Castles and Knights: William the Conqueror

William of Normandy's invasion of England, the Battle of Hastings and the castles William built to protect his throne.

William the Conqueror

The animation tells the story of William the Conqueror’s invasion of England in 1066 and its aftermath.

It starts with the background to the invasion including the claims to the English throne made by both Harold of Wessex and William Duke of Normandy. It continues with Harold's accession to the throne and William's subsequent decision to invade.

The Norman army wins at The Battle of Hastings and William is crowned King of England shortly after.

William then sets about protecting his throne by building a number of impressive castles - the best known of which is the Tower of London.


Teacher's Notes
Map showing the location of castles in this series
Map showing the location of Normandy
Detail from the Bayeux tapestry showing Norman knights and ships
Duke William - outline drawing to colour

Teacher's Notes

Before the video

The teacher could set the scene for what is about to take place using a chronology activity. The class could be asked to stand up and spin around to go back in time - similar to the characters in the video.

They could first go back 10 years and the pupils could be asked what they can see.

They could be asked what is similar / different about the past compared to today.

They could repeat the time travel for 100, 1000 and 10,000 years. This would be supported if the teacher could use images / props / artefacts to prompt pupil thinking.

The teacher could then show some images of medieval Britain so that the pupils have an idea of what the world would have been like when the story takes place.

During the video

During the video, the teacher can stop and ask pupils to think about what they would do in each circumstance.

Would they invade? Why? Why not?

After the video

After watching the video the teacher could use this as a role-play / story-telling activity. Pupils can recreate what they saw in the video and perform their retellings for the class.

The class could ask questions of each character.

The teacher could show a picture of the Bayeux Tapestry and explain that 1000 years ago, many people could not read, so people told stories using images instead.

The pupils could try to retell the story as a ‘tapestry’, which would link to the NC objective in Art of ‘using drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination’.

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 Tower of London
The Features of a Castle
Famous Sieges

See also...

1066: The year of three kings
Song: 'The end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty'
The Anglo-Saxons