Castles and Knights: Famous Sieges

Fatima and Harry learn how castles defend against attack by hearing the stories of two famous sieges: that of Dover Castle in 1265 and of Edinburgh Castle in 1571.

Famous sieges

In this episode Fatima and Harry learn how castles defended against attack by hearing the stories about two famous sieges - that of Dover Castle in 1265 and of Edinburgh Castle, beginning in 1571.

The animation explores the techniques used to attack castles and some of the strategies that were employed in defence - including having a source of water inside the castle, huge stores for food and plenty of livestock within the castle walls.

The film also references ‘the lives of significant individuals in the past...and events', including two women - Eleanor de Montford and Mary Queen of Scots.

Depending on where in the UK this is being taught, it would also meet the National Curriculum objective of ‘significant places in their locality’.


Teacher's Notes
Dover Castle
Castle outline drawing to colour
Eleanor de Montford - outline drawing to colour
Edinburgh Castle

Teacher's Notes

Before the video

The teacher could show the class a picture of a castle. The pupils can then work in small groups to come up with as many ideas as possible for attacking it.

Each group can then present their ideas to the class. The teacher can use this to explain some elements of chronology - some things hadn’t been invented when the castle was built!

During the video

The teacher can use the video to run a ‘guess what happens next’ style activity as the story of the sieges continues.

The teacher could support pupil thinking by providing statements and asking if pupils think this will happen / not happen and explain their answers.

This will help to develop the historical skill of interpretation and also helps with the predictive skill used to develop reading.

After the video

After the video the teacher could use this resource to practice storytelling which leads to writing.

Pupils could use the stimulus of the video - perhaps even the characters involved - to tell a fictional story about their castle being attacked (or being the attackers).

This can then be used to practise writing sentences based on their story.

The video also brings in different parts of the UK - Dover, London and Edinburgh.

This could be used as part of a geography activity to target the objective of ‘name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas’. Pupils could draw pictures of the castles on a map of the UK, labelling the countries and identifying the flags.

Build a castle! This would fit with the Art NC objective of ‘using a range of materials creatively to design and make use drawing...and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space'.

Curriculum Notes

This film is relevant for teaching History at KS1 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 1st Level in Scotland.

More from this series

The Features of a Castle
The Legend of King Arthur
The Real Life of a Knight