Website revamp to accommodate the Exploring and Teaching Medieval History project

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Aug 302017

As the bulk of my non-retirement time is going to be spent on the medieval project we have revamped the website to accommodate it. We’ve added two sections, identified by the tabs on the left of the Home Page:

  1.  A new Introduction to the website, incorporating a selection of ‘highlights’ representing the range of material on the site and some material I’m very fond of!
  2. A section on the Exploring and Teaching Medieval History Project – at the moment the main elements are:
    1. a short description of the project
    2. an updated Contents page for the HA publication which will go free to every secondary school in late November
    3. the section on research into students’ perceptions of the Middle Ages which offers teachers the chance to take part in research being undertaken by Dr Jason Todd of the University of Oxford Department of Education – and provides resources for you to do your own diagnosis of students’ perceptions if you wish.

As the year goes on I’ll be adding material to the other sections, though at the moment all my time is taken up with the final stages of work on the HA publication.

To accommodate these two new tabs, we’ve moved the section on Chronological Understanding into the section headed ‘Issues in History Teaching’. We’ve also dispersed the material in the old ‘Reading History’ section around the site, to wherever seemed the most natural home for each item.

Lots more medieval items to come in due course,

With best wishes for the new school year,


 Posted by at 2:13 pm

Valuable resources on Magna Carta, 1381 and much else from Citizens800

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Aug 272017

The Citizens800 web-page to start from is

… and the page introducing their resources for schools is HERE …

Don’t be put off by all the AQA coverage on that first schools page if you teach other specifications as the resources being developed will be useful to everyone, including at KS3 and A level.

At the moment, they include animations and video material on the project’s YouTube channel on King John and Magna Carta, the battle of Sandwich of 1217, Great Revolt of 1381 with plenty more material to come on later periods of history.

Even if you don’t teach or have never heard of the battle of Sandwich the animation is worth a look for the demise of King John and the departure of Prince Louis!


 Posted by at 5:28 pm

Useful Website for Anyone Teaching the Crusades

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Aug 262017

Dr Andrew Holt is Professor of History at the University of Florida. His website can be found at

I first saw the site on twitter as it advertised an interview with eminent Crusades historian, Professor Helen Nicholson on the state of Crusades studies HERE …

Amongst other things, Dr Holt’s site also includes a series of contributions from other historians on the ‘most influential Crusades historians’ and ‘the most important books’ on the Crusades.

Hope it’s helpful!



 Posted by at 5:27 pm

Trinity History Teach Meet for Teachers in the Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and nearby areas

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Jul 112017

This initiative has been set up by Alex Ford and you can find full details plus a sign-up form at his website:

In brief, the inaugural Teach Meet is scheduled for Friday 10th November, meeting at 4pm for a 4.30 start. It will have a theme of sharing teaching and ideas and resources for GCSE History. Everyone is welcome to come along for a drink and some great discussion about teaching history. Please share the event with as many local history teachers as you like.


Venue: The Emmott Arms, Rawdon which has a big car park and good bus links. Horsforth and Apperley Bridge train stations are close by too.

Format: Bring along a non-digital idea, resource, or great local history story connected to your GCSE teaching. You will need to be able to explain it / show it off in 3-4 minutes. You will then do “speed dating” with other teachers to share your brilliant ideas, stories and resources. We are wrapping up by 5:30pm, but you are welcome to stop on for a drink and a chat.

This is a great initiative so do visit Alex’s site for more details HERE …



 Posted by at 9:17 am

Conference and Resources News, Summer 2017

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May 302017

1. SHP Conference, Leeds Trinity University, 7 to 9 July

One of the strongest programmes in the 29 years of the SHP Conference which runs from 2pm on Friday to Sunday lunchtime, leaving delegates enthused, elated and exhausted!

Full details of the programme plus booking details HERE …

2. HA summer CPD

Rethinking the Normans for GCSE,  

Tower of London, Saturday 17 June. Details HERE …

Teaching English Medieval History and Historical Interpretations for the new GCSE

Four sessions at 5.30 – 7.30, beginning 11 July, Westminster City School, London. Details HERE …

A thousand years of the forging and re-forging of Britain: Insights into teaching thematic history for the new GCSE

Four sessions at 5.30 – 7.30, beginning 17 June, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, London  HERE …

Teacher Fellowship course for 2018: Teaching the Age of Revolutions

This Fellowship has three strands, one for primary teachers, one for secondary teachers, one predominantly for A level teachers. Details HERE …

3. Battlefields Trust Education Resource packs

Resources for teachers on the battles of Shrewsbury (1403) and Stoke (1487) HERE …

4. Battle of Falkirk

The battle of Falkirk is one of the case-study conflicts identified by Edexcel for its GCSE unit on Warfare through time. Anyone teaching this unit may find this article by historian David Santiuste useful HERE …


 Posted by at 5:16 pm

Ian Coulson Annual Bursary for Local History / Archaeology in Kent Schools

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Apr 232017

This annual bursary has been established by the Kent Archaeological Society in memory of Ian Coulson.

