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Teaching the Terrible Tudors

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#1 Lesley Ann

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Posted 01 October 2006 - 09:58 PM

Well I started the Tudors with a bang this year:

We have covered What was England like in 1500? Describing life in 1500 with animal noises (wolves, wild cats, wild pigs, sheet, cattle...) We have role played the vagrants and made beggar posters.....created an estate agent guide to the houses of the rich Tudor gentry and tradesmen, wrote essays on why the people were poor?
This week we are planning a Tudor themed party for celebs which means the students have to create costumes, banquets and entertainment to win the contract to host a celeb party. ]

This will be followed by one of Ian Dawson ideas of having a Family Tree.......each student to be involved to explain the Tudor and Stuart Dynasty....

......then the class will be hosting Tudor Blind Date......in a quest to find out which Queen deserves to be 'Henry VIII's best wifey'.....I've made picture cards to hold up and created questions and prepared the answers in true Blind Date style:

So here is the role play:

Theme tune plays: (hum, sing)

Here’s your host with the most, a legend in her own lunchtime. Its your fool for the evening, Cilly de Black.

Thanks, our Jester, and welcome to a very special edition of Tudor Blind Date.
As we’re all aware our dear king, Henry VIII, has died and we’re all really cut up about it.

Still our Lord does move in mysterious ways and this gives us a great opportunity to play a very special edition of the game. Our contestants will be playing for more than just a Queen’s crown. They will play for the crowned title ‘Henry VIII’s best wifey!’

So without further ado, let’s bring in our young ladies.

Cilly: What is your name?
1. Catherine of Aragon
2. Anne Boleyn
3. Jane Seymour
4. Anne of Cleeves
5. Catherine Howard
6. Catherine Parr

Question 1: How did you come to marry Henry VIII?
Question 2: How good was your marriage to Henry VIII?
Question 3: Why did your marriage go wrong?

Catherine of Aragon
Answer 1: I am Catherine of Aragon, a Spanish princess. As a devout Christian I spend a lot of time praying. I married Henry VIII in 1509. I had once been married to Henry’s older brother Arthur, who died before he became king. Henry and I were married for 24 years. We had six children but only one survived my daughter Mary.

Answer 2: I was a humble and loyal wife to Henry. I used to make Henry’s shirts and to his dying day, he never lost his taste for black-thread embroidery around the collar and cuffs that was known as Spanish work. I was a great Queen. When Henry went off to fight in France in 1513 he left me as Regent (in charge) and I won a battle against the Scots at Flodden Field, where King of Scotland, James IV (Henry’s brother-in-law) was killed.

Answer 3: The lack of a male heir disappointed Henry who began to neglect me. This led to frequent quarrels. Although Henry was having affairs he was still a loyal husband until he met my lady-in-waiting Anne Boleyn who wormed her way into his affections. When I found out he wanted to divorce me, I wrote to the Pope. I hoped he could help because my nephew was Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. When Anne got pregnant Henry rejected the power of the Pope in England and our marriage was annulled in 1533. He said that the bible forbade marriage between a man’s wife and his brother. I still insist that my marriage to Arthur was never consummated. I am the true Queen of England; I refuse to be known as the Princess Dowager of Wales.

Anne Boleyn
Answer 1: I am Anne Boleyn. I was lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine; I gradually won Henry’s affections at court. Henry found me exciting and tempestuous. My sister Mary had once been one of Henry’s mistresses, but I was determined to be his Queen.

Answer 2: I can prove Henry loved me; he hated writing letters and when I was away from court he wrote me 17 love letters in his own hand. When I became pregnant Henry and I married in 1533. I was crowned Queen. We expected a son but our daughter Elizabeth was born. I had further 4 pregnancies which ended in stillbirth or miscarriage.

Answer 3: Henry was very disappointed at the lack of a male heir. We began quarrelling. I am very strong willed and frequently tongue-lashed earls and dukes. I accused him of having affairs. He called me a witch and said I was being unfaithful. Enemies at the court plotted against me. Henry’s affections switched to my own lady-in-waiting Jane Seymour. I was arrested for adultery, incest and treason. I was beheaded by the sword in 1536.

