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2 hours
Monday June 17 at 9.30am EST/ NZ
Historian and weapons expert Mike Loades presents this program on the Middle Ages.
By ‘going medieval’ he hopes to explore and expose some of the misconceptions
about the period.
The program deals with a myriad of topics: castle building, weapons and armour,
trade, markets and manufacturing, hunting, food, farming, hygiene, medicine and
This program could be used in small doses as introduction or data for a unit of work
on the Middle Ages. It should engage students. It is very hands-on, practical history
and will appeal to students of all ages.
Denis Mootz
This is the data collection stage of the activity.
The detailed questioning is designed to ensure that students decode the visual and aural materials
presented to them in the video.
The video programs can be stopped at the end of each section. This will allow students to share and
discuss answers.
Note the various events mentioned as happening in the Middle Ages.
Note the time span of the Middle Ages.
Act 1.
Note the focus. Why has Mike Loades chosen this period?
Note the description of the intention of a castle.
Note the description of an early castle and its reason for existing.
How much territory could a castle control?
Who were knights?
Note the equipment and weapons of the knight.
Why was daily training necessary for knights?
Note the use of the pell. Implications?
Note how the shield is used. Implications?
Note the tactics of ‘tight’ sword fighting.
Note details of the code of chivalry. Implications?
Note the building materials and techniques being used at the castle at Guedelon.
Who was the most important person on the castle building site?
Note the other jobs on the site.
Note how the stone was lifted?
Note details of the crane. Implications?
Note details of the ‘finished’ castle.
What were ‘mason marks’? Implications?
Note how the stone was leveled.
Act 2.
Why was transport by ship so common?
Note the design of the cargo ships.
Note how the “cogs” were steered.
Note the origin of the nautical terms ‘starboard’ and ‘port’.
Why was the design so important?
Note the details of the medieval centre in Denmark.
What is available in the market?
Why was communication difficult?
How did you avoid being cheated in the market?
Note details of the pillory. Implications?
Why were criminals branded?
Why was urine used for dying cloth?
What gave the colour to the ‘mix’?
How was urine collected?
Why was manufacturing ‘labour intensive’?
Where were most goods produced?
How was the medieval night illuminated?
Note the life of the tavern.
How was a tavern different from an inn? Result?
How is the popularity of taverns indicated?
Why did some women wear yellow hoods?
How did you travel on land?
What is a ‘travelling’ horse?
What is the advantage of the ‘amble’ gait? Result?
What was a packman?
Why was so much firewood needed? Result?
Why was it dangerous to be in the forest at night?
Why were people armed at all times?
Act 3.
Note details of mail armour.
What other layers were worn with mail? Why?
What long-range weapons existed?
Note the power of the English ‘war’ bow. Implications?
Note the role of archers at the Battle of Crecy in 1346. Result?
How does Mike decide that archers shot at close range? Implications?
Note the test used to measure the ‘blunt’ trauma impact of the long bow.
Note details of the textile armour worn under mail.
What sort of damage was being done by the impact of the arrows? Result?
Why was a “coat of plates’ used? Result?
What advantage did plate armour provide? Result?
Note the ‘mobility’ of the armoured knight. Implications?
Act 4.
What role did hunting play in medieval life?
Why was hunting a passion for knights?
Why was hunting regimented and ritualized?
Note the rituals of the hunt.
Note the role of the hunt master.
Why were deer droppings important for the hunt? Result?
Note the use of hunting dogs.
What was the role of the relay or ‘long’ dogs?
What was the role of the pack dogs?
In what sense was the hunt like a military campaign? Result?
Why was wild boar more prestigious to hunt?
Note the boar spear.
Note details of the test of the boar spear.
Note the use of the mastiff dog.
What happened to the ‘kill’ after the hunt?
How were the dogs rewarded after the hunt?
Act 5.
Why was falconry more preferred and prestigious than other forms of hunting?
Note the cadge, or carrying frame, for spare birds.
Why was the falcon hooded?
Why was the falcon kept fed-up?
Why was the falcon “under the thumb” and “wrapped round the little finger”?
Note the weapons of the lone hunter?
What skills were required?
What was a ‘stalking horse’? Result?
Why couldn’t ‘regular’ people hunt in the forest?
Note details of the medieval feast.
Why was meat scarce?
What was the main source of protein?
