Year 7

What is history?


There are countless websites on the Battle of Hastings and it will be useful to look at them before writing your assessment. There is also a game on the battle which is always worth playing.

Links from the schoolhistory website

Interactive maps and a variety of information about the battle.

The Battle of Hastings game

A games website with Hastings amongst one of the choices.

Comments made about the battle

The BBC site which offers some excellent information.

Fairly detailed site from Eyewitness History

The clips below will further develop your understanding of the battle.

The clip above is a great song about the battle.

The assessment which Year 7 students write is similar to many written at key stage 3.  The battle is just one event but it can be seen from different perspectives. Did William of Normandy win or Harold Godwinson lose? Some Year 7 students may think this is the same thing. If you look at a sporting event, (a football match is generally a good example), opinions usually differ on referee’s decisions and which team deserved to win. Logical thought is taken over by emotion. As historians we have to try and dismiss this emotion and work out what actually happened. History is usually written by the winners so most sources argue that William won the Battle of Hastings. He may well have done but historians need to argue both sides.

The assessment requires that sufficient evidence is included for both arguments. To gain a high grade in the piece you need to include interpretations of the evidence available. Did one particular decision made by either Harold or William swing the battle towards either one winning or losing, or even both? Who made the better decisions? Or was it just luck which determined the battle? At the end of the argument you should judge yourself what happened. Remember to support your judgment with evidence. The highest grades however require a student to show a high level of understanding in addition to the development of interpretations. This means that research is a must.

How did William the Conqueror keep control of England after becoming king?

William may have become king on Christmas Eve 1066 but it did not mean that everybody agreed with the coronation. Many nobles swore oaths of loyalty to the new king but others fled and prepared to fight back. William used a variety of methods to control the people of England, although his violence actions are more well-known. Use the resources below to find out more about his reign. What mistakes did he make? What alternatives did William have? Importantly, are William’s actions wrong by today’s standards? Were they normal practice at the time?

Several teaching activities on William’s reign.



A detailed website explaining the development of castles.

How do you attack a castle?

How to capture a castle?

The following clips are from Lord of the Rings. The movie maybe a fantasy adventure but some of the castle defences and weapons are accurate enough. Can you spot them all? How strong are Helm’s Deep defences?

The reason why castles changed is because enemies found different methods to attack them. If they improved their weapons the inhabitants had to improve their defences. The clip below explains the different methods of attacking a castle. You should try to think of the changes made to the castle in response to the new weapons.

There are many clips available on Youtube and various video websites about castle development and warfare. You can learn a great deal from them especially the vocabulary. Your lesson time is restricted so you will only access a limited amount of information. The more you read the greater your understanding. This will ultimately improve your assessment grade and your thinking skills. Below is just a selection which I think are relevant.




A simple game for primary or secondary sources.


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