Jane Seymour
Answer 1: I am Jane Seymour. I was lady-in-waiting to both Queen Catherine and Queen Anne. I won over Henry by refusing to have an affair with him. It is said he liked me for being plain and ordinary. I am quiet, calm, soft-spoken and very submissive. Henry wanted a quiet life after his marriage to Anne.

Answer 2: Henry and I became betrothed within 24 hours of Anne’s execution and we married in 1536. I did not have a coronation, but when I pregnant Henry catered for my every whim. He said I was his first ‘true wife’. I gave Henry the much wanted son and heir he desired, Prince Edward in 1537.

Answer 3: Just two weeks after the birth of our son I died. Henry buried me in St George’s Chapel. I am the only wife to be buried with him. Henry mourned me for two years before he remarried for the fourth time. Henry truly loved me!

Anne of Cleeves
Answer 1: I am Anne of Cleeves, a German princess. Hans Holbein painted my portrait and Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s chief minister arranged my marriage to Henry VIII. We had never even met.

Answer 2: I was really not suited for life in an English court. I was not into the poetry or music that was popular at Henry’s court, my skills were all domestic.

Answer 3: We married in 1540. When Henry saw me he said I was too plain and nicknamed me ‘the Flanders Mare’. He divorced me. I was given the honorary title the ‘Kings sister’ and given property, Hever Castle that had once belonged to Anne Boleyn. Thomas Cromwell was blamed for the match and executed.

Catherine Howard
Answer 1: I am Catherine Howard, niece of the Duke of Norfolk and first cousin of Anne Boleyn. I came to court to be a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleeves. I am petite, plump and pretty. I knew how to attract men and had had several lovers before I married the King. When Henry saw me it was love at first sight!

Answer 2: We married in 1540 sixteen days after he annulled his married to Anne. I was 19 and Henry was 49. I lifted up the King’s spirits. Henry had gained a lot of weight and was dealing with the ulcerated leg that was to pain him until his death. I was the vivacious young girl who brought back some of Henry's zest for life. The King lavished gifts on me said I was his 'rose without a thorn' and the 'very jewel of womanhood'.

Answer 3: When we married I was still a young woman and Henry was middle-aged, fat and ugly. I had many admirers and was a bit of a flirt! No one can blame me for wanting the company of young handsome men! Rumours at court circulated that I was being unfaithful, Henry at first did not believe the claims, but he found evidence of my earlier affairs and said I had been unfaithful. He had me beheaded in 1542.

Catherine Parr
Answer 1: I am Catherine Parr and twice widowed. I was well known for my learning and overall sensitive caring nature. I was also interested in the rising Protestant faith. I had been considering marrying Thomas Seymour, the late Jane Seymour’s brother. I turned him down to marry Henry VIII in 1543.

Answer 2: Henry's health had been declining and I was more of a nurse than a wife. I looked after him and his children. I managed to soothe the King's temper and bring his family closer together. Although I was scarcely older than the Princess Mary, she, Elizabeth and Edward, saw me as a stabilizing mother figure. I arranged for the best tutors for the children and encouraged them in their learning.

Answer 3: In 1545 I wrote a book called Prayers Stirring The Mind Unto Heavenly Meditations. Henry was jealous of my success and I was arrested for writing about religion, something only men should discuss and decide. I saved myself by admitting to Henry that he was so much stronger than I because I was just weak and feeble woman. I outlived Henry who died in 1547.

Cilly: What a difficult choice! Any one of our lovely maidens could be awarded the title ‘Henry VIII’s best wifey’. We don’t expect you to choose straight away. Here’s our Jester with around up of our contestants.
Will it be wifey number 1: Catherine of Aragon
• The devout Spanish Princess who was married to Henry for 24 years.
• She ruled the country well as Regent and even beat the Scots at the Battle of Flodden.
• She stitched all his shirts, will she be the one you want?

Will it be wifey number 2: Anne Boleyn
• The lady-in-waiting with the feisty temper.
• She’s the one he wrote love letters too.
• Watch out! He called her a witch and she lost her head!

