The Chapter House celebrated London Open House with lovely weather and its usual welcome – but also with a new exhibit. Visitors on Sunday 5th September travelled back in time to the 13th century with the help of the popular video game Minecraft and a teenager!
Thomas Hobro (14) spent some of lockdown recreating Merton Priory as it might have looked in the 1270s. Using archaeological plans and a host of other – existing – buildings, Thomas designed the church and cloister, with bats, cats and even the priory dog (modelled on Toby).
The rest of the priory complex was more, er, complex. The archaeological excavations covered the church (now under Sainsbury’s), the cloister (under the KFC car park) and the infirmary (under the Premier Inn). But they didn’t cover the guest area, which we think is over by Merton Abbey Mills. The guest accommodation took a bit of research, the expertise of the resident archaeologist Dave Saxby, and quite a lot of imagination!
Minecraft is best thought of as virtual Lego. You can build objects, buildings and even whole worlds. You can also have adventures by yourself or with – or against – others online.
You (or your children) can play Merton in Minecraft at the Chapter House Museum, as Thomas is demonstrating, left. Our youngest player so far has been 7; our oldest, 92!
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The Merton Priory Trust is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England.
Company Registration No.3525361. Charity Registration No. 1071445.