Classroom Activity : The Battle of Hastings

Classroom Activity : The Battle of Hastings

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In the summer of 1066 William of Normandy made preparations for the attack on England. To make sure he had enough Normans to defeat Harold of Wessex, he asked the men of Poitou, Burgundy, Brittany and Flanders to help. William also arranged for soldiers from Germany, Denmark and Italy to join his army. In exchange for their services, William promised them a share of the land and wealth of England. William also managed to enlist the support of the Pope in his campaign to gain the throne of England.

William also had to arrange the building of the ships to take his large army to England. About 700 ships were ready to sail in August but William had to wait a further month for a change in the direction of the wind.

(Source 2) Message sent by William just before the battle took place. The message is quoted by William of Poitiers in his book Deeds of William, Duke of the Normans. (c. 1071)

With the aid of God I would not hesitate to oppose (the English) ... even if I had only ten thousand... instead of sixty thousand I now command.

(Source 3) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Version D (1066)

Then came William duke of Normandy into Pevensey... This was then made known to King Harold, and he then gathered a great force, and came to meet him at the estuary of Appledore; and William came against him unawares before his people were assembled... King Harold was killed... and the French were masters of the field... God granted it to them because of the sins of the people.

(Source 4) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Version E (1066)

William landed at Hastings on Michaelmas Day, and Harold came from the north and fought with him before all the army had come, and there he fell and his two brothers Gyrth and Leofwine; and William conquered the country.

(Source 6) William of Malmesbury, Deeds of the Kings of the English (c. 1140)

The English... passed the night without sleep, in drinking and singing, and, in the morning, proceeded without delay towards the enemy; all were on foot, armed with battle-axes... The king himself on foot, stood, with his brothers, near the standard, in order that, while all shared equal danger, none might think of retreating... On the other side, the Normans passed the whole night in confessing their sins... (The English) few in number and brave in the extreme... fought with ardour, neither giving ground, for great part of the day... Harold fell, his brain pierced by an arrow... One of the soldiers with a sword gashed his thigh as he lay on the ground.

(Source 8) William of Poitiers, Deeds of William, Duke of the Normans (c. 1071)

Harold and his two brothers had fallen close together. The king could not be recognised by his face - only by certain marks on his body. His mother offered an equal weight in gold for her son's corpse. But the duke refused, and had the body taken to his own camp.

Question 1: Study source 3. Select examples from the passage where the author expresses (i) facts, and (ii) opinions.

Question 2: There is some doubt about how Harold was killed. Describe how sources 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 help to answer this question. How reliable is this evidence? Before you answer this question it will help you read about the authors of these sources and the Bayeux Tapestry.

Question 3: Compare the value of sources 1, 3 and 8 to the historian writing a book about the Battle of Hastings.

Question 4: Study sources 2, 3, 4 and 6. Make a list of the reasons why these writers believed that the English lost the Battle of Hastings. Then explain whether you think these reasons are (a) very important, (b) fairly important, or (c) not very important in explaining Harold's defeat.

A commentary on these questions can be found here

You can download this activity in a word document here

You can download the answers in a word document here

Battle of Hastings 1066

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The Normans - Battle of Hastings 1066HIS/C8F/02

Mini 2 PAGE Activity booklet of classroom-ready activities, cre8tive activities that will enthuse and engage students, and ensure they get the most from their History Revision.

This Activity has been created by a dedicated History specialist ‘Faculty Leader’ and is matched against the new curriculum specifications set by the exam board.

This mini 2 Page Activity Booklet Contains:
o Reporting and Reviewing the Battle of Hastings
o Create a newspaper article about the Battle of Hastings
o Minimal preparation required – Just print and go!

Premium paid for History Resources will all come in an editable format.

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A bundle is a package of resources grouped together to teach a particular topic, or a series of lessons, in one place.

Why did William win the Battle of Hastings?

Having taught History across KS3, 4 and 5 for seventeen years within state education, I have built up quite an extensive set of resources! I’ve spent several years working as a head of department and also spent a year working as a university subject tutor for Schools Direct. I’m currently out of the classroom and supporting my own children through their secondary experience and keeping relevant by becoming an Edexcel examination marker this summer. Planning for fun and hopefully your benefit.

