built in 1742 – was home to the hymn-writer Charles Wesley and his family from 1749-1771 and is normally only available for group bookings.
Tours organiser Kate Rogers, community engagement officer for the New Room, said: “We are excited to bring to life Charles Wesley’s house this Christmas, when the sociable Wesley family would have welcomed many people into their home during a festive season which stretched from 6 December – St. Nicholas Day – to 6 January – Twelfth Night or Epiphany.
“Visitors can find out all about Christmas traditions such as the pot-luck selection of a household king or queen every Twelfth Night.
“They will also learn about traditional recipes for dishes such as baked marrow pudding, chewitts (18th century pork pies) and the celebrated Yorkshire Christmas Pie – an enormous affair which was generously stuffed with game and boned birds and sometimes needed the equivalent of nearly 20kg of flour to make the crust.”
Household recipes for herbal remedies, including indigestion, will also be discussed in the garden and kitchen of the house, where visitors will find seasonal props such as tricorn hats, a Christmas wreath, music sheets, mixing bowl and apron, in case they wish to pose for a seasonal selfie.
Each tour will end with mince pies and a sing-along in the family music room.
Because spaces are limited, pre-booking by phone is essential on 0117 9265750, with places at £5 each. All tours are scheduled for an 11.30am start outside 4 Charles Street, Bristol BS1 3NN on 28 November and 5, 14 and 19 December only, and will be led by members of the New Room team.
Since this listed building is entered by steps and has five floors linked by a steep and winding staircase, regrettably disabled access cannot be provided.
Group bookings are welcome, offering an unusual Christmas social for church groups and social clubs for whom the New Room, in nearby Broadmead, can also offer pre-bookable Christmas buffets. More details are available from firstname.lastname@example.org .
For details of the tours see: https://bit.ly/36opvCm and for tour bookings call Kate Rogers on 0117 9264740.