Teaching Medieval History? – websites!

There’s no substitute for reading Exploring and Teaching Medieval History – an introduction by Ian Dawson of course. However, knowing how we all need things easily to hand, Henry Walton (@HenryWalton5), Head of Humanities @manorceacademy, has extracted some of the websites and texts it mentions and added others into one handy list. He’s kindly shared it with us…

Objects associated with the Conquest:



www.archaeology.co.uk/ – website with hundreds of news reports about archaeological discoveries of all dates, searchable by keyword such as ‘medieval’, ‘Black Death’, ‘village’ or by place-names.

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/ – searchable list of sites and monuments open to the public in England with information about their archaeology.

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/ – searchable database of important (scheduled) sites and monuments in England with descriptions of their history and archaeology.

www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway/ – portal to online lists of known archaeological sites covering most counties parish by parish and often including detailed descriptions.

www.medieval-graffiti.co.uk/ – 



Lewis, C. (2016) ‘Disaster Recovery? – New archaeologicalevidence from eastern England for the impact of the “calamitous” fourteenth century’ in Antiquity, 90, issue 351, pp. 777-97. http://eprints.lincoln.ac.uk/18907/

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2016.69

Mays, S. (2017) ‘The living and the dead at Wharram Percy: recent reanalysis of some human remains from the medieval settlement’ in Medieval Settlement Research, 32, pp. 56-59.

Ottaway, P and Rogers, N. (2002) ‘Craft, Industry and everyday life: finds from Medieval York’, Council for British Archaeology.

Available online at www.yorkarchaeology.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/AY17-15-Medieval-Finds-from-York.pdf

Waldren, T and Rogers, J. (2001) ‘DISH and the Monastic Way of Life’ in International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 11, pp.357–65. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/oa.574/pdf



www.gatehouse-gazetteer.info/home.html Gatehouse: The comprehensive online gazetteer and bibliography of the castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man

www.castlestudiesgroup.org.uk/ Website of the Castle Studies Group


Norman Conquest:

http://domesday.pase.ac.uk/ its long-term goal is to identify all of the landholders named in Domesday Book, thus laying empirical foundations for a book on landed society in 1066 and the impact of the Norman conquest upon it.

http://www.exondomesday.ac.uk/  aims to publish a facsimile, text, and translation of Exon Domesday freely available online.



There is debate among historians as to how aware the westerners were of this as an opportunity to march into a power vacuum, but there is no doubt that it assisted them. An accessible article was published in History Today, 67 issue 3, March 2017: Nicholas Morton, ‘Was the First Crusade Really War Against Islam?’ At the time of writing it was available online: http://www.historytoday.com/nicholas-morton/was-firstcrusade-really-war-against-islam

The exception to this hindsight bias is a handful of letters written during the crusade. These are invaluable, but a medieval letter sent by one high-born noble or cleric to another was very different from a modern letter. For a start it wasn’t private, it was more like an official report to be delivered publicly. It was carried by a courier and might well fall into enemy hands, so no sensitive information could be included (though it might be conveyed orally by the courier). Look for exaggerations or obvious attempts to reassure. Stephen of Blois’ letter to his wife Adela from Antioch is a good place to start: http://history.hanover.edu/texts/1stcrusade2.html

For a sound narrative account, regularly updated, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade or see: www.historytoday.com/jonathan-phillips/crusadescomplete-history

Podcasts by Jonathan Riley-Smith are available at https://www.history.org.uk/

A search on ‘First Crusade’ will reveal more resources for members.  Similarly, see the BBC History Magazine site at www.historyextra.com

A range of primary sources in translation is available at: http://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/Halsall/sbook1k.asp#

The First Crusade (Stephen of Blois’ letter from Antioch is at http://history.hanover.edu/texts/1stcrusade2.html

For secondary sources, follow the links at deremilitari.org for (a rather random selection of) articles. For biographies of modern historians of the crusades, see www.crusaderstudies.org.uk   (The site is ‘under development’ but has not recently been updated.)

You should also look at www.youtube.com/results?search_query=first+crusade  – if you don’t, be sure your students will!


Edward I:

 Michael Prestwich, ‘Edward I (1239–1307)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/8517

There are also entries on other major figures in this period. There are also a number of articles on Edward I and his reign on Oxford Reference Online. 90% of UK public libraries offer free remote access to ODNB and ORO:  http://global.oup.com/oxforddnb/info/freeodnb/libraries/

There are some excellent, freely available, downloadable resources on Edward and Wales on the Open University Welsh History and its Sources unit (including some primary sources): www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/history/heritage/welsh-history-and-its-sources

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) Scottish Archives for Schools has a unit on the Scottish Wars of Independence (including some primary sources): www.scottisharchivesforschools.org/WarsOfIndependence/Index.asp



www.Agincourt600.com  The site originally created for the 600th anniversary. Includes a week-by-week account of preparations from the Parliament of November 1414 to the king’s entry to London on 23 November 1415.

www.medievalsoldier.org  Includes all names found on the muster and retinue rolls and sick lists for the campaign, in a database of English armies from 1369 to 1453, as well as details on all of the indentees of 1415 and information on the French army in an Agincourt 600 section.

The University of Southampton has a Future Learn course on Agincourt. Many of the sections are available freely on-line. See www.futurelearn.com/courses/agincourt/0/steps


Reading in the Middle Ages

http://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/  – website which provides excellent introductions to the major genres of late medieval writing, and some of its main themes.

http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/  – blog which discusses both individual manuscripts and types of books available to medieval readers and now in the possession of the British Library, always with beautiful accompanying images.


Feelings and attitudes

The Luttrell Psalter film brings to life scenes from the Psalter and exemplifies a wide range of feelings and attitudes. The feeling of seeing the Psalter brought to life is enhanced by the fact that it has music but no voices as the soundtrack. See: www.luttrellpsalter.org.uk/

The history of emotions is now a flourishing field of study with Queen Mary, University of London, for example, hosting a now well-established Centre for the History of the Emotions. See: https://projects.history.qmul.ac.uk/emotions/



Discover over 350 expert podcast covering medieval Wales, Scotland and England, Crusades, medieval monarchs, Norman Conquest, Magna Carta, medieval Christianity in Europe, Peasants Revolt, All the Edwards, Hundred Years’ War, Wars of Roses, Agincourt. Start your journey here: http://history.org.uk/go/medieval


The Historical Association is committed to supporting teachers’ historical knowledge. There are a vast range of resources to help at www.history.org.uk. Why not sign up for an HA Fellowship programme for Rolls Royce CPD with academic historians and other history teachers? See the website for details!



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