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This KS3 unit should take 2-3 hours to complete. The Power Point leads the students through all of the activities with accompanying resources included. Advice on writing technique is also included.

  • To know the main events of the Battle of Hastings.
  • To understand the main reasons why William won.
  • To reach a verdict on which reasons were more or less important.
  • To be able to write up your ideas as an essay.

Activities include a starter which asks students to draw inferences from the Bayeux Tapestry, followed by a short video which recaps prior events and then shows the key events of the battle. Students use this knowledge to cut out the jumbled events and match/stick them onto the storyboard. There is an extension on source bias using William of Poitier’s account. Initial on why William won are recorded in a thought-shower. Students then complete a card sort activity, categorising the reasons why William won into William’s strengths, Harold’s weaknesses and luck. There is an SEN version of simpler cards with a sorting grid included. Essay writing and PEEL paragraphing is then introduced with a worked example of poor-good paragraphing using PEEL. Students write their answers in essay style using the writing frame provided. A mark scheme is included.

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A bundle is a package of resources grouped together to teach a particular topic, or a series of lessons, in one place.

Medieval Realms: Full Unit of Study

This KS3 unit of study should take at least 15 hours to complete. There is a Power Point included for every lesson which leads students through the activities and provides advice and guidance where required. In teaching/loose chronological order, the lessons include: * What was life like in the Middle Ages? * Who should be king? Claimants in 1066 * Events leading up to the Battle of Hastings * Why did William win the Battle of Hastings? * How did William control England? * How far did castle design improve during the Middle Ages? * Why was religion so important to people in the Middle Ages? * Who was to blame for the murder of Thomas Becket? * How did people in the Middle Ages view the Black Death? * Did Robin Hood really exist? There are a great range of activities including discussion, problem solving, card sorting and ranking, source analysis, comparison of continuity vs. change, introduction to explanatory essay writing and evaluative essay writing and board game creation. There are three formal assessment- the explanatory essay on why William won the Battle of Hastings, the comparative writing on developments in castle design and the evaluative writing on whether or not Robin Hood was real. Writing frames and mark schemes are included for these. For more details, please refer to individual lesson summaries.

The Battle of Hastings: Full Unit of Study

This KS3 unit of study should take around seven hours to complete. There is a Power Point included for every lesson which leads students through the activities and provides advice and guidance where required. In teaching/chronological order, the lessons include: * Who should be king? Claimants to the throne in 1066 * Events leading up to the Battle of Hastings * Why did William win the Battle of Hastings? * How did William control England? * How far did castle design improve during the MAs? There are a great range of activities including discussion, problem-solving, argument formation, chronological ordering, formal essay writing and comparative writing. The two formal assessments are the essay on "Why William won?" and the comparative writing on castle development. Support, advice, writing frames and mark schemes are provided for both of these. To avoid completing two asessments in quick succession, I generally teach the castles lesson a little later having looked at other medieval topics such as living conditions and religion in between. For more details, please refer to individual lessons.

Battle of Hastings: October 14, 1066

On September 28, 1066, William landed in England at Pevensey, on Britain’s southeast coast, with thousands of troops and cavalry. Seizing Pevensey, he then marched to Hastings, where he paused to organize his forces. On October 13, Harold arrived near Hastings with his army, and the next day, October 14, William led his forces out to battle, which ended in a decisive victory against Harold’s men. Harold was killed–shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend𠄺nd his forces were destroyed

Download this entire unit as one ZIP file!

Blind Date, 1066!

A roleplay exercise enabling students to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the various contenders for the English throne in 1066. As a homework, students produce a propaganda poster for the candidate of their choice. There are teacher notes available along with a presentation and a sample poster.