Will it be wifey number 3: Jane Seymour
• Plain Jane won Henry’s heart by refusing to have an affair.
• Quiet and submissive Jane gave Henry his much wanted son.
• Sadly she died shortly after the birth, and if buried with Henry VIII.

Will it be wifey number 4: Anne of Cleeves
• The domestic princess from Germany who portrait caught Henry’s eye
• He thought her too plain and was repulsed by the very sight of her
• Will this ‘the Flanders Mare’ be your choice?

Will it be wifey number 5: Catherine Howard
• The flirty teenager who brought old Henry back to life
• He called her ‘his rose without a thorn’
• Will this jewel who lost her head be the Queen of your heart?

Will it be wifey number 6: Catherine Parr
• The merry widow Tudor – she outlived our King
• More of a nursemaid than a wifey
• Catherine brought the family together in his final years

Cilly: Well audience time to make your choice. Remember, you need to vote for the contestant you want to be ‘King Henry VIII’s best wifey’. You must give reasons why you’ve voted for her and reasons why you haven’t voted for the other contestants
After results
Just remember the final decision of Tudor Blind Date is not legally binding.

Homework: Write a letter of complaint or congratulations to the show. This will depend on whether or not your contestant won OR design a film poster for a film about Henry VIII and his six wives. Which celebrities will play the roles?

Please share some other interesting ways to keep year 8 awake and interested in History!
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#2 JaneMoore


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Posted 02 October 2006 - 08:04 PM

Brilliant Lesley Ann.

I have done a similar exercise for Elizabeth's suitors - dressing up in silly hats (the boys all want to put on the tiara/crown). it always goes down a storm.

My only slight problem is that none of them remember Blind Date any more! I don't watch Celebrity Love Island et al, so Im unsure of the formula (and suspect it may be a bit too salacious for Year 8) but is there any way we could adapt a modern game show formula to similar circumstances?

Suggestions gratefully received.

#3 Andrew Field

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Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:35 PM

Not that I watch it - I (seriously) hasten to add - but might Big Brother (said in a Chris Wilde accent) be the answer to this?

Could be somehow linked with the evictions?

Serioulsy though - do they really not know Blind Date? I played the theme tune to my Year 7s last year and they all knew it. Obviously this won't be forever, but I think you may well have a few years in it yet.

Generate your own versions of my games, quizzes and eLearning activities: ContentGenerator.net

#4 Dan Moorhouse

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Posted 03 October 2006 - 07:15 AM

If they don't know Blind Date, the content can be easily adapted to The Weakest Link.

#5 JaneMoore


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Posted 03 October 2006 - 09:08 PM

I only asked them if they knew Blind Date, I didn't play the theme tune, which of course might have helped. I have the tune on an old tv theme tunes CD - I'll try that. I like the Weakest link idea too. Thanks.

#6 Lesley Ann

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 07:13 AM

so far I've never come across students not knowing Blind Date...they certainly know the tune....so it still has life in it yet.
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#7 MichelleWest


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Posted 05 October 2006 - 06:26 PM

I did Blind Date this year with my Year 8 students and it worked really well and they loved it.

Another idea I used last year which worked really well was with Elizabeth. I gave the students a description of Elizabeth written when she was 60 and they drew pictures from it and coloured them in. We then compared their pictures to the official portraits that were published. Discussing what was the role of these pictures and why they were so different from the ones which they had drawn. The kids really enjoyed it.

I tried to attach the description and powerpoint used but it won't let me!! If you let me know how I'm willing to share these resources (as others have helped me). The PowerPoint needs a little updating - I wrote it last year as an NQT!


#8 Lesley Ann

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 08:44 PM

Last lesson we recreated life in the monastery....from Ian Dawson's website....on dissolution of the monasteries.....and then shut it down. Was very good, the children had even made props!

Next lesson:
Which Monastery to close down?

