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The Saxons, Vikings and Normans

Interactive History School Visits, Workshops and Learning Activities

Let us bring the WOW factor into your classrooms with our fun and informative Dark Ages learning days.  We can bring this to life with our interactive workshops throughout the day covering the period from the last Roman army leaving Britain in AD410 to the conquest of England by William the Conquerer in 1066.

We love working with primary and secondary schools across Sussex, Surrey and Kent on their Ks1, Ks2 and Ks3 history curriculum topics. 

The Dark Ages

With the last of the Roman soldiers gone Britain was vulnerable and weak and the Angles, Saxons and Jutes from Northern Europe invaded the east of the country.  They eventually won control of all of England and until AD793 when the first Viking raid occurred the kingdoms of Britain lived in relative peace.  The Norsemen were so successful in their raids that eventually then controlled most of northern England which they called the Danelands.  The Saxons and Vikings continued to fight and live alongside each other until in 1066 Duke William of Normandy invaded England and killed the last Saxon king – Harold, at the Battle of Hastings.

 

"I thought the archery was amazing because the arrows went so high they nearly dissapeared into the sky"

- Student

 

Artefacts Created for Workshops

For our Saxons, Vikings and Normans school visits we have researched and recreated the following artefacts for use during your day: 

  • Full sets of chainmail armour as would have been worn by the warrior elites fighting in the shield wall.
  • The weapons they would have carried in to battle, the swords, axes, spears and daggers as well as the round shields that would have been used in the shield wall.
  • Samples of chainmail and boiled leather that would have been used in the armour of these warriors and the iron and weapon steel that would have been used to make his swords and axes.  See our copies of the famous Saxon Sutton Hoo helmet and the Viking York helmet.
  • A full set of fur-on skins and skulls to represent the animals the warriors would have hunted in their free time including bear, wolf, European bison and elk, fox, badger, otter, beaver, lynx and roe and red deer
  • The clothing, jewellery and everyday items that the warrior and his family would wear and use at home
  • The corn querns used for grinding down grain into flour
  • A flint and steel fire lighting kit to make fire the old way 

 

Activities Agenda

During Saxons, Vikings and Normans history workshop your class will: 

  • See teachers dressed as a rich Saxon noble in all his fine fighting equipment from full chainmail shirt, beautifully crafted helmet, jewellery and expensive sword and shield and an ordinary Saxon warrior/farmer with his simple spear, leather helmet, shield and bow and arrow, fighting for his lord and a chance for his family to get a bit of land to farm for themselves.
  • Go outside for a fire lighting demonstration and to witness how high and far a traditional bow can shoot.
  • Imagine what life would be like training as a warrior and using hunting as a way to train for war as well as supply meat to feed the army.  We can illustrate this with the wide range of reproductions of the equipment that we have made in exactly the same way our ancestors did.
  • Are your students strong enough to lift up our adult chain mail shirt? Then they can try on the helmets and chainmail and hold the shields, swords and spears we have made to fit them.
  • Small shields and foam swords for everyone to use to learn shield wall tactics.  Students can advance and attack their teachers whilst the teachers fight back with large foam balls.  Do you think you and your friends could form a shield wall in a real battle?
  • Enjoy a handling session with the animal furs of everything from a European bison to a bear, wolf and roe deer. A fun quiz where your students try to match 5 furs and 5 skulls with 5 pictures of different animals follows.
  • Everyone can have a turn on the corn querns to get a feel for what hard work it is to mill flour. All part of life's ‘daily grind'!
  • Visit the Saxon lord at home with his wife and children and their slave who looks after them. 
  • Watch your teachers being dressed and armed as a Viking warrior from the Battle of Stamford Bridge and a Norman knight from the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  Learn how the Normans under William the Conqueror beat the English to become our first Norman king.
  • Take part in a question and answer session to finish the visit and reinforce the day's learning. 

 

"I really enjoyed learning how to grind wheat"

 - Student

 

History Resources Box

To enable you to make the most of our visit we provide a History Resources Box* filled with interesting items from your chosen time period absolutely free. This complimentary box will arrive one month prior to your booking and we will collect it at the end of our visit. (Or you can choose to have it for one month after our workshop.) Boxes might include various items from arrow heads and clothing to fire lighting flint and steel, plus all those little items they needed for every day living. Teachers have found these resource boxes brilliant for helping with their programmes of work and lesson plans.

*We regret we can only provide History Resources Boxes to schools within a 10 mile radius of our location at this time (Horam, East Sussex).

 

Full Day or Half Day School History Workshops

School visits can be booked for: 
Full Day 09:00 AM - 15:15 PM* - £550+ VAT 
Half Day 09:00 AM - Lunch (For schools within 15 mile radius of TN21 only) - £350+ VAT

Mileage fees of .50p plus VAT per mile will apply to schools that are beyond a 15 mile radius of TN21. 

*You may choose to cover 2 different time periods in a full day as a cost-effective way to teach different year groups on the same visit.

Don't forget we cover a whole range of historic periods from Stone Age to WW2. 


Contact us  today and also ask us to put together a special Bespoke History Day.  We have just done one called "The Plague and the Fire of London" and another focusing on "Thomas à Becket and Henry II".

We are based in Horam, near Eastbourne in East Sussex and typically work with schools across Sussex, Surrey and Kent.