Year 6 students made the chilly walk over to Chantry Chapel this morning to attend a workshop hosted by Wakefield Cathedral. The Chapel is located on and is a structural element of the mediaeval bridge over the River Calder. Built in the mid-14th century, it is one of only three surviving bridge chapels in England.
Students have been studying The Highwayman, written by Alfred Noyes in 1906. The narrative poem depicts the doomed love story between a highwayman and an inn-keeper’s daughter.
Chantry Chapel is a site where one of the most notorious Highwaymen, Henry Whalton, frequented. The bridge leads to Westgate, which was an important banking area at the time, hence traders and wealthy individuals would pass over this bridge to deposit their money, making it the prime location for highwaymen to target. Legend has it, Whalton was fleeing from soldiers who had discovered his whereabouts, and in a dramatic chase, Whalton’s horse fell on the bridge, Whalton being flung to the ground and unable to escape the closing in soldiers, threw himself off of the bridge to avoid being captured.
In the workshop students listened thoughtfully to the stories and thoroughly enjoyed using art and drama to explore the characters, themes, and literary techniques in the poem.
Mrs. T Haystead