Staff at Sandwell Museums are launching two new displays at Bromwich Hall in the Manor House Museum in West Bromwich – to highlight the lives of two women once associated with the 750-year-old building.
The new displays have been announced as part of International Women’s Day at the museum in Hall Green Road
Jane Hanney Martin, Museums Services Manager, said: "The displays will see two women once associated with this 750 year old building come back to life by projecting real faces onto blank faced models.
“These will then be able to talk to visitors and tell their stories through time."
Abbey Butler, Visitor Services Officer for Bromwich Hall, added: "Often the stories told are those of the men who owned these sorts of buildings, but they were usually away fighting or doing other political roles away from their homes.
“It was usually their wives who were at Bromwich running the house and the estate taking day to day decisions – so we have decided to tell two of those women’s stories, showing the everyday life of the hall."
The first of the women is Sarah Devereaux whose story helps to tell the tale of how Bromwich Hall came to be built in the 1270s.
The Bromwich lands were inherited through Sarah’s father and Sarah was married to Walter Devereaux, who was part of a family who were important lords defending the Welsh borders from the unruly locals.
But when Walter fought against the King his own lands were taken away as punishment and so the family land in West Bromwich became more important and a new Manor House needed to be built.
The second display will be set in the 1620s and will show Lettice, who was the wife of Richard Shilton. Richard was the Solicitor General to Charles I and also part of a team restoring old St Paul’s Cathedral before it was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
“It is interesting to note that there is 400 years between the lives of these two women associated with Bromwich Hall which is longer in time than between Lettice and us at the museum today,” added Jane Hanney-Martin.
"This is a great opportunity for locals and visitors to the region to discover and explore some of the fascinating stories associated with this fantastic building and the people who lived in them, particularly the often forgotten lives of women who kept these estates running,” she said.