Ian was Adviser for History in Kent schools for over 25 years and, at the time of his premature death in 2015, President of the Kent Archaeological Society. Teachers in Kent schools are invited to apply for the bursary to develop classroom resources based on Kent’s local history and/or archaeology, two of Ian’s great passions. It is open to teachers in both primary and secondary schools. One bursary, worth up to £1,000, will be available each academic year for which any Kent school can apply.

For details see

To gain a little understanding of why Ian was so widely respected and admired by teachers in Kent and amidst the SHP community see him in action on YouTube HERE … and see his ‘Handy’ Guide to Medieval Architecture on this website,  HERE …



 Posted by at 1:41 pm

New resources available: Migration in the 15th and 16th centuries

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Aug 212016

The National Archive in conjunction with the England’s Immigrants 1330-1550 project has been running a Teacher Scholar programme which has produced a number of resources which you can find here …

In summary the resources cover:

• Were there really aliens living among the population of England in the 15th century?  (Year 5-6)

• How can government records help us investigate the diversity of the population? (KS3 – Years 8/9)

• How can we get people from the 15th century to tell us about their lives? (KS 4 and 5- Years 10-13)

• Did trade and migration change England in the 16th century? (Years 12-13)

The England’s Immigrants 1330-1550 project and database can be found at


 Posted by at 11:39 am

Teaching about the Norman Conquest

 A Level, GCSE, Info, KS3, Normans  Comments Off on Teaching about the Norman Conquest
Jul 172016

Many people are about to teach the Norman Conquest at GCSE for the first time – these items may be useful to you.

Item 1. Two videos of 20 minute lectures by Carl Watkins of the University of Cambridge discuss key aspects of the Conquest – the words are both valuable and interesting even if the video quality suggests they were filmed by a KGB spy in the 1950s using a camera hidden in a briefcase. As they are on the Cambridge History Faculty website I assume nothing underhand was going on!

Lecture 1 HERE …

Lecture 2 HERE …

Item 2. The Royal Armouries is holding a two day conference on the Conquest on the weekend of 14-15 October at the Tower of London. The programme consists of a battery of 40 minute talks by a host of eminent academics but the intended audience for the conference seems to be teachers and the interested public rather than academics.

Full details HERE …

Item 3. There’s a host of books around about the Conquest and William the Conqueror but I’ve recently much enjoyed two books in the Penguin Monarchs series which has a 100pp book for each reign from Athelstan to Elizabeth II. The two for this period which are currently out are:

William II: The Red King by John Gillingham – Gillingham is always been one of the most readable historians so this is the ideal introduction to William ‘Rufus’.

See Amazon HERE …

Stephen: The Reign of Anarchy by Carl Watkins – you probably aren’t teaching about Stephen but it’s an engrossing book nevertheless, exploring whether this really was a period of ‘anarchy’ and the various contingent circumstances that led to both Stephen’s succession and the ensuing civil war.

See Amazon HERE …

(I’ve provided Amazon links so you can see the contents list but they’re cheaper on Book Depository and elsewhere!)

The  book on William I by Marc Morris is due out in August (on my birthday if anyone in my family is reading this).

Item 4. The Historical Association has a range of material on aspects of the Conquest, some of which are free to non-members

See HERE … and HERE …

Item 5. A series of short films by historian, Marc Morris:

See it on YouTube HERE …

Item 6. In Our Time Radio 4 programmes on

The Battle of Stamford Bridge HERE …

Domesday Book HERE …

The Norman Yoke HERE …

Hope this is useful


 Posted by at 2:43 pm

Resources for teaching about the late middle ages – KS3, GCSE Warfare, A level

 A Level, GCSE, Info, KS3  Comments Off on Resources for teaching about the late middle ages – KS3, GCSE Warfare, A level
Feb 222016

A range of resources …

Agincourt: Myth and Reality

University of Southampton’s MOOC on the battle of Agincourt – a 3 week, free course covering the broader context of the Hundred Years War, Agincourt and its legacy and interpretations and the nature of warfare at the time. Even if you only have time to glance at it at the moment there’s an excellent range of short videos and other materials to download e.g. on late medieval armour, longbows, walking the site of Agincourt. You don’t have to be signed up in advance – you can join in part way and you don’t actually have to do anything if you don’t want to. It’s a really valuable free resource – it was run in the autumn (hence knowing what’s in it) and repeated from 22 February

The Agincourt 600 site is also worthexploring

England in the time of Richard III

Another free mooc from Futurelearn – this one starts on 7 March for 6 weeks as comes from the University of Leicester. I don’t know what’s in it but I hope it’s more than another re-tread of the car park! It does say that it is going to look more at the nature of fifteenth century society and lists medieval warfare, the lives of peasants and farmers, food and culture, death and commemoration, reading and the introduction of printing. Hopefully this mooc will also provide some useful teaching resources.

Weapons and Armour

I noticed on Youtube a set of films featuring Tobias Capwell, one of the leading authorities on late medieval armour and linked to the armour and weapons you can see at the Wallace Collection in London. Extracts from these could well be useful for GCSE warfare or A level students studying the 15thC.


 Posted by at 10:00 am