Active Learning on


This is a monthly(ish) selection of resources, books and research on the medieval world.

Some items were created for classroom use, most were chosen to help increase teachers’ confidence in teaching about the Middle Ages – and some just because I enjoyed them.

Added August 2018

Professor Carole Rawcliffe:
The Form and Function of Medieval Hospitals

Despite the specific title, this lecture illuminates medieval thought and attitudes in general, exploring how thought and religion were central to the development of medical care. There’s 35 minutes of illustrated lecture plus questions and answers e.g. at 41 minutes the importance of not being condescending to medieval people over public health. The last question provides a brilliant example of the difference between medieval and modern thinking about medical care

See the lecture HERE …

Dr Eleanor Parker:
‘Superstition’ and the Middle Ages

An excellent short discussion of the problems surrounding the highly misleading and problematical use of the word ‘superstition’ in relation to the Middle Ages and particularly in GCSE Medicine specifications. Don’t be put off by the headline – the article itself is essential reading for challenging common misconceptions about medieval thinking.

See the discussion HERE …

Royal Holloway Citizens800 Project:
Resources for schools

The page introducing their resources for schools is HERE …

And their YouTube channel is HERE …

Don’t be put off by the references to AQA as the resources are useful to everyone.

They include short videos on Magna Carta, the development of Parliament and 1381. (And if you have never heard of the battle of Sandwich the animation is worth a look for the demise of King John and the departure of Prince Louis!)

Professor Sara M Butler:
Just how lawless were the Middle Ages?

Violence is one of those topics that are central to popular perceptions of the Middle Ages. Many people, including students, believe that the Middle Ages was an age of unrestrained, unthinking violence. In this article, Professor Butler explores with gusto some of the issues central to this misconception

See the article HERE …

In addition, Professor Butler discussed her book Forensic Medicine and Death Investigation in Medieval England in a question and answer session on the website of writer and historian Candace Robb. The topic may sound intimidating but once you’ve read that Professor Butler originally wanted to call her book CSI: Medieval England you know it’s going to be enjoyable as well as illuminating and you MUST read the story of 2 year-old Roger, son of Gervase

Read the Q&A session HERE …

Professor Gwilym Dodd:
Medieval Parliaments

A very clear outline in 4 pages of the development of parliament to c.1500, context for those occasional references to parliament in Key Stage 3 and for students at GCSE and A level.

See the outline HERE …

In addition the History of Parliament website here contains biographical articles on all individual MPs, articles on each constituency and parliament and also on the development of parliament in each period.

Visit History of Parliament HERE …

Dr Dolly Jorgensen:
Medieval public health and our perceptions of the period

Dr Jorgensen is a leading environmental historian whose doctorate was on urban sanitation in England and Scandinavia from 1350-1600. A number of her articles on public health in medieval England are available online.

See the articles HERE …

The articles include a critique of Dan Snow’s BBC programme on medieval London in the Filthy Cities series in 2011. The article here demonstrates how misleading a picture that programme created – worth reading for both the evidence about public health and the broader discussion of how negative interpretations of the Middle Ages are a product of assumptions about patterns of progress.

Download the PDF HERE …

Historical Association:
Resources on the later Middle Ages

Resources for KS3, GCSE and A level created by teachers on the HA’s Teacher Fellowship programme, including resources on the Paston family added August 2018.

See the resources HERE …

New Material on The Wars of the Roses

New material in the Wars of the Roses section of this website can be found HERE …


This Page

August 2018 Update

Wars of the Roses:
New Material


Exploring & Teaching Medieval History

Download it from the HA website HERE …

And see the contents pages HERE …