Investigating the Battle of Hastings

Sian Evans
10th October 2017
Image of the Bayeux Tapestry to investigate the Battle of Hastings in primary and secondary classrooms

Engage primary and secondary students with the events of 1066 using these comprehensive resources

The Battle of Hastings, fought on 14 October 1066, is one of the most famous turning points in English history. After a battle lasting over nine hours, William of Normandy and his army defeated the English under King Harold, which allowed William to assume the throne.

To help your primary or secondary class explore the battle that changed the course of history, we’ve hand-picked a selection of resources ranging from introductory overviews to analysis of the Bayeux Tapestry. So, what are you waiting for?

Primary resources

Add a twist to the traditional introductory lesson by engaging budding detectives with this overview presentation, designed as a top-secret case file. Once they have grasped the basics, encourage young learners to role-play the key events of the battle in this news broadcast challenge.

Uncover more about the key historical figures with this enquiry lesson, in which the class vote for who would have been the best king, before finding out how events unfolded. Or, why not compare Harold Godwinson’s and Duke William's claims to the throne with this debate activity? This is a perfect way of developing speaking and listening skills with their peers.


1066 - Battle of Hastings Fact File

A PowerPoint containing key information on the Battle of Hastings, including events leading up to it, presented as a 'Top Secret' case file, with side-by-side comparisons of the Normans and Anglo-Saxons.

Ideal to use at the start of the topic.

There is only sound on the 2nd slide.
By SJCampbell

Battle of Hastings

Full lesson on the Battle of Hastings.
Starter - recap Stamford Bridge - twitter feed ( Pupils were asked to make tweets the lesson before) 1. Main - Interview worksheet, followed by a BBC history video (link is in PPT)
2. Main - role play, news broadcast of the battle
Plenary - Keyword Bingo

If you found the resource useful, please review.
By sonnysimpson

Battle of Hastings

A power point designed to encourage historical enquiry and thinking skills. Works well with Kagan structures. All three of our KS1 classes have used it and we have been impressed with the level of thinking that it produced. We used it as 3 distinct lessons and got the children to vote for who they thought would make the best king and who they thought would have the best chance of winning the Battle of Hastings. We also did a mock Battle of Hastings using the hill on the school field and the children chose which side they wanted to be on whilst I narrated the story.
Updated 5.6.2015 to include differentiated worksheets to go with the powerpoint.
By vivbarlow

Harold Godwinson vs Duke William Debate Lesson

This is a lesson designed to explore Harold Godwinson's and Duke William's claim to the English throne in the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The lesson consists of two fact sheets detailing the claims to the throne from the two men. Half of the class will find out information for one of the men and the other half will fill out the information for the other. They will then prepare a debate and opposing side needs to fill out the other information boxes from the arguments raised in the debate.

See the plan for more details.

By hamdog_

Secondary resources

Contextualise the events of 1066 with this introductory lesson, in which learners analyse the three contenders to the throne. Alternatively, study what happened during the battle by using this cartoon strip outline as a creative way to engage students with the day's chronological events.

For a more analytical approach, explore whether Harold lost or William won with this detailed lesson that looks at the battlefield, leadership skills and elements of luck. And, take the opportunity to examine primary sources when discussing victory with this presentation.


1066 Battle of Hastings contenders

A lesson that introduces the three contenders for the throne and asks students to decide who has the strongest claim.
By chaycraft

Battle of Hastings cartoon strip outline

My students created a cartoon strip detailing the events during the ‘Battle of Hastings’. I encouraged them to include as much blood and gore as they wanted. Might save somebody a little bit of time/ provide an idea for a cover lesson.

By hsw202

Did Harold lose or did William win?

Lesson examining events of the Battle of Hastings and whether Harold lost or William won - pupils encourage to explain what advantages Harold had, how William demonstrated good leadership and the role of bad luck in Harold's defeat.
By alainechristian

Why did William win the Battle of Hastings

LO: Able to use Primary Sources to justify which factor is the most important for explaining William the Conqueror’s victory.

MUST:Know which factors explain William the Conqueror’s victory at Hastings in 1066.
SHOULD: Be able to explain each factor with the use of Primary Sources to support and develop a judgement.
COULD: Begin to form a supported judgement which looks at the limitations of factors.

By W B

Interpreting the Bayeux Tapestry

Discover the intricacies of the famous primary source using this comprehensive resource pack, full of varied teaching ideas to unpack the information it contains. Plus, look in even more detail at how difficult it has been for historians to interpret the events and key figures in the tapestry with this lesson.  

Check understanding with this easy-to-use card sort activity, which allows pupils to match captions to visual scenes from the tapestry. Once students are clear about the events and chronology, use this in-depth lesson to get learners designing their own piece of the tapestry in groups.


Teaching History with 100 Objects - Britain's Bayeux Tapestry

The original Bayeux tapestry is a 70-metre strip of embroidered linen made in the AD 1070s. It tells a version of the events of AD 1064 - 66, including the death of Edward the Confessor and the Battle of Hastings. This faithful replica of the tapestry was made by 35 skilled women embroiderers so that Britain would have its own copy of the tapestry. It allows exploration of the events that led up to the Norman conquest of England in AD 1066 and provides an opportunity to examine evidence in historical sources.

Part of the Teaching History with 100 Objects collection from The British Museum.
By TheBritishMuseum

Bayeux Tapestry Card Sort Activity for 1066

This great little resource / puzzle is designed to help develop students' knowledge of the events in 1066 from the Norman perspective by getting them to match the captions with the scenes from the Bayeux Tapestry. This outstanding story boarding activity will also give students the opportunity to discuss, self and peer assess their understanding of one of the worlds most famous primary sources.

Objective: To sort the story of what happened in 1066 into its correct chronological order using the pictures from the Bayeux Tapestry.

Instruction: Cut out the pictures and captions. Match the pictures to the captions. Then place them in order to tell the story of the key events of the Tapestry. There are 13 captions and 13 images

I have provided two documents for this activity - but you only really need the first one as I wanted to be able to show case the high quality images that I have carefully selected, so that they would photocopy for classroom use in either greyscale or colour.

I would recommend getting students to stick their work on to A3 paper, but they could just as easily span a double page spread in an A4 exercise book.

This activity is suitable for abilities of students, but I have deliberately included some challenge in this activity so that students will have to work collaboratively and look closely at the source.

If you like this resource then why not check out my other resources on this topic in my TES shop. You can also follow 'The History Academy' on Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube and Facebook for the latest updates or even to get in touch and chat about how you have used this resource or to ask questions. We aim to produce cheap and affordable resources for either the price of a good cup of coffee or a happy meal so that you can spend more time doing the things that you want.

Anyway, have fun and stay in touch via social media for the latest updates.

Kind Regards

By Roy Huggins

The Bayeux Tapestry- facts, some events, and group task

Looking on TES I did't see the lesson I was here's my own.
It is a lesson that looks at key facts about the tapestry, then explore some of the events of the tapestry, and then gets pupils working in groups to create their own part of the tapestry too. It was designed to be used after pupils have explored the chronology of the Battle of Hastings

A literacy starter is included as it was linked to a previous piece of work, as well as differentiated resources. There is also a Blooms questioning overview for this lesson/ topic too

By gazza1979

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