When did William conquer England?

Now there’s a big question for a Friday afternoon! Attached here are a couple of resources that you can use to help students decide. Hugh, who developed these, recommends a dramatic intro for each scenario:

  • Was it when he was out of breath on the top of Senlac Hill?
  • Was it as he sat smugly in the charred remains of York Minster?
  • Or was it…?

Students create a situation report for each scenario. When did William Conquer England

And, in case you need it, a crib sheet to get you started: MASTER – When did William Conquer England

Diversity resources for busy teachers

Whose Histories?: Helping busy History teachers keep their curriculum diverse

This short guide has been created by the University of York’s PGCE history trainees in a morning session where they thought about diversity and explored what resources are available. It contains some general principles and ideas for making lessons more diverse, with links to resources. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but to be a contribution to help busy teachers.


AQA GCSE revision materials

Picture1-750x430A HUGE thanks to Henry Walton and the Manor CE Academy team for sharing their revision notes and knowledge tests for their AQA modules. Henry has more detailed notes he can share locally if you get in touch with him.

Conflict and tension MQTs combined

WW1 Revision sheets combined

USA MQTs combined

USA Revision sheets combined

Ed I revision sheets combined

Medieval England MQTs combined

PatP MQTs combined

PatP revision sheets combined


Black abolitionists in York!

How much do you know about black abolitionists campaigning in the UK against slavery? No, neither did we until we came across this great mapping project on @twitter! Mapping black abolitionists’ speaking tours in the UK There are several people who came to speak in York. Some are hard to place, but three were in what is now the Fulford School catchment area!

World War One in the local area free resources

We are so lucky in York to have active and inspired local history societies. The Clements Hall Local History Group have had a lottery grant for their local World War One project. They have used it so brilliantly! The research they have done has all been published online – though there are also some hard copies of certain booklets. We can share it with you here: Clements Hall LHG World War One resources This site really is worth a look for all history teachers, but especially those around York. You will find films about a zeppelin raid and conscientious objectors. There are first hand accounts from soldiers, sailors and airmen. The role of women is explored. There is detail about how local churches, schools and organisations got through the conflict. There is also a lovely section on the Rowntree memorial Park. You can see the Quaker influence in the memorial text and it would make a lovely intro to the mood with which many greeted the founding of the League of Nations.

This park and the adjoining playing fields were given to the city by Rowntree & Co. Ltd to the memory of those members of the company’s staff who at the cost of life and limb or health and in the face of inconsiderable suffering and hardship served their country in her hour of need. Many were inspired by the faith that this war might be the end of war – that victory would lead to an enduring peace and to greater happiness for the peoples of the world. The creation of the League of Nations will be a fitting crown to the faith and hope of the men who have fought and a true memorial to their endurance, heroism, comradeship and sacrifice.”

Do have a look elsewhere on the site for other nice local history resources that would be useful for a KS3 history club.

Fulford, Fishergate and Heslington Local History group are also tracing all the men on four of their local war memorials. They have also done some work on the military buildings in their area. Here is their link: FFH Local History Group WW1

We are really grateful for all the time, effort, enthusiasm and skill that has gone into putting these resources together.

The Process of History display

A lovely resource that is being shared by our friends at Huntington School. Inspired by hearing Ian Dawson at the Northern History Forum, it makes a great corridor display: Process of History Display.  Why not book for the Northern History Forum coming up on Weds 22nd Nov at Leeds Trinity? Book here! The sessions don’t start til 5pm, after social time, so there is time to get over from York after school.

‘Doing History’ – display and ex book versions

Here are links to a classroom display and exercise book version of ‘Doing History’. It is designed to explain to pupils what we do in history. Thanks to Hugh Richards for initiating and driving this work in consultation with many people. Doing History, Exercise book edition    Doing History 2017 display

Are you studying Hardwick Hall as part of the AQA GCSE course 2016-18?

Here are free resources for anyone studying Hardwick Hall as part of the Elizabethan depth study for AQA GCSE.

The pack is a mash up and more of the AQA resources. It is designed to introduce the historic environment study, has some preparation ideas and is then a workbook to use on site. Teaching pack

Here is a VR tour of the Hall for use by anyone who can’t get there, and also useful for revision. VR tour of Hardwick Hall

Are you studying Durham Cathedral as part of the AQA Norman England Unit?

