Good morning, the Time Crashers are going to take part in a Medieval Jousting Tournament. The run time for this episode is 46:17.
The year is 1468 and it was a year of peace in England. It was one of the few years of the Wars of the Roses that did not have fighting in it. The Time Crashers find themselves in Derbyshire and at a jousting tournament. They are squires serving the knights. The ten Time Crashers are divided into two teams: Red and Black. They are competing with each other to prepare the knight for the tournament. The tournament allowed knights to practice their war games. War games were not a sporting spectacle. It was a way for young men to flex their muscles. Even the King participated in these tournaments.
Keith Allen takes charge of the Red team and reads out the Time Crashers’ guide. It is here that they learn they will compete for the Black Team. Chris Ramsey of the Black Team sizes up the competition. Being a squire was a man’s job. So women are going to be considered as men for this period. Kristie Alley is delighted that she is in a masculine role because her status would have been raised.
The team meets up with the men who will be in charge of them. The boss will make sure that everything is followed. The Blacks and the Reds compete with each other, and the team that wins the competition will be treated to a feast. The losers get nothing. The Time Crashers then meet up with the Knight. The Time Team signs the indentures. Germaine is taking his new role seriously. Kristie is liking the period. 1468 would have given the people a chance to lift their lot.
The squires’ work is at the heart of the Knight’s success. It was not just the joust itself that determined the winner. How the knight behaved. How the people beneath the knight behaved. How clean the armor was. How the knight looked on his horse. There were plenty of factors that determined the winner of the joust.
The Reds immediately set to work. The Time Crashers will have five hours to prepare the knight. They are preparing the lance and it is twelve feet long. The blacks are struggling to divide up the jobs. Louise and Fern will work with the horses and it is here that Louise takes charge. Germaine will work with the knight’s kit.
Kristie works on the knight’s shield and she is trying to match the Knight’s crest. The Reds are coming together well. They each have a different set of skills and are voicing their concerns when necessary. The Blacks are working on polishing the knight’s armor. The boys chat about the life of a squire and the knight. Louise and Fern are at loggerheads over cleaning the horse.
Time continues to go on. However, there is a concern in the camp that the knight is not well enough to take part in the joust. One of the men will have to take the jar of urine to the barber-surgeon. Barber surgeons cut hair, pulled teeth, and cut off limbs. Urine played an important role in determining health. The barber-surgeon determined that the knight is well enough to fight. The Red team works on cleaning the horse. Kristie is in her element cleaning the horse. Keith and Greg take the Red Knight’s armor in for maintenance.
The Time Crashers worked through the morning without eating and they come to eat. Eating was a communal affair. Knights and Squires lived by a strict code. Keith goes off to find fruit for the vegetarian on the team. However, the theft did not go unnoticed and Keith is told off by the knight. Meg enjoys her ill-gotten fruit. Knights and squires were required to live by the code of chivalry. In two hours the joust will begin. The reds have raced ahead while the Blacks have fallen behind. Will the Blacks manage to catch up? Who will win the tournament? Which team will emerge victorious? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
This was a fascinating look at knights and tournaments. It was good to look at the life of squires. This would be a good episode to show in the classroom.
Good morning we are continuing the series Europe in the Middle Ages. In this episode, we will be learning about Monks and Heretics. The run time for this episode is 52:44.
The Middle Ages was a highly religious period and there was no salvation outside the church. People feared hell during these times. They also feared the final judgment. The stained-glass windows testify to the devotion of the people. The people longed for eternity while at the same time fearing the damnation of hell. Gothic stained-glass windows are among the most beautiful works of art that come from the Middle Ages. Today, those windows are carefully restored piece by piece.
Monks for the most part were unknown. In this episode, we will follow the life of a monk Edward. He was a monk in Scotland and it is 1308. He is a novice and Edward the Confessor was his patron saint. He was seven when he went into the monastery. His parents were poor and it would have been the only chance he would have had to learn to read. He studied and copied manuscripts.
