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The Wars of the Roses for Key Stage 3

This is a package of material for use with Year 7 or Year 8 pupils.

The Wars of the Roses is a difficult topic to teach but I hope these resources can help. Although there is the opportunity to look in outline at the pattern of the Wars (how much war, how much peace from 1450 to 1487?) the main focus is on the ideals and attitudes of the people of the time. This leads into a core enquiry question:

How would you describe the people of the Wars of the Roses?

The list below sets out the structure of the resources but it’s essential to note that there’s two routes through the material. For the quick route use 1, 2, 3 and 6 but include 4 and 5 for more depth. Item 4 provides a deeper narrative which may make for challenging reading but you could also modify it to suit your own pupils.

1. Students’ preconceptions and an introductory story: A Battle and a Ring

2. The pattern of the Wars – using an outline timeline

3. Myth-busting the Wars of the Roses

4. The Story of the Wars – Walter Devereux’s decisions

5. The Consequences of the Wars

6. Takeaways and Conclusions

In addition, there are detailed teachers’ notes and a set of PowerPoint slides in support of the resources.


Download the resource files:

• Teacher's Notes HERE …

• Items 1 and 3:   HERE …

• Item 2:               HERE …

• Item 4:               HERE …

• Items 5 and 6:    HERE …

• PowerPoint         HERE …

Additional links and material for teachers

Possible reading on this website for those new to the Wars of the Roses but get the ‘bug’:

A guide to reading HERE …

There is an excellent short article on the historiography of the Wars of the Roses by Professor John Watts in Teaching History 148, September 2012. John’s conclusion is worth noting:

‘But on one thing, we are all agreed: the wars were fought by serious people for serious reasons; we should come to them with the same spirit of understanding that we bring to any of the civil conflicts of the past, or indeed the present.’

A range of resources developed for A level teaching but which may have uses e.g. slides of family trees and an outline of the story:

Diary of resources and additions HERE …

Two chapters from my A level book which may provide new teachers with helpful context – note these are proofs so there’s a few holes where pictures are missing.

Chapter 1 includes an outline graph of events and a survey of the historiography HERE …

Chapter 10 summarises the impact of the Wars HERE …

The This is Paston website provides the chance to link letters written by the Paston family (of Norfolk) to events during the Wars.

This is a fascinating and very helpful resource on

And the Richard III Society has an education page that may be of value


Constructive feedback is always welcome, particularly anything that will help other teachers.

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