The Battle for the throne: 1066 [ Interactive simulation ] [printable worksheet | online worksheet]

A decision-making simulation as King Harold - will you survive the challenges to your throne? This is a major activity that should keep students busy for at least a couple of lessons (they are even given a certificate with a score at the end that could be recorded in a markbook). As an extension activity, students should complete the Key word list by playing the game a second time this can later be used as the basis for a factual test or a Fling the Teacher challenge (the first few people to finish the quiz successfully get rewards!).

Bayeux Tapestry Slideshow

The lesson could start by watching a Bayeux Tapestry Animation on YouTube. Then, view a series of interactive images from the Bayeux Tapestry with analysis of their meaning. Designed to be used to help teachers in a feedback session after students have completed the worksheet accompanying the game above. There is a teacher helpsheet available for this task. As a follow-up, students could do this Bayeux Tapestry Jigsaw Quiz.

Order the events correctly - classroom challenge

Students cut and paste the information into the correct order [teacher answer sheet available].

Biased Report: Why did William the Conqueror win the Battle of Hastings? | Marksheet

Students then use their completed timeline to produce a biased newspaper report [teacher sample report available].

Essay Task: Why did William the Conqueror win the Battle of Hastings? | Teacher notes

Working with the same points as last lesson, students now categorise these factors to decide whether William's victory was down to luck, his skill, or Harold's mistakes. They then turn this into their first history essay.

Key word list | Teacher version

Students should complete this list either as they progress through the unit, and use their completed work to see how they perform in the following quiz or quizzes:

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What better way to learn about 1066 and the Battle of Hastings than by walking in the footsteps of William the Conqueror and King Harold at Battle Abbey? Standing where history was made, your students will better understand the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and beyond.

“A fantastic educational experience for the whole class the Battle of Hastings was brought to life with battle cries, sword swinging and fantastic scenery that inspired all the pupils.”
Hannah Vaughan, KS2 teacher

Doug Lemov's field notes

Hard to tell from this image but this battle was a clear win for George Bramley

As you probably know I&rsquove been trying to share useful video and analysis of successful approaches to online learning on this blog. One of the big challenges is that synchronous lessons are challenging&ndashchallenging to run limited in terms of how much students can do in a day&ndashwhile asynchronous lessons are hard to make interactive. As I noted last week in sharing pieces of Sara Sherr&rsquos lesson, it&rsquos not enough just to talk about ideas online. Students need to do things to consolidate concepts into memory and to help them maintain focus and engagement.

That&rsquos why I&rsquom so excited to show you parts of George Bramley&rsquos lesson. George is subject leader for History at Brigshaw High School in Leeds, England. He&rsquos done an exemplary job of some pretty important things that I&rsquoll describe briefly before I show you four clips from his lesson.

  1. To me George has done an amazing job of thinking through his lesson from the students&rsquo perspective, a technique I call Double Planning in Teach Like a Champion. It&rsquos evident that he is thinking about how students will receive & process the lesson & he plans constant activity for them in a variety of formats.
  2. He&rsquos designed a student packet that allows them to track and organize their work and for him and his colleagues to hold them accountable and give them useful feedback.
  3. He&rsquos executed all of this with exemplary attention to detail especially regarding his directions. It&rsquos always clear exactly what students are supposed to be doing and how.
  4. He&rsquos done all this in a gracious and warm manner that balances the importance of honoring students time and maintaining a feeling of warmth and connection.

Here for example is the opening minute or two from his lesson and an introduction to the student packet.

I love how transparent he is about what to he&rsquos going to ask students to do and why: &ldquoThere&rsquos a few bits I&rsquom going to ask you to do. I&rsquom going to ask you to type some things into a document. There&rsquoll be times I ask you to pause maybe to give you some time to think about the question I&rsquom posing&hellip&rdquo This makes it clear that he&rsquos very prepared and makes his activities seem valuable. There&rsquos also clarity about mundane things like the materials students will need: the two different colors of pen for example and notebook to write in. He&rsquos easy-going about it but it shows how carefully he&rsquos planned things.

Next there are five minutes when he asks students retrieval practice questions. They jot their answers on their paper and self check. We then pick it up after that when George begins the heart of his lesson.