The treasure of knowledge was held in the church and monastery. This episode goes into the chained library. The books were so important they were chained to walls. The monasteries were self-sufficient places. One academic team explores one monastery plan. Was this plan a master plan for all monasteries? The team uses computers to test this out on a variety of terrains. Perhaps this is where the origins of town planning are found. They were a place for monks and marketplaces.
We go back to the monk and he almost burns a book. He had drifted off to sleep while reading. The monk panics about burning the book. He was sent on pilgrimages to see if he could get a new copy of the book. This is his way to atone for burning the book. He was off to Santiago de Compostela and the grave of St. James the Apostle. Here the documentary talks about the people in the Middle Ages taking pilgrimages. He is making his way to Castile on foot. How did the pilgrimages know the way? Where would they spend the night?
A priest makes his appearance and brings out a treasured manuscript: a book about the pilgrimage. The book described the country and the people. It talked about the costs of the journey and where good food and drink could be found. It was the travel guide for the pilgrim. It was the young and old who went on this journey. Even today you can still walk these roads. Along the way, pilgrims could spend the night at a hostel. Everyone was taken in and the monks carefully looked after the pilgrims.
Edward the Monk finally made his way to the cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. Here he would have seen an incense burner that would have been swung over the people. St. James the Apostle was buried in the cathedral. Pilgrimages were a big business in this city and the pilgrims spent their money and gave generously to the cathedral. Edward repented of burning the book, however, his mission was not done yet. He went on to Toledo to find a copy of the book he burned. He makes his way to La Manche and sees the windmills. These are the windmills that Don Quixote would tilt at. It was also here that Edward would see a solar eclipse.
Edward finally arrives in Toledo. Toledo was a place of three cultures: Muslims, Jewish, and Christian people who lived together side by side. Here they worked together to translate books. It is also here, that Edward found a copy of the book he had burned because of his foolishness. The librarian said he could have a copy of the book if he could find a copy of the book in his library. Will Edward be able to find a copy of the book he burned? Will Edward the monk make his way back home? Tune into the rest of the episode to find out more!
This is a pretty cool series. I enjoyed following the story of Edward the Monk. This would be something to show more for fun in the history classroom.
Good morning, we’re going to look at Europe in the Middle Ages. The first episode covers knights and tournaments. The run time for this episode is 52:30.
The Middle Ages were often considered a dark and dreary time. Four estates lived during this time: knights, monks, peasants, and beggars. This series follows the lives of people from each level of society. You will see the Middle Ages through their eyes. What was the reality of that? However, it is a time when the modern age was born. So what can we discover about the Middle Ages through these groups? Was the Middle Ages all that dark?
The first episode of this series covers the night. One knight on horseback was worth eighty men on foot. They were the military elite and inspired ideas of chivalry, manners, and courtesy. They were well-armed and went to war as vassals of their lords. They risked their lives in tournaments to gain honor. This episode explores the life of a knight. He is a man who has no land or serfs. His father’s lands will pass to his older brother. The knight has to find his way. He leaves his family in Portugal and goes north. He is joining up with the Teutonic Knights to fight against the remaining heathens in Europe.
In 1335, you were never far away from the castle. It was the symbol of Medieval Power. A knight could be assured of hospitality and shelter. This is when the documentary talks about the Guedelon Castle. This is a historical rebuild of a castle. The plan is to build a castle using 14th Century Techniques. The foundation stone was established in 1997. Over 50 craftsmen have been working on the castle. Florian Renucci is overseeing the construction and he speaks about the progress of the castle for this documentary. The workers on the castle had to learn and rediscover historical methods. There is a good discussion on the tools that were used, what materials were used, and the techniques that were rediscovered. There was a discussion as to the workers developing the five-day work week. (To learn more about this historical experiment watch Secrets of the Castle! By 2023 the Castle should be finished.)
