Feuds and alliances 1452-1455:
Understanding the sides at St. Albans in 1455
This is intended to be a simple activity in which students explore how feuds helped to determine the opposing sides at the first battle of St. Albans.
It can be used to build up the alliance chart on p.47 of my A level textbook.
The stages of the activity are:
1. Create groups of 6 students per group – each student represents an individual or family. Identification will be easier if they each wear a tabard with their ‘character’ name. If the class doesn’t divide neatly into 6s then have more than one Neville and/or Percy. The core six are:
York; Somerset; Exeter; Cromwell; Percies; Nevilles (could be Salisbury and Warwick).
Then give each person their role card identifying who they are hostile to. See below for these cards.
2. Students read their own cards then move around within their own group of 6, talking to possible allies to see what they have in common – the idea is to identify mutual hostilities. This will lead to the conclusion that alliances were built on these mutual hostilities.
[So if you have 4 groups of 6 – then there are 4 groups each moving and talking separately in different parts of the room]
3. After the end of a set period of time (5 minutes maybe?) students should stand in alliance groups – one group for each set of 6 students.
4. Then ask students to explain their choices of allies – this oral stage is vital for articulating and clarifying the reasons for choices. Simple statements such as ‘I’m allied with x because …’ is all that’s needed.
That’s it – not complicated but hopefully helpful and motivating.