The word document he&rsquos put in google classroom is a thing of beauty. It allows students to track their progress through the lesson. We&rsquoll see more of it an a minute. For now he asks students to pause the video and write everything they know about the Battle of Hastings in a specific space on the document. You can just see the carefulness of the planning. His What To Do directions here are crystal clear: &ldquoCan you write that into the word document now? Please pause this video now while you fill in that box.&rdquo

Here&rsquos a second clip from a few minutes later:

It&rsquos not enough just to talk about ideas online. Students need to do things to consolidate concepts into memory.

George has planned this out beautifully and built a system for students the track their thinking throughout. First he shares information about Harold Godwinson and William of Normandy. Students take notes as he talks. Then he pauses and asks them to predict what they think will happen. Then he tells the next part of the story. Again they take notes in a designated place but now they compare their guess to the actual events. It&rsquos not just impeccably planned interactions by students but different kinds of interactions. Note taking predicting and arguing why they think so assessing their earlier thoughts. &ldquoWe&rsquore going to do it six times in total, bit by bit teaching you the story of the battle&hellip&rdquo It&rsquos clear and engaging and organized and again his directions are impeccable.

I&rsquove skipped ahead here to two scenes from a a few minutes later in the lesson as George is rolling out the story of the battle. As he goes he&rsquos careful to continually re-orient students to where and how they should be processing the lesson: &ldquoPlease make sure you&rsquore taking notes in that second row box&hellip&rdquo &ldquoYou should now be in box #5&hellip&rdquo Again the writing that students do is constantly changing in variety. Sometimes they are taking notes, sometimes guessing what will happen next at a point where George builds a bit of suspense, for example, when William appears to retreat down Caldbec Hill, will Harold send his men to chase them? Why?

[Yes, incidentally, he will, but it&rsquos a trap! The turning point in the battle. William turns and routs Harold&rsquos exposed infantry with his cavalry. George, if you&rsquore reading this I didn&rsquot want you to think I wasn&rsquot paying attention.]

We&rsquoll skip ahead now to the end of the lesson:

Here George gives students &ldquostretch readings&rdquo and gives them a place to share new knowledge. Then he notes &ldquoYou teachers will check these documents in the next couple of days to see what you&rsquove got right and what you&rsquove got wrong.&rdquo This statement reveals a couple of key things. First that there&rsquos not only an accountability loop&ndashdid you do the work?&ndashbut just as important a Check For Understanding loop- if you&rsquore not getting it your teacher will follow up and make sure you understand. Second it shows that George and his colleagues are sharing the work load of the online world. Multiple teachers use the lesson he&rsquos built&ndasha key efficiency under current conditions&ndashbut then they each check on the progress of their own students.

George wraps things up with a reminder about how to hand the work in and then a nice personal message to students about giving him feedback and even getting outside a bit, establishing a bit of personal connection.

battle of hastings, Double Planning, george bramley, lesson preparation, online teaching, What to Do

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The 14th October 2016 marks the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. It’s one of the most famous battles in our history – but if you were ask us what we learnt about the Battle of Hastings at school, all we could really tell you is that William the Conqueror won the battle in 1066, and that it marked the start of Norman History.

However, while researching our latest creative storytelling kit, Pojo and the Knights of Chepstow Castle, we found that it should be celebrated for so much more. The battle and the historical period it ushered in changed our language, created a lot of our laws and customs and gave us some stunning architecture.

Here, we want to show how you can use the story of the battle and the impact it had to teach your pupils not just history, but much more besides.

Our story features two knights – William Fitz Osbern and Ralph de Gael – who fought with William at the battle. William Fitz Osbern was subsequently appointed as the Earl of Hereford by King William, and put in charge of building a series of castles along the border with Wales from which they could attack the Welsh.

The move transformed castle building in this country, since the new castles were made of stone and constructed using the French style of motte and bailey and . The first castle William Fitz Osbern built was Chepstow Castle, the building of which required the use of levers and pulleys to move the stone materials into place.

