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Activities from the Middle Ages

What kinds of things mattered to people in the Middle Ages?

Role cards enable your students to identify what mattered to a range of people in medieval society.

The activity is supported by the Student Text in Section 3 of Medieval Lives Mattered

Standards of Living in the Middle Ages

This review article was published in 1995 but may still be of value on changing living standards after 1300.

How can you spend less time in purgatory?

A simple activity to develop understanding of the importance of religion in the Middle Ages and beyond.

Understanding Feudalism

An introductory activity for KS3 students helping them understand the core feudal relationships.

Thomas Becket Mystery

A physical but non-contact introduction to the murder of Thomas Becket (with card sort activity)

Getting Started with The Crusades

Three activities helping students get to grips with all the names, places and terms encountered with The Crusades – so essential for confidence, when starting a new A level unit.

Events of the First Crusade: helping Y12 understand the course of events

An active, enjoyable way to find your way from western Europe to Jerusalem! Deus Vult


Making Magna Carta Personal

An activity that sets students ‘thinking from the inside’ as barons facing King John.

King John in the Hot Seat

A hot-seating activity that can be used at KS3 or extended for use at A Level. RADA qualifications not required!

King John; The Decision–Making Game

Can your students do better than King John or will they lose their crowns?

Wales and Edward I: Finding a Purpose and an Approach

Reproduced from my article in Welsh Historian

Meet Oswald of Ormskirk, Medieval Physician

Your script for playing the part of Oswald and answering your student’s questions. Apple juice required!

Why was the Harvest So Important?

A brief simulation demonstrating the impact of poor harvests on villagers. Also worth using as background to the Industrial Revolution.

The Luttrell Psalter

An introduction for teachers providing context for using the psalter in the classroom.

The Black Death comes to Allton

Put your pupils into roles, find out who survives and explore the consequences of the Black Death

Did people worry about dirt and disease in the later middle ages?

A favourite activity from the 1990s that may still be useful at GCSE or at KS3

Impact of the Black Death: Changes and Continuities

Hang out the effects of the Black Death on a change–continuity washing line

Medieval public health: News from the archives – Part 1

A summary of the conclusions of two recent academic texts on medieval public health

The decisions of a Kentish villager: 1381

Will your decisions improve life for you and your family or lead to death as a rebel?

Why did People Rebel in 1381?

Put your students into role as villagers facing the aftermath of the Black Death, French attacks and Poll Taxes

Discussing Causation with Year 7

Why was Simon Sudbury's head on a spike?
Use the events of 1381 to get students talking about causation – but where does the purple vase fit in?

Wars in the Middle Ages – what was going on?

The Crusades, the Hundred Years War & Edward I’s British wars – all in one lesson

Why were medieval kings deposed?

A role play – will your nobles depose the king?

Burgundians, Orleanists and Armagnacs: French politics in the age of Agincourt

Making sense of the divisions in France c.1400-c.1435 that aided the English conquest

The Paston Letters: an introduction for teachers

The outline story of the Paston family and their remarkable letters, suggestions for reading, ideas for using the letters in classrooms and supporting PowerPoint slides.

The Wars of the Roses - More Resources

A bundle for The Wars of the Roses at A Level – resources, additional activities and more

Battle cards, tweets and mini-sagas

A set of simple resources and ideas (using the example of the Wars of the Roses) which may be useful for A level teachers – of any topic.

Anne Herbert: A Life in the Wars of the Roses

An introduction to the people and events of 1450-1485 for A level students

The Wars of the Roses – a light-hearted outline!

A structured role-play covering 1450-1487, intended as an introductory activity for A level students.

The Wars of the Roses Part 1: Rivalries and Alliances 1450 – 1455

An introduction to the events leading up to the first battle of St. Albans

Using articles on the 1450s with students

Two activities and articles provided by Helen Snelson that she’s used with her A level students.

Feuds and Alliances: 1452–1455

A brief activity enabling students to work out how feuds led to alliances and how these alliances determined the sides at the first battle of St. Albans.

The beginnings of the Wars of the Roses: 1452–1455

A role–play introduction to the people and events for A level and above

Understanding the Pattern of Events 1455–1461

Three brief activities exploring the pattern of events between 1455 and 1461

Understanding the links between nobles and gentry

An activity from Helen Snelson who teaches in York which helps students understand the links between and pressures on gentry and nobles around 1460.

The Fishpool Hoard: Evidence of Lancastrian Resistance 1461-4?

A puzzle from the 1460s – why was this large collection of coins and jewellery buried?

1471: Why did Edward IV win the crown back?

A card-sort demonstrating how to use the Enquiry Process to help students study more independently and with more confidence.

Why did Burgundy help Edward IV win back his crown in 1471?

This brief role-play explores why Burgundy helped Edward IV in 1471.

How certain are we that Richard III murdered the Princes in the Tower?

A two stage activity for KS3, firstly telling the story of 1483, then exploring the evidence for the fate of the Princes.

Discovering Richard III

An exploration of the 2012 finds in Leicester and what they do – and don’t – tell us.

Richard III and the problem of how to secure the south

A case-study for A level students examining Richard’s options and decisions in the wake of the 1483 rebellion.

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Period Resources


Pre 1066

Norman Conquest

Middle Ages



1900 & After


All activities ]