Focus on Domesday

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Tasks

Old place names

signpost

Domesday Book gives the names of many places that are still around today. Are there any Saxon or Norman place names in your area?

One Battle - two Stories

archer

It is 1090. You are an old Norman soldier who fought at the Battle of Hastings. Your grandchildren want to know what happened. Tell them what happened from your point of view. How would your version of events be different from that of a Saxon soldier?

Can Domesday Book be trusted?

Make a list of all the reasons why Domesday Book might not give a very accurate picture of life in medieval times. Think about the details that are missing.

The Day of Judgement!

Bible

‘Domesday’ means ‘Day of Judgement’. There is a passage in the Bible that talks about what will happen on the ‘Day of Judgement’. Try to find this passage. It is near the very end of the Bible (Revelation chapter 20, verses 11-13). Read it. Why do you think Domesday Book was named after the ‘Day of Judgement’?

A Domesday Book for today?

Write a modern Domesday Book entry. Write your own entry for your local area or a town or village of your choice. List the questions you would need to ask. Think about the best way to collect the information. How would you present your findings? What things could people in the future find out from your entry?

What have the Normans done for us?

Norman church

The Normans made their mark on England in many ways. They gave the English language many French words. They left behind buildings built in a Norman style. Visit a church or cathedral that was built in the early part of Middle Ages. Find out about the history of the church and whether there are any Norman parts still surviving. Round arches and doorways tend to give you clues about a building’s Norman roots.

Visit a castle

Norman castle

Why not visit a castle? Check that is was a proper castle though, and not one just built to look like it. You could try the Tower of London, Totnes Castle in Devon, Chepstow Castle, Clifford’s Tower in York, Bunratty Castle in Northern Ireland, or White Castle in Gwent. Find out how the castle was defended. If you were on the outside, how would you attack it? Remember, do not include methods from other times. Find out what life inside the castle would have been like for a knight, a lord, a lady and a servant.