Download our supporting materials by clicking the link above. In there, you’ll find a free ‘Build a Castle’ lesson plan, which tasks pupils with drawing a plan view of a castle. If you teach KS2, a possible extension activity could be to have the children redraw their plan using CAD software. For Early Years or KS1, why not try using the included drawing template for castle walls? These can then be attached to cardboard tubes to make turrets, allowing the children to explore different media and materials.


There are a number of literacy activities you can use to help children learn about Norman history and what life was like at that time. The resource link above also includes our lesson plan, ‘Young Knight or Princess in Training’, which sees pupils writing diary entries describing what a day in the life of both might have looked like.

A particularly informative, child-friendly source of information about the Battle of Hastings is The Story of a Conquest by D. Lemaresquier and G. Pivard.


The exact location of the battle site is still a contentious issue all these centuries later, but it’s commonly believed that the current Battle Abbey is built on the site of where King Harold was defeated.

When William the Conqueror landed at Pevensey he sent out scouts looking for a suitable site. A great activity would be to study maps of the area and have the children draw a plan of the battlefield, using physical representations of area’s natural features. This could involve class a discussion as to why William would have chosen that particular site, and the various uses that the surrounding land could be put to.

Further information on the battle site can be found at the English Heritage website or by visiting

Art & Design

The Bayeux Tapestry is the main historical source that people have used to learn about the battle – though technically it’s an embroidery, rather than a tapestry. As can be seen here, the design is not woven into fabric, but rather stitched onto linen.

The original Bayeux Tapestry was created using a couched stitch that’s come to be known as ‘Bayeux stitch’. Straight lines are stitched across the shape, and then held down by a thread stitched at right angles to it, which is in turn held down in places with a small stitch.

To help your children understand the story better, get them to recreate a section of the Bayeux Tapestry. This could be done either by getting the children to paint it (great for the younger ones) or by having them create a tapestry of their own, which will teach them basic sewing skills while exercising their creativity. Bayeux Tapestry pieces can be recreated by taking a piece of linen and sketching a design. Using wool as thread, outline your working area with running stitches.

If you can get different groups to tackle different consecutive ‘scenes’, the end results could look great when mounted beside each other on your classroom wall.

Hopefully these activities will get your children more involved in learning about the Battle of Hastings, and help them remember a little more more about it than just the fact that it took place in 1066…

Some of the activities details above are taken from the Norman Knights Creative Literacy Resource Pack for Key Stage 2 and the Knights and Castles Creative Literacy Resource Pack for EYFS / Key Stage 1, both published by Little Creative Days.

You can download a free ebook version of Pojo and the Knights of Chepstow Castle by completing the form located here

The Battle of Hastings and The Battle of Stamford Bridge – KS3 History Lesson Plan

Download your FREE resource here!
The Battle of Hastings and The Battle of Stamford.

Could the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings in 1066 help your KS3 learners to become better leaders and bosses?

Like all schools, we want to boost the skills of students by making lessons fun and engaging. At Atlantic Academy we do this by using Applied Transdisciplinary Learning.

Alongside this history lesson, which delves into wartime strategy and tactics, our Y7 students are also reminded of the conceptual links their work is making between English and science.

Together, these three curriculum subjects contribute areas of deep knowledge to the overall assignment task, which is to answer the driving question – ‘Is strategy and tactical thinking more valuable than respiration or love?’

Why teach this

The battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings in 1066 can serve as a platform to deliver skills in comparative analysis, evaluative thinking and summarising strategies and tactics.

Battle of Hastings Summary

The 1066 battle of Hastings was a pretty interesting historical event. Of course, there were plenty of other even more epic battles like the battle of Thermopylae or the fields of Verdun. But few can rival this particular encounter when it comes to the sheer cultural impact.

It is hard to overestimate the importance of the chain of events the 1066 battle of Hastings triggered. And if you enjoy looking into these sorts of things, you might want to write essays for money in the future. Today, it’s easier than ever as we have the opportunity to witness this domino effect that the events of the past have. That is the beauty of studying history.

Watch the video: Μάχη του Καλπακίου: Εντυπωσιακή η φετινή αναπαράσταση