KS2 Music: The Anglo-Saxons. 6: 1066 - The year of three kings

Tutorial: 'The end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty'

Tutorial: 'End end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty'

The activities during the tutorial include:

  • Listening to and clapping along to the steady beat. Identifying how the tempo of the song is slow.
  • Looking at the contrasting jumpy, fast rhythms (eg ‘Let us now return...’) and more steady word rhythms (eg ‘And find out what becomes...’) of the first verse. Clapping the different rhythms.
  • Recognising and practising the rising pitch sequence - ‘The times are always changing...’ - in the chorus.
  • Identifying the places in each verse when the music rises in pitch and practising singing these sections (in lines three and seven).

Song: 'The end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty'

Song: 'The end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty' (Vocal)

Key elements of the song are:

  • Tempo: the song is slow, reflecting the solemn content of the lyrics.
  • Rhythm: contrasting 'jumpy', fast rhythms and more steady rhythms.
  • Pitch: the rising note patterns in the verses and chorus.

Click here for the lyric sheet (pdf).

Song: 'The end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty' (Children's choir)

Song: 'The end of the Anglo-Saxon dynasty' (Backing track)

You can also choose to sing with the Children's choir version of the song - good for encouraging your group to join in.

Once you have learnt the song you can polish your performance by singing with just the Backing track version.

Drama: 1066 - Year of the three kings

Drama: 1066 - Year of the three kings


When Edward the Confessor died in January 1066 there were three claimants to the throne of England: Harold, Earl of Wessex; Hardrada, King of Norway and William, Duke of Normandy. It is believed Edward had agreed that William should succeed him as king; it is also believed that he may have changed that decision in favour of Harold. Whatever the facts, Harold succession was confirmed by the witan on the day of Edward's burial.

Harold knew that he would face opposition. First he was attacked by Hardrada in the north, where Harold won a decisive victory at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Almost immediately he learned that William had invaded on the south coast and began the long march southwards.

The two armies met at the Battle of Hastings. The Anglo-Saxon dynasty came to an end and the time of William I - 'William the Conqueror' - and the Normans began.

Click here for the episode transcript (pdf).

Music activity

Focus: Pulse - or strong beat - that runs through a piece of music / Clapping a rhythmic pattern

  • Consider how different lyrics - or word patterns - create different rhythmic patterns in the music.
  • Nigel claps different word patterns, using words and phrases from the song.
  • Next pupils just read the words on the screen and hear their rhythms (without the presenter saying them).
  • They then clap them back.
  • Encourage pupils to listen carefully and to clap together and in time.

Full details of the music activity in the Teacher's Notes.

Listening music

Click on the link right for the Listening music to appraise

A medieval, portable organ played by Catalina Vicens

YouTube link. Watch first 2 minutes.

  • The organ existed in Anglo-Saxon times, played in large churches and cathedrals.
  • An organ at this time could have been small enough to carry, or it could have been enormous, such as the organ in Winchester Cathedral, where it is believed that sixteen men or boys were needed to pump on the bellows to keep enough air flowing to the organ pipes.
  • This music is played on a very small organ - so small that you can balance it on your knee.
  • The keys of the organ are played by the fingers of the right hand, while the left hand pumps the bellows at the back of the organ to make a sound.
  • Is this music happy or sad? What do you think of when you listen to this music? What sort of Anglo-Saxon occasions do you imagine this type of organ might have been used for?


Teacher's Notes