Dave Thirlwall BA(Hons), FHA.

Dave ThirlwallSite Manager
Living History Manager

Dave left St Johns College in 1983 with an honours degree in history and set up his own business providing In School Living History Education.

He began work on building ‘Houlgate Village’, in Holgate Road, York; a Living History Education Centre, designed as a Dark Age Settlement in 1986. As demand increased ‘Houlgate Village’ moved to the ‘Yorkshire Museum of Farming’ in 1992 as part of a re-development plan and changed its name to ‘Danelaw’.
Dave became Site Manager in 1998 for the Museum as well as the Education Centre.  Developments then began for the Roman Fort (Brigantium), which was followed by the WWII Evacuation Experience and the Tudor Farm Complex.

In 2010 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Historical Association and the following year he travelled to The House of Commons to accept, on behalf of all the education staff,  The Sandford Award for Excellence in Heritage Education.
As well as his role as Site Manager, he continues to lead the Living History Team and is very active in the ‘In School’ Education programme.

Lesley Wilkinson BA(Hons)

Living History Interpreter and Duty Manager.

Lesley Wilkinson

Lesley read Dance and Psychology at the University College of Ripon and York St John. She is an experienced performer and choreographer and in a diverse career has held a variety of positions in the entertainment and hospitality industry. In 2010 she co-directed the famous York Mystery Plays.
Lesley joined the Danelaw team in 2004.

Mike Tyler BA(Hons), MA, MCIPS, TFHA, PhD.

Living History Interpreter and Curator, Yorkshire Museum of Farming.

After working in the finance industry, Mike pursued an academic career and worked as a lecturer at the Universities of York and Huddersfield. A published historian, he is currently an Honorary Visiting Fellow in the Dept. of History at the University of York and a Research Associate in the Centre for Medieval Studies. He was Artistic Director of the York Mystery Plays in 2002 and 2006. Mike joined the Danelaw team in 2004.

Shona Griffiths

Shona Griffiths

Living History Interpreter

Shona left college in Aberdeen and then spent several years as Public Affairs Officer for Shell Expro. Shona has worked as a historical interpreter for York Archaeological Trust and Barley Hall. For seven years she worked on behalf of English Heritage and established living history projects at Clifford’s Tower in York.  Her main interests are in the areas of early medieval history and specifically medieval medicine. She is also a trained and qualified chef, which has proved useful in her career as a historical interpreter.

Keith Fells BA(Hons), PGCE.

Keith Fells

Living History Interpreter

Keith graduated with honours with a degree in Business Computing in the late eighties and spent the next 25 years working developing and managing computer systems eventually ending up in a large East Anglian based insurance company in a middle management position.

In 2009, following several years of frustration due to the inertia that is oft seen in large companies, Keith opted to take voluntary redundancy and a whole new career path. He went back to University and took a Post-Graduate certificate in Education and qualified as a primary school teacher in 2010. During this time Keith also volunteered at a York primary school which his children attended.

He then took up a position in a York primary school covering a maternity leave absence and following this is when he first encountered Murton Park. Keith was asked by his Son’s school to attend a couple of Roman days as a parent helper and “had such a great time” he has been here ever since. Initially as a volunteer and soon after as a member of staff on the Living History team.

Keith’s motto in life is “Growing older is compulsory, growing up is optional”.

Daniel Kirk BA(Hons)

Living History Interpreter

Dan joined the Danelaw team in 2010 having graduated in Modern and Contemporary History from Bangor University, specialising in 20th Century British History. Dan has previously worked for York Archaeological Trust running a variety of themed events and also currently works for York Museums Trust as a learning facilitator. He is currently studying for an MA in Learning and Visitor Studies in Museums and Galleries with the University of Leicester.

David Hunt

Living History Interpreter

Dave has been involved with historical re-enactment since the 1970’s – the infancy of living history. Over the years he has worked at a number of museums, particularly in the Birmingham area, as an interpreter and educational officer covering periods from the iron age to modern times. He is a qualified Teaching Assistant with particular interest in working with children with special needs.

Tabbetha Atyeo BA(Hons)


Living History Interpreter

Tabbetha was born in Sedalia, Missouri. After serving in the army for six years, she studied history at the University of Maryland before moving to the UK with her family in 2007. Her interests are many and varied, but she has a particular specialism in the history of costume and of domestic interiors. She first visited site with her son when his school came on a Viking day.  After a period of volunteering, Tabbetha joined the  Danelaw team in 2015.



Vic Hughes.

Living History Interpreter.VHughes

Vic served in the army for a number of years and developed a taste for travel having seen active service in many areas of the world. He has a lifelong passion for the study of history, particularly military history, and is developing a keen interest in the Roman conquest of Britain. Vic joined the Danelaw team initially as a volunteer in 2015.



Helena Gaudekova BA(Hons), MA

Living History InterpreterHelena Gaudekova

Born in Prague, Helena is an internationally known artist and art historian.  She currently divides her time between working at Danelaw and research for her PhD at the University of York. Her ‘home ground’ is the art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but she is rapidly forming an affection for life as a Viking!

Helena joined the team in 2017

Amanda Clarke.

Bookings Officer.  AmandaClarke

Amanda is the first point of contact for most people contacting the museum and looks after school bookings from first enquiry through to final invoice. She has a wealth of experience of office management and secretarial practice and runs the very busy diary Danelaw diary.  She has been with the team since 2001.                                        .


Shelley Rogerson BA(Hons).

Livestock Manager.Shelleyrogerson

Shelley studied product design at Leeds polytechnic, then chose to follow her true passion for farming and livestock by becoming livestock keeper, then farm development officer at Home Farm, Temple Newsam, the largest rare breeds centre in the country, where she worked for 29 years. With a wealth of knowledge of rare breeds, she is a committee member of the RBST York group and helps to run the RBST stand at the Great Yorkshire show and other displays around the country. Shelley joined the team in 2015.

Click here for further information about the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.