Wow! I asked the children to write about what they had learned from our topic: The Making of Britain - Anglo-Saxons, Britons & Vikings. From the work that they have produced, I think it is fair to say that we have thoroughly enjoyed learning about this fascinating period of history!
Edward the Confessor was not a popular king throughout much of his reign. Indeed, there was nearly a civil war as many nobles wanted Godwin to be the king instead of Edward, who they felt was "too French". He had spent much of his early life hiding in his mother's homeland of Normandy after all.
After Earl Godwin of Wessex's death, Edward was forced to give Godwin's sons Harold and Tostig the Earldoms of Wessex and Northumbria due to the family's popularity.
Then in January of 1066 AD, Edward the Confessor did something highly inconvenient - he died without any sons or naming an heir.
You are members of the Witanegamot and must decide who will be the new King of England.
There are many people who feel like they show be the king, but the leaders of the Witan have narrowed it down to four candidates.
Choose your favourite candidate and prepare to explain why you think they should be the new king!
The children had a fun time doing their Sports Day activities, which involved:
There was a huge amount of talent on display ; we may have some future Olympic athletes in Charlies.
Check out these striking model Viking shields designed and made by Charlies class!
We completed some research to find more about Viking shields before designing our own. We had to draw and measure the paper to make sure our design would fit correctly onto the cardboard. We added the 'boss' (the central metal part) to complete our shield.
While Athelstan was a favourite of his grandfather (Alfred the Great), he wasn't an obvious choice to become king. He was sent away from Wessex when his father King Edward married another woman. He was raised in Mercia by his aunt Æthelflæd and her husband Ethelred. They taught him how to read, write and fight. He probably led men into battle against the Vikings in his 20s.
When his father Edward the Elder died in 924 AD, Athelstan wasn't a popular choice for King of Wessex. However, he was made King of Mercia - a position that hadn't existed for about 50 years. His half-brother Ælfweard was chosen to be King of Wessex, but when Ælfweard died 16 days after their father Edward, Athelstan became the King of both Wessex and Mercia.
In 927 AD, Athelstan saw an opportunity: Sihtric, the King of York died. Before Guthrith (the Viking King of Dublin) could take over his brother's kingdom, Athelstan led his fyrd North and placed the city under siege. The siege did not last long and in a matter of weeks, Athelstan had completed the work that Alfred the Great had started, that Edward and Æthelflæd had continued: he had reclaimed the entirety of the Danelaw. Athelstan was the first king of what we now call England.
To formally create the Kingdom of England, and establish himself as the most powerful leader in Britain, Athelstan invited four other leaders to meet him at the border of the Kingdom of Strathclyde (at the "confluence of the River Eamont"). With this, he became the first bretwalda since his great-great-grandfather, King Ecgberht of Wessex. Straight after this meeting, Athelstan's retinue rode to Wales and then to Cornwall to accept their oaths. He became the first man to rule the entire island: King of the English and Ruler of All-Britain.
Constantin and Owain were never really happy that they had to submit to Athelstan's rule. Eventually, they stopped attending important meetings in court and in 933 or 934 AD something happened. Historians don't know what it was, but they do know what happened next.
Athelstan marched an army up through Strathclyde and "ravaged the land". At the same time, he'd sent his navy up to attack Caithness in Alba. During the August of 934 AD, Athelstan came down upon the Kingdoms of Alba and Strathclyde "like a thunderbolt". Whatever the "something" was that happened, Athelstan was FURIOUS about it.
After getting payback for whatever Constantin and Owain had done, Athelstan left them in peace with a simple message: 'I am in charge and don't forget it.' For three years, they towed the line and did what he asked of them. All the while, they plotted behind his back...
Constantin and Owain reached out to the Viking of Dublin, Olaf Guthrithson. Olaf's uncle had been Sihtric, the last King of York before Athelstan had driven the Vikings out of England. Together, the three of them built an army. A really, really big army...
In the Summer of 937 AD, the armies of Alba and Strathclyde marched down into Northumbria. They were joined by Olaf Guthrithson's Norse-Irish army (he had recruited from some of the Irish kingdoms too) and began to raid Northumbrian settlements. Around 10,000 warriors traipsed around Northern England trying to stir up trouble.
Athelstan showed patience. He knew that he had to raise all of his fyrd to be able to stand a chance of defeating such an army. He could not race off to war.
Even when he had arrived at Brunanburh, he had to delay the fighting so that the rest of his troops had time to arrive. If Athelstan lost this battle, England would fall.
We also had a go at speaking in Old English (the Anglo-Saxon language) - just for fun!
Today in History, we have been exploring the legacy of Alfred the Great by shining a spotlight on two of his children: Edward the Elder, King of Wessex and his elder sister Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians (say: Ath-el-flad, not Eth-el-fleed).
Children sorted statements about Æthelflæd's life to create a timeline and answer questions. After a discussion about Æthelflæd's life and achievements, the children were presented with four statements with which they were invited to agree or disagree. They needed to use their reading skills to form and justify their opinions. We had lots of interesting comments and discussion. I wonder if you can work out which statement provoked the strongest opinions...