The knight continues to travel with his page. The page aspires to be a knight and the knight demonstrates what could happen if the page did not keep up with his watch or his training. They continue to travel the countryside, experiencing castle after castle. The Castle was the greatest status symbol a knight could possess. Archeologist Mathew Johnson has examined many castles and could give a picture of their military value. Johnson examines Bergen Castle and points out that it was not built for military purposes.
The knight then enters his first tournament in Flanders. He was thrilled with entering the tournament. Every novice had to enter as many tournaments as he could to raise his status among his peers. John the King of Bohemia was hosting the tournament. He had to declare his colors and show that he had the required noble ancestors. The melee was the first tournament event. Knights were not supposed to be killed in the melee, instead, the knights were to be taken prisoner; it was used as a practice for war. Will our knight get past this first test?
Tournament books describe the events and the rules of the tournament. The knights also competed for the praise of beautiful ladies. The ladies gave out the prizes. The knight in the story participates in the joust. He challenged the King of Bohemia. In this section, there is a discussion of the risks that the knight would have faced in the joust. The test involves a crash test dummy fighting with a lance under tournament conditions. Will the knight be victorious? Tune into the rest of this episode to find out more.
This documentary reminds me of the Storm Over Europe series I had done earlier in the year. In that series, we followed the story of an individual from a tribe who watched the fall of Rome. That was an excellent series, and this series is starting off strong as well. I would use this episode in a middle school history class.
Good morning, we will continue with our Thirty-One Days of the Time Team continues with a trip to Hooke Court. The building is now used as a school.
The Time Team is investigating a school that was built in the Middle Ages. It is currently used as a school and the teachers would love to tell their students about their school. Time Team has three days to find out more about their school. The Hooke Court School was built on a ridge of high ground and would have been good for occupation. The Time Team has an excellent area to work with. What will the Time Team find out about the school?
Geophysics is working on the site immediately. Tony learns more about the school archives. There is plenty of names and evidence available that tells bits and pieces of the school. However, none of this information is really concrete. Was this building built during the Civil War? An architectural historian does not believe so. He sees traces of a Medieval building. There are different styles of windows which further tells the story of Hooke School. Perhaps this building was part of a Medieval manor house and was part of a surviving bit.
However, there could be 500 years of building in the ground. The Doomsday Book records that there was a manor house on the site. The Time Team talks with the retired deputy headmaster of the school. He shows the Time Team photos of a demolished wing of the school. The old wing of the school was part of the medieval manor house. When the house was demolished, the remains were carted away. The building was two floors and would not be considered a medieval hall. Trench One goes to find out more about the medieval building that once stood there.
The geophysics results come back and are showing some good results for the Time Team. John Gater is thrilled with the results and carefully explains the results. There is good evidence of walls and even a fireplace is shown in the results. Legend tells the story that there was a fire during the English Civil War that destroyed much of the building.
It only takes seconds before the first finds are found. There are pieces of roof found with nails remaining in them. Tony catches up with Jonathan a historian who takes a look at the archives. He talks about the owner of the houses and about the English Civil War. Phil continues to make finds in Trench One, fining roof tiles, fine glasswork, and pottery dating back to the English Civil War. Time Team is starting strong with the dig. They found evidence of the building as well as evidence of a moat.
A second trench goes in and immediately a wall is discovered. This wall is very different from what was originally found. It is even different from what Phil has found. So the trenches will have to be extended to see if these are two different buildings. The Time Team will have to carefully unpick the different phases of building on the site. What will Day Two and Day Three bring for the Time Team? Will the Time Team locate the great hall? What will the students learn about their school? Tune into this episode of the Time Team to find out more!
This was a cool episode to watch and it was cool to see the students be involved with the dig. They were even helping with geophysics on the site. So this would be a good episode to show in class especially when the English Civil War is being covered.
Good morning, Thirty-One Days of the Time Team continues with the Birthplace of the Confessor. This time, the pressure is on the Time Team, as the whole village gets in on the dig. Town pride and Time Team clash in this episode.
