Lesson 2 – Medieval timelines

Lesson 2: Medieval Timelines
Teacher’s cheat
The Normans conquered England in 1066 and King William’s descendants ruled for
over 400 years. That same time period plotted backwards from now is around the year
1600. That was long before the Great Fire of London – in the reign of James I.
1. Start with the Battle of Hastings (1066). Do they know when it was? The first
person to say the correct date may write it on the paper. Relate William’s reign to the
age of your pupils. He ruled England for twenty-one years – what year will it be when
they are twenty-one years older? How much could happen and change in that length
of time?
2. Now add William Rufus (1056–1100) and his brother Henry Beauclerk (1068–
1135). If someone was born when William Rufus inherited the throne (1087), how old
would they be when Henry I died in 1135? Do any of the class have parents, aunts or
uncles of this age?
3. Extend the line to the reigns of Richard I and his brother John – 1189–1216. If your
class has already covered this period in previous history lessons, you could also
include the dates of the Crusades for instance, and discuss the Magna Carta.
4. Add Henry III at 1216 at the age of seven. His actual personal rule began eleven
years later. What have your pupils done in eleven years? Do they think that Henry
would have been mature enough to rule England at the age of eighteen?
5. Add 1272 and Edward I, King of England (to 1307). Encourage pupils to add any
interesting events they have found in their textbooks, such as Edward expelling Jews
from England in 1290 or William Wallace defeating the English army in 1297, then
Edward defeating him the following year at the Battle of Falkirk. How long had
http://education.hodge.continuumbooks.com © Susie Hodge (2010)
Resources for Teaching History 11–14. London: Continuum.
Edward been king by then?
6. Select someone to add Robert Bruce, crowned King of Scotland in 1306 and
gaining independence from the English in 1328. Can pupils imagine fighting for over
twenty years? If Robert was crowned when they were born, how old would they be
when he gained independence for Scotland?
7. Another pupil should add 1307, Edward II becoming king. Next, Edward III rules
for fifty years, from 1327 to 1377. Do pupils know anyone who is fifty, or older? Do
they know what Britain was like fifty years ago?
8. The next addition to your timeline should be Richard II becoming king in 1377.
During his twenty-two year reign, the Peasants’ Revolt in England occurred in 1381.
In 1394 Richard leads an expedition to Ireland. In 1396, when he was twenty-nine, he
married the seven-year-old Princess Isabella of France. Discuss why he would have
done this. In 1400, he was murdered.
9. Add 1399, Henry IV; 1413, Henry V and 1422, Henry VI. Henry VI was still a
baby when he became king and his reign ended in 1461. Discuss with the class the
different durations of their reigns and ask them to associate the lengths of time with
things that they can relate to. Welcome original, but pertinent suggestions.
10. Choose another pupil to add the Battles of Mortimer’s Cross and Towton (both
1461) where Richard’s son, Edward of York, defeated the Lancastrians and became
king; Edward IV, King of England (to 1483)
11. Add Henry VI, imprisoned by Edward IV in 1465. You could give them dates of
Warwick turning against Edward and restoring Henry VI and Edward IV defeating
and killing Warwick in 1471. Add Henry VI dying, probably murdered in the Tower
of London and Edward IV dying in 1483.
http://education.hodge.continuumbooks.com © Susie Hodge (2010)
Resources for Teaching History 11–14. London: Continuum.
12. Finally, in 1485, Richard III becomes king when he was supposed to be guardian
to his nephews but the boys, Edward V and his brother are never heard of again, after
they are taken to the Tower of London. That same year is the Battle of Bosworth Field
when Henry Tudor, with men and arms provided by Charles VIII of France, defeats
and kills Richard III.
http://education.hodge.continuumbooks.com © Susie Hodge (2010)
Resources for Teaching History 11–14. London: Continuum.