Spent hours at the weekend researching the actual allegations made against monasteries in Yorkshire and the NE (for a local history perspective)...anyway...I managed to find enough information to make reports. The students have got hold of the reports/findings made by the inspectors and must decide which monasteries have been breaking St Benedict's rules and should close....they are to advise Henry VIII. They complete a chart cross checking the rules of St Benedict....and tell him how much revenue the monastery would bring the crown.

They then decide to save one really holy monastery and write a pleading letter to Henry VIII on behalf of the monastery.

All the monasteries are closed....given actual dates...holy or not.........and the students must then write down how they feel about Henry closing the good monasteries down.

Extension: write a BBC breaking news bulletin on the closure of the monasteries........either the scandal findings or how holy monasteries were being closed to increase the coffers of the crown.


Guisborough Priory – Augustinian Order

Location: 50 miles north of York – in the North Yorkshire countryside
Population: A community of 24 monks.
Income: 500 crowns a year.

This rural Priory in North Yorkshire is famous throughout Yorkshire for its vegetables which it sells to traders far and wide. It is well maintained and the monks are heavily involved in helping the poor and needy in the community. They give food and shelter to travellers and pilgrims. The monks educate children and spend time copying out manuscripts.
They are a simple God fearing community whose members live in severe poverty. The monks fast regularly and eat plain meals. They dress in simple, rough clothes. The monks sleep in dormitories and have just a mattress, blanket and pillow. Indeed there are stories that some of the monks died during last years famine. The report could find no flaw in the morality of Guisborough monks.

Whitby Abbey - Benedictine Order

Location: On the North Yorkshire coast – north of Scarborough
Population: 22 monks live there
Income: Around 437 crowns.

This Abbey was once famous throughout the land for its building which has now fallen into disrepair. The community was once thriving and gave generously to the poor and needy. The monks now tell the poor to go else where in order to save money. They also charge patients for using the hospital. They charge travellers for staying at the Abbey and ask for large donations to educate children.

Most of their money comes from fishing and boat building but recently there is evidence that the Abbot is allowing monks to gamble in order to raise funds for repairs. The monks eat simply and sleep in dormintories. They dress in simple, rough clothes. The monks are trying to live according to the rules under very difficult circumstance.

Rievaulx Abbey - Cistercian Order

Location: By the River Rye near Helmsley in North Yorkshire.
Population: 22 monks
Income: Around 351 crowns a year.

The monks were quizzed on all aspects of life, from their food and clothing, to the observance of the Rule of St Benedict, their attendance at the Divine Services, and the administration of hospitality and charity.

The Abbey is well maintained. There is clear evidence that the original Cistercian practices of strict observance according to the letter of Saint Benedict's rule had been abandoned in favour of a more "comfortable" lifestyle. The monks have been given permission to eat meat. The monks have their own private living accommodations some of the monks bedrooms are richly decorated, and the Abbot has a substantial private household, where some of the buildings are covered in fine tapestries and jewels. The monks do not have the time to help the poor or sick.

At least one monk has been accused of immorality with women. There is also clear evidence of that the monks use superstition, holy relics, miracles and cults to dupe people into paying the Abbey large amounts of money.

Kirkstall Abbey - Cistercian Order

Location: 3 miles from Leeds in Yorkshire
Population: 31 monks
Income: Around 329 crowns a year.

The monks run a small hospital for the local poor, it is often full – they also have a good reputation in the local community for helping the poor although they have been known to turn poor from other areas away.
The monks have been raising funds for the Abbey by telling the local community that the girdle of St Bernard will help women who are in childbirth. Many women have been duped by this lie.

Fountains Abbey - Cistercian Order

Location: 2 miles of Helmsley, in North Yorkshire
Population: 28 monks
Income: Around 1115 crowns a year.

This Abbey was built in the valley of the little River Skell. The monks here are known as ‘the white monks’. As a Cistercian Order they live a rigorous daily life, and are committed to long periods of silence, they eat very little, and wear the regulation habit of coarse undyed sheep's wool (underwear was forbidden), which earned them the name "White Monks

The lay brothers relieve the monks from their routine jobs. The monks make a lot of money from the Abbey's vast flocks of sheep, which live on the huge estate stretching westwards from Fountains to the Lake District and northwards to Teesside. The lay brothers encouraged the monks to extend their business. The Abbey never recovered financially from the Black Death in C13th and has huge debts. The buildings are in much need of repair.