How were fish ‘bred’?
Why were ‘dishes’ wrapped in pastry?
Note the staple drink.
Why was ale safe to drink?
Note the other dishes on the menu.
What was the etiquette of eating without a fork?
Act 6.
Note the use of pigs.
Why were they pannaged? Result?
What other advantage was gained from pannage?
Note the use of geese.
How did the geese assist the owner of an orchard?
What else were geese used for other than food?
What percentage of people worked in agriculture?
Note the role of oxen.
Why were resources ‘pooled’?
Note the use of the yoke.
Note details of the ‘heavy’ plough. Result?
Note how the land was divided.
What was the staple crop grown on the land?
What was the grain used for?
Act 7.
Note details of the ingredients of medieval soap.
Note how clothes were washed.
How was dirt forced out of cloth?
Note the soap available for the wealthy.
What was used for toothbrushes and toothpaste?
Why were herb infused beads carried by people?
Note the process of being ‘bled’ by leeches.
What were the humours?
How were humours kept in balance?
Note the derivation of the term ‘disease’.
Note the events of 1348 -1350 in Europe.
Note the uniform of a plague doctor. Result?
Note details of the transmission and impact of the Black Death.
Act 8.
Note the thickness of the castle wall at Guedelon. Implications?
Note details of the counter-balance trebuchet.
Why were they given names?
How long between ‘shots’ of the machine?
Note what was fired from the trebuchet. Result?
What was the most important defense against siege?
How did defenders fight back against the siege?
What is the archers ‘paradox’? Result?
Note details of ‘escalade’.
Why couldn’t you just push the ladder away from the wall?
What is a murder hole?
Act 9.
Note the use of the vaso ‘gun’.
What did early guns ‘fire’ as a projectile?
Why were gunners considered unchivalrous? Result?
Note the use of ‘guns’ by the English at Crecy in 1346. Result?
Note how guns became cannons.
Note how gun ‘barrels’ evolved.
Note the use of the breech pot.
Note the eventual impact of the gun.
How did the people of the middle ages see themselves?
Note Mike Loades’ comments on ‘going medieval’.
Useful, interesting, challenging, books, sources and websites will provide materials to supplement and
complement the History presented in the video program.
The data collected here should be used in the notemaking below.
Some useful Internet sites:
Middle Ages:
Mike Loades:
Guedelon Castle:
By kids for kids:
Play the game:
Pell training:
Battle of Crecy:écy
By kids for Kids:
Food and cooking:
Health and hygiene:
Black Death:
Early guns:
This is the collation stage of the activity. Students need to organise the field of information and begin to
explore its context.
Directions and /or Inquiry questions are provided for notemaking / summary exercises that
will follow the viewing of the video.
The materials / data for the summaries have been collected above.
The activity could be done in teams, groups, or by individuals, or as a class with teacher direction.
1. Draw up a timeline / chronological chart of the events described and discussed in this program.
2. Note details of the Middle Ages.
3. Note details of the construction and design of a medieval castle.
4. Note details of the weapons and tactics of medieval warfare.
5. Note details of medieval knights and the code of chivalry.
6. Note details of trade and transport in the Middle Ages.
7. Note details of manufacturing in the Middle Ages.
8. Note details of hunting and falconry.
9. Note details of medieval food and cuisine.
10. Note details of health and hygiene in the Middle Ages.
11. Note details of agriculture and animal husbandry.
12. Note details of early guns and cannons.
Key issues and inquiry questions that have been raised by the video are addressed at this stage for
discussion and research.
1. Why was there so much emphasis on war and fighting in this period?
2. How different was the life of the rich and powerful from the life of the ‘ordinary’ people?
Questions of reliability and validity of the perspectives, evidence and sources presented in the video
program need to be considered, tested and researched.
1. Note any details that Mike Loades provides about medieval life that seem to contradict the
usually accepted beliefs.
2. What has Mike Loades learned from “going medieval” that he could not learn from a book or the
The key issues and inquiry questions are potential topics for debate, essay writing, reports, historical
recount and explanation.
1. Write a REPORT on trade in the Middle Ages.
2. Make a model (or draw) and label a medieval castle.
3. Draw up an ‘instruction’ book for an army wanting to besiege a castle.
4. Make a list of the materials you would need if you had to organise a medieval feast.
5. Describe the life of the various people in medieval society.