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The Wars of the Roses for A Level

This section provides material to support teachers and students studying The Wars of the Roses. Some of it is related to my textbook published in 2012.

The Teachers’ Support Material for the book can be downloaded [ HERE ]

Diary of Resources and Additions

Note: Most recent additions are at the top

Dr Katherine Lewis discusses Henry VI and masculinity

In this short interview Dr Lewis discusses some of her thoughts on Henry VI, linked to her book Kingship and Masculinity in late Medieval England (Routledge, 2013, 284pp)

See the interview on YouTube HERE …

An illustrated life of Edward IV

This manuscript is shown and discussed in a British Library blog (see near the end of the blog) – five pairs of coloured miniatures each show an event in Edward IV’s career on the right, with its biblical precedent on the left. A potential revision activity for A level students – can they identify the events from their knowledge of the reign?

See the BL blog HERE …

In Our Time: Margaret of Anjou

This edition was broadcast in May 2018 and featured Joanna Laynesmith, Katherine Lewis and James Ross

Hear it on iPlayer HERE …

The Wars of the Roses: an introductory reading list for new A level teachers

A short list of suggestions for anyone new to teaching this topic at A level on this website HERE ….

HA Resources for Later Medieval History

The HA has put online a range of open-access resources which are particularly valuable for A level students studying the Wars of the Roses …

See a summary of the resources [ HERE … ] and a link to the HA website.

Fishpool Hoard: Evidence of Lancastrian Resistance 1461-4?

A puzzle from the 1460s – why was this large collection of coins and jewellery buried?

See the activity [ HERE … ]

Edward IV: for new A level Teachers

Recommendations for reading on Edward IV including Tony Pollard's The Summer King.

See the recommendations [ HERE … ]

Understanding the links between nobles and gentry

Another activity from Helen Snelson who teaches in York which helps students understand the links between and pressures on gentry and nobles around 1460.

See the activity [ HERE … ]

Using articles on the 1450s with students

Two activities and articles provided by Helen Snelson that she’s used with her A level students.

See the activities [ HERE … ]

Battle cards, tweets and mini-sagas

A set of simple resources and ideas (using the example of the Wars of the Roses) which may be useful for A level teachers – of any topic.

See the ideas [ HERE … ]

Anne Herbert: A Life in the Wars of the Roses

Anne has become something of an obsession of mine, leading to writing an article published in the HA’s magazine The Historian here ….

This activity uses Anne’s life as an introduction to the period for A level students, providing a more individual, personal way in to what can be an intimidating set of political and military events.

There’s a puzzle to begin with, a wedding, a Grand Design, a will and plenty of battles and drama - all seen all through the experience of one woman.

See the activity [ HERE … ]

The Wars of the Roses – a light-hearted outline!

This very structured role-play started life as one of my SHP Conference Saturday nights way back in 2006 – I’ve added it to the website in case it provides A level teachers with a quick (an hour or so) overview of events from 1450 to 1485. My thanks to Matt Springett for remembering the original event and prompting me to find the script and turn it into something that’s hopefully useful.

The activity can be used as an overview before students move into detail or study Henry VII. It’s meant to be fun, has lots of class participation and it’s not meant to include everything!

See the activity [ HERE … ]

Why did Burgundy help Edward IV win back his crown in 1471?

This brief role-play explores why Burgundy helped Edward IV in 1471, focussing on the effect of French aggression towards Burgundy on Burgundy’s attitude.

See the activity [ HERE … ]

Understanding the Pattern of Events 1455-1461

Three brief activities exploring the pattern of events between 1455 and 1461 – a physical timeline, a brief role-play and a decision-making activity.

See the activity [ HERE … ]

Feuds and alliances 1452-1455
Understanding the sides at St. Albans in 1455

A new, brief activity enabling students to work out how feuds led to alliances and how these alliances determined the sides at the first battle of St. Albans.

See the activity [ HERE … ]

New Outline for The Wars of the Roses

In writing my recent A level book I was never sure whether the timeline/living graph at the beginning was the best kind of summary.

So the two mocked up book spreads [ HERE …] provide that summary in text form as an alternative or supplement. These could be used alongside that timeline or independently or whenever you like really!

Any feedback on how and when you might use these is always welcome.

The Wars of the Roses Part 1: Rivalries and Alliances (1450-1455)

An introduction to the events leading up to the first battle of St. Albans, the first of a series of activities which will outline the key events of the period of the Wars of the Roses.

This activity is similar to another activity on the site on the events of 1452-1455 [HERE] but the differences are important:

• this one goes back to mid-1450 (beginning after Cade’s rebellion)

• more importantly, it’s less detailed and I hope provides students new to the topic and to A level with a more manageable overview. …


Royal Family Tree PowerPoint (1399-1461)

The whole family tree of Edward III’s descendants can be intimidating. To avoid over-powering students this PowerPoint provides a sequence of 5 screens which gradually build up the royal family tree. MORE …

Family Tree PowerPoint slides

Copies of 5 family trees from the Roses textbook as a PDF or a PowerPoint:

p.78 – family of Richard, Duke of York
p.81 – Woodville diagram
p.95 – Edward’s IV’s children and brothers
p.109 – the Neville inheritance
p.119 - Henry of Richmond’s descent from Edward III

Download here as a PDF or as a PowerPoint

1471: Why did Edward IV win the throne back?

A starter activity to get students thinking about an answer before they know anything! HERE …

The beginning of the Wars of the Roses

A role-play on the events of 1452-1455 HERE …