Islip has a claim to fame. It is said that it was the birthplace of Edward the Confessor. The Time Team needs to find the chapel that was built in his honor as well as the palace where he grew up. The problem is that the town has never been dug before. It will be a tall order for the Time Team and they have three days to solve this mystery. Is Islip the birthplace of Edward the Confessor?
Edward the Confessor is famous for keeping the country safe during his reign and for Westminster Abbey. He gained the name “Confessor” after his death. In the meantime, Mick Ashton is talking with the villagers who invited the Time Team to dig in their village. Tony is skeptical because there were no Saxon finds in the village. This is the first time there was a dig in the village.
Stewart Ainsworth and Helen Geake are working together to figure out where the chapel was built. Ainsworth talks about the challenges map makers had back in the back day. Mapmaking was not a precise science because the makers and surveyors were relying on local knowledge. John Gater works on the chapel site. The chapel area was not an easy area to survey or use geophysics. The chapel site is in a lumber yard so there will be delays. The Time Team helps unload some wood.
The chapel could be anywhere. It could even be in the yard of the pub or a local garden. The owner permits the Time Team to dig some test pits. The house may hold a clue as to where the chapel was. The house was called Confessor’s gate. The wall is less than 100 years old, however, there was a head stuck into the wall. Did the locals recycle something found and stuck it in the wall? It is just another mystery that Time Team will need to solve.
The Confessor’s gate site may hold some better clues for the Time Team. The plans of the land show something akin to a chapel. One of the test pits will be extended to see if there is something to the house plans. Time Team will have two possible chapel sites to examine. Day one has mixed results. The site in the lumber yard is proving to be disappointing. A new map discovery is providing the Time Team with new guidance on where to dig for the chapel. One site is in a church graveyard, so they will need some special permission to dig in the graveyard.
Tony explores more of the history of Edward the Confessor. Edward the Confessor left no heirs which lead to the Conquest. In 1161 he was made a saint. When he died he left the palace in Islip to a monastery. The monastery then built the chapel to recognize the birth site of Edward the Confessor. Is there anything that remains of the chapel or the Saxon palace?
Will the Time Team find the chapel of Edward the Confessor? Will the Time Team find Saxon pottery to keep the villagers happy? Tune in to the episode to find out more.
This was an enjoyable episode to watch throughout. It was interesting to learn more about Edward the Confessor. Islip was proud to be part of Edward the Confessor’s story. Additionally, the Time Team brought in a variety of sources to determine the location of the chapel. This would be a good episode to show when English history is discussed.
Hello, our tour through Secrets of the Castle continues in Episode 3. Our time travelers Ruth, Peter, and Tom explore how a castle was decorated. When we think of castles, we just think of a barren place that is cold and drafty. However, this archeological experiment is proving otherwise. Castles could be richly and colorfully decorated. The material that early castle decorators used came from the earth. Ruth, Peter, Tom continue to explore the Medieval World.
The castles people visit now are a far cry from what they were when they were in use. They had tile floors, whitewashed, plastered, and covered with clothes. Ruth sums up the difference between castle ruins and the historical experimental castle as “an entirely different beast.” The experimenters are decorating the castle according to the period of King Louis IX of France. The experimental castle is modest, decorated for a lower-ranked noble.
Sarah, the site administrator gives Ruth, Tom, and Peter a tour of the most important rooms of the castle starting with the Great Hall. The Great Hall was the hub of castle life and it was a sight where the castle lord held court. It had to show off the lord’s wealth and status. They then make their way to the great tower where the lord and lady slept. It was the one room that had a fireplace. Peter and Tom are going to be tiling and painting some of the surfaces of the castle. Ruth makes her way to the kitchen. The kitchen is limewashed making it a bright and sunny area. The limewash keeps things clean in the kitchen.
Sarah explains that castles were often limewashed and was glad that they had the chance to experiment with how castles were decorated. The White Tower at the Tower of London got its name from being whitewashed on the outside.
Tom prepares lime mortar to put up against the wall. Rendering was put on the walls to insulate them and to prepare the walls for decorate. It was put on the wall roughly rather than in several layers. It also helps preserve the masonry underneath. They then move to make floor tiles for the site. 28,000 roof tiles were created and it took four years. An additional 80,000 tiles will be needed to cover all the roofs of the castle. Now production has shifted to floor tiles. Producing floor tiles is often laborious as the workers had to separate hard elements from the clay to make tiles. Tile making was one of the earliest industries to have regulations. These regulations included what type of clay could be used for the tile.
The toilets were a common element found in castles. They were called guard robes and clothes were kept in them to keep them bug-free. Ruth and Peter explore the history of the privy or guard robes. The squires often had to prepare the privies before their masters went in them. Often preparation included sweet-smelling herbs to help make going to the bathroom a pleasant experience. What did the Medieval people use for toilet paper? It was not leaves or moss, since you would have to deal with deforestation or have a moss plantation to keep people supplied. Ruth and Peter conclude that everyone had a flannel or shared a flannel.
To continue to learn more about how a castle was built continue to watch the episode. This episode is another fascinating look at how a castle was built. This episode would be suited to an art class, especially if a teacher was discussing how to make tiles or painting techniques. Ruth goes into a great deal on how the Medieval people made colorful paints. Again, teachers, you are only limited by your imagination when you use YouTube in your class.
You can access the YouTube video here.
Secrets of the Castle continues with how the castle was defended. Guedelon Castle is a 25-year archeological experiment in the Burgundy region of France. The builders are exploring the different techniques that are used to build a castle. The castle at Guedelon was built for a lord who wanted to show off his wealth. There are 36 high curtain walls to protect the courtyard. There is a gatehouse where people could get in and out. There are four towers as well, and one is called the great tower because it is bigger and taller. The walls are 12 feet thick.
The 13th Century was the golden age of castle building. Crusades and dynastic struggles caused the evolution of the castle. The Medieval rulers built stone castles to establish their power and to provide for defense. Tom, Ruth, and Peter explore the defense of the castle and the weapons used in the Middle Ages.
Tom, Peter, and the masons install a special stone to connect the outside of the wall to the inner side of the wall to provide strength for the defense of the castle. If they did not put this stone in place, the wall would be vulnerable to caving in. They also explore the mortar and how it takes centuries to set. Tom points out that “experimental archeology has given you a mortar you can use.” Peter explains how the mortar is set in place and how the builders kept checking the level of the stones in place to keep the walls straight.
Sieges were a big problem for the castle. Soldiers could climb over the walls with ladders or tunnels under them. The Trebuchet was invented during this period. This weapon dominated the Middle Ages and siege warfare. The biggest Trebuchet was Warwolf, which was commissioned by King Edward I. Our time travelers go to a castle nearby where replicas of the weapons used are on display. A crew of five men set up a Trebuchet for firing. Even though the war machines were slow, they were feared. One glance at them caused towns to surrender. For the siege, it is the constant hammering away at the walls which caused a great deal of damage.
Tom, who is a midshipman in the Royal Navy, has a strong interest in Medieval history and armor. Ruth makes cloth armor for Tom and finds that it is a lot of hard work for very little progress. She makes it with sheep wool and linen. Ruth explores how cloth armor was made and explains that the linen and wool are layered together before being sewn down. Cloth armor is the precursor to the bulletproof vest.
The defining feature of the castle is are the arrow loops. They were concealed in the walls and gave the archers an advantage. The mason shows the boys how to build an arrow loop. The arrow loop sloped down to help the archers see invaders. Tom and Peter then explore how archers shot their arrows out of the arrow loops. They even try to shoot into an arrow loop, which proved to be a failure.
To continue to learn more about the Secrets of the Castle continue to watch on. There are several good clips you can use for a shop class. The firing of the Trebuchet would be a good clip to show in a math class. Our time travelers are good at explaining how the castle was built as well as exploring the defense properties of the castle. They discuss how if the tower is attacked the way the stones are laid allow that force to be disturbed around.
You can access the YouTube Video here.
Now we are going