U3A Shared learning with The National Trust

“Thrapston & District U3A in North Northamptonshire partnered with Lyveden National Trust for a project aimed at providing clear, detailed reference files that the National Trust could consider when creating future information boards, leaflets or guidebooks.

The team made up of three U3A members, three National Trust volunteers and two who are members of both, started last year, by researching Meriel, Lady Tresham who resided at Lyveden Manor.

The team researched many aspects of her life and where possible, either attached Primary Sources to the research (if they were available), or labelled the research as being word of mouth hearsay.

The research included investigating the number of children that Meriel, Lady Tresham, had – something which was in dispute!

We are now looking at transferring this paper file onto an electronic one – so that the National Trust has all these facts to reference electronically.

Our work began by investigating Meriel’s Family Tree, something that had not been done—–as most family trees of the day followed the male line. The five of us would like to continue looking at some offshoot ideas which have come from our work so far; for example, exploring the heraldry of Meriel’s family or the lives of her children.

We gained a lot from the project. For example, I have a science background, so I am learning a lot about how the National Trust operates, how history has been recorded and about historical research. My husband (also part of the project) is enjoying recording our work photographically, preparing our talk and display and helping with the archives at Lyveden.

All the U3A members involved are now becoming National Trust volunteers and our display of work generated an interest in the U3A amongst local National Trust volunteers.”