The Middle Ages

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This consists of 11 A4 size booklets in PDF file format, that can be printed in your school or at home as required. The booklets are as follows:

Booklet 1 – Introduction to the Middle Ages
This booklet introduces pupils to the time period called the Middle Ages and explains what kind of sources we use to find out about it. We look at four sources in particular: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The Bayeux Tapestry and Domesday Book.

Enquiry questions:
What are the Middle Ages?
How do we know what happened?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
Middle Ages, CE/BCE, primary source, historiography.

Booklet 2 – The Making of England
This booklet describes the formation of England as a nation state, from Anglo-Saxon and Viking invaders all the way to the eve of the Norman Conquest.

Enquiry questions:
How did the English nation come about?
What made Anglo-Saxon England so attractive to its 11th century invaders?
How was Anglo-Saxon society structured?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
society, hierarchy, Anglo-Saxon government (witan, earldoms, shires, hundreds), trade, taxation, wealth.

Booklet 3 – 1066: Three Kings in One Year
This booklet tells the story of 1066 from the perspective of the three main protagonists (Harold Hardrada, King Harold and Duke William of Normandy).

Enquiry questions:
Why was there a succession crisis in 1066?
Why did Harold Hardrada’s invasion of England end in failure?
Was it bad luck or poor judgement that lost Harold his crown?
How did William of Normandy win the English crown?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
succession, invasion, military tactics (shield wall, feigned retreat), the 3 battles (Fulford, Stamford Bridge, Hastings).

Booklet 4 – Religion in the Middle Ages: Everyday Faith, Religious Orders and Heresies
This booklet introduces pupils to Christianity in the Middle Ages and looks at the different ways people expressed their faith, in particular the growth of monastic and mendicant religious orders, and heresies.

Enquiry question:
How did people express their religious faith in the Middle Ages?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
schism, papacy, religious sacraments, tithe, pilgrimage, saints, monasticism (Benedictine, Cluniac, Cistercian), mendicant orders (Franciscans, Dominicans), heresy (Cathars, Lollards, Waldensians).

Booklet 5 – Norman England
This booklet examines the aftermath of the Norman Conquest and its effects on society in England.

Enquiry questions:
What challenges to his rule did William the Conqueror face on becoming king of England and how did he face them?
What was the effect of the Norman Conquest on society in England?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
rebellion, Harrying of the North, motte and bailey castles, social change, feudalism, tenants-in-chief, feudal reliefs, slavery, peasantry (serfdom), chivalry.

Booklet 6 – Religion in the Middle Ages: Church Reforms and Crusades
This booklet focuses on the Church reforms that began in the 11th century, the First Crusade and its consequences.

Enquiry questions:
What did the Church reformers of the 11th century want to achieve?
Why did the Pope call for a crusade in 1095 and how did people respond to that call?
What were the consequences of the First Crusade?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
simony, pluralism, clerical celibacy, Investiture Controversy, excommunication, canon law, Byzantine Empire, People’s Crusade, Jerusalem (its significance to Christians), short and long-term consequences, persecution of Jews (pogroms).

Booklet 7 – The Anarchy
This booklet covers the period of civil war between Stephen and Matilda, examining its origins and trying to understand why Matilda was unable to win the crown of England.

Enquiry questions:
Why was there a succession crisis on the death of Henry I in 1135?
Why was Matilda unable to claim the crown of England on the death of Henry I?
Was it arrogance that cost Matilda the crown of England in 1141?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
dynasty, inheritance, civil war, anointing of a king, historical interpretation.

Booklet 8 – Religion in the Middle Ages: Conflict Between Church and Crown
This booklet follows on from our earlier units on religion, and looks at the conflict between Thomas Becket and King Henry II.

Enquiry questions:
What caused the dispute between King Henry II and Thomas Becket?
What were the consequences of Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170?

Subtstantive & disciplinary concepts:
social class, Angevin Empire, scutage, benefit of clergy, ‘criminous’ clerks, penance, tyrant, martyrdom, canonisation.

Booklet 9 – Medieval Kingship
This booklet explores the nature of kingship in medieval England and the challenges that kings faced following the Norman Conquest.

Enquiry questions:
What was expected of a medieval king of England?
What challenges did the Norman and Angevin kings of England face?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
the king’s peace, coronation charter, divine right, feudal overlord, the Continent of Europe.

Booklet 10 – King John and the Magna Carta
This booklet tells the story of King John and the events that led to Magna Carta. In particular, we examine whether Magna Carta was a consequence of John’s bad kingship or whether the seeds were sown well before John became king.

Enquiry question:
What led to King John’s issuing of the Magna Carta in 1215?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
autonomy, inflation, treachery, disputed succession, ancestral homelands, ‘Softsword’ and ‘Lackland’, selling justice and government offices, taxes (scutage, the ‘Thirteenth’), interdict, famous clauses of Magna Carta.

Booklet 11 – Social Change in the 14th Century
In this final booklet, we look at the social changes that resulted from the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt.

Enquiry questions:
What was the effect of the Black Death on society in England?
Did the peasants revolting in 1381 achieve their objectives?

Substantive & disciplinary concepts:
plague, disease, flagellants, shortage of labour, Statute of Labourers, poll tax, freedom of peasants.

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