Last week we were lucky enough to be joined by research Assistant Dr. John Jenkins from York University for an hour session on the Normans and Durham Cathedral. Here is a brief transcript of what he told us.  Please share with any colleagues studying Durham Cathedral for their Historic Environment.

  1. UniversityDurham is unique in that it combines the role of Church and warrior bishop. The Earls of Northumbria had not been successful in ruling over the people. Tostig had been replaced by Harold, Copsi had been given the role by William but lasted only 5 weeks in the job until he was burnt out of his church and beheaded. He was killed by Oswulf, grandson of Uchtred, who installed himself as Earl. Oswulf was killed in the autumn by bandits after less than six months as Earl. The role then passed to Gospatric who later joined a rebellion with Edgar Atheling and the Danes. As a result of this rebellion William stripped him of his title and placed Waltheof in the role. In 1075 Waltheof is caught up in another rebellion against William, and, despite confessing he is executed by William.

Clearly the Earldom of Northumbria was causing major problems for any English King.


John explained you need to understand that the people of Northumbria felt they owed their allegiance to a higher authority than a King. They were the ‘people of St. Cuthbert’. St Cuthbert had been a monk at Lindisfarne and Melrose in the 7th Century and had been given the status of Saint. His remains had been moved across the North of England in reaction to various Viking invasions but by the 10th Century he was firmly established at Durham Cathedral. The people of Northumbria identified themselves as ‘waliwerfolc’ – essentially People of the Saint. This means that St. Cuthbert was their protector. In the Harrying of the North, Simeon reports that the Normans turn back at Northallerton because Cuthbert has sent down a mist.

Durham was not any use in the strategic sense. Instead the Normans build Newcastle as this is a much more useful strategic position.  However Durham has significance as a religious site. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, William visits Durham and goes to the shrine of St. Cuthbert. Here he confirms all the liberties and lands of the cathedral and gives gold and vestments.

Simeon gives an alternative story in which William doubts whether Cuthbert is really in the tomb and tries to open the coffin. At the moment he does he is stricken with fever and rides away in terror. He then sends gold.

John points out that it really doesn’t matter which was true, it was an idea that was believed by the people of Northumbria. William had realised that in order to control this region he had to respect their Saint.

The Normans decide to launch a new style of Earl/Bishop for a variety of reasons

  1. Bishops have no children as they are celibate so they can be easily removed without hereditary issues
  2. To make the job attractive there needed to be significant reward
  3. The Earls needed to use the powers of St Cuthbert to be able to govern
  4. The Earls needed considerable power – could offer rewards of monastic life to the sons of families who obeyed their laws.


William St Calais is the first of these new Bishop Earls

The Cathedral at Durham is rebuilt alongside the existing Anglo- Saxon one (called the White Church). Cuthbert’s remains are transferred in 1104. They also build a new monastery.

The new cathedral would have been built by a team of Norman stone masons and used the newest fashion for ceiling vaulting. The zig zag motive represents continuity with the old Anglo-Saxon style of decoration. (The Normans decorated much more figuratively). It was exactly the same length as St Peters in Rome. It would have been painted red, blue and green inside and probably white outside.

12 monks looked after Cuthbert and some could trace their lineage back to the 7th century Lindisfarne. (Monks at this point were not celibate)

William St Calais comes from a monastery in Normandy and he models Durham on this experience. William brings in Benedictine monks who are stricter and observe the rules of celibacy. In this way he takes over control over Cuthbert’s staff. Future monks have to observe celibacy.

Before 1083 women could also pray at the shrine of St. Cuthbert. William brings in strict rules based on his former monastery’s practise of denying women access to the shrine. Women end up pressing offerings into the walls or having to give them to the monks in an attempt to get close to the saint. Teachers could link this to wider changes in the diminishing status of women in the Norman period?

Durham Castle – it was small and never really used in battle. Not much of the original castle remains now. It was built in 1070 as the Bishop’s Palace and like all castles was largely symbolic. It would have been a simple motte and bailey and a curtain wall. John pointed out that the AQA pack showed photos of the later parts of the cathedral and castle. You will need to get students to cross out lots of the visible outline to give a true impression of how the castle  and cathedral would have looked in Medieval times.