However it has been claimed that the Abbot is a fool and an idiot for his poor administration of the Abbey; it is said he is ruining the Abbey and wasting its timber. It has been claimed that the Abbot has been immoral with women. Furthermore, we heard he had sent his chaplain to the monastery’s treasury at midnight, to steal a jewel, which he then sold to a goldsmith.

The investigations also found evidence of misconduct and immorality within the community. Several monks have been found living with women as if they were married.

Many local families would pay good money to take over the lands owned by the Abbey and the businesses run by the monks.

Durham Priory - Benedictine Order

Location: Durham City
Population: 20 monks
Income: Around 250 crowns a year.

This small Benedictine Order of monks looks after the body of St Cuthbert whose shrine is in Durham Cathedral. The Priory is built by the River Wear and is generally in good condition although some of the monks’ dormintories are in desperate need of repair. Many pilgrims visit the shrine of St Cuthbert and leave generous gifts and donations. The monks give shelter to the pilgrims.

A God fearing community where they dress in plain clothes, fast regularly and eat plain meals. The monks run a small hospital for the local poor and have a good reputation for helping the poor, old and sick. There is also a leper hostel from by the monks in nearby St Leonard’s which is not very popular with the locals. The monks also run two schools; a grammar school and a choir school. The monks copy out manuscripts. The report could find no flaw in the morality of Durham Priory.

Lindisfarne Priory - Benedictine Order

Location: Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland
Population: 15 monks
Income: Around 200 crowns a year.

This Priory was founded by St Aidan and once the home of St Cuthbert. Lindisfarne is famed as a centre of learning and culture - The Lindisfarne Gospels are rare and priceless manuscripts. This small community of monks live quietly on Holy Island. The Priory church is richly decorated, featuring the famous 'rainbow arch' - a vault-rib crossing tower. The monks dress in simple rough clothes and sleep in dormintories.

The Priory make their money from selling beer, the monks are very skilled brewers of Lindisfarne Ale. The Priory is a favourite amongst pilgrims who regularly visit and leave genenerous gifts and donations. The monks encourage pilgrams and have private guest rooms for pilgrams to stay.
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#9 Elle


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Posted 14 November 2006 - 08:54 PM

Next lesson:
Which Monastery to close down?

Wow! That looks really great. I think I will have to do some research into my local monasteries - Thoney, Ramsey, Peterborough and Crowland. I have some info on Peterborough and Thorney. Was there any particular website you used Lesley?

You're scared of mice and spiders, but oh-so-much greater is your fear that one day the two species will cross-breed to form an all-powerful race of mice-spiders, who will immobilize human beings in giant webs in order to steal cheese.


#10 Dan Lyndon

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 09:12 PM

Excellent ideas Lesley Ann, I hope you will also be introducing your pupils to the Black Presence in Tudor times by doing the activities on bh4schools about Elizabeth I's attempts to exchange the Blackmoors for English prisoners held by the Spanish: Black Presence in Tudor times. You can start off with the fantastic image of the Drake Jewel and link in Empire, Armada and Black British history all at once.
Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

#11 Lesley Ann

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 09:20 PM



English Heritage website has a teacher info sheet on Lindisfarne in PDF

http://cistercians.shef.ac.uk/ for Rievaulx, Fountains, Kirkstall....

I've uploaded the worksheets....students given a blank copy of the chart to complete themselves.
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#12 Elle


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Posted 14 November 2006 - 09:27 PM



English Heritage website has a teacher info sheet on Lindisfarne in PDF

http://cistercians.shef.ac.uk/ for Rievaulx, Fountains, Kirkstall....

I've uploaded the worksheets....students given a blank copy of the chart to complete themselves.

Thanks Lesley!

You're scared of mice and spiders, but oh-so-much greater is your fear that one day the two species will cross-breed to form an all-powerful race of mice-spiders, who will immobilize human beings in giant webs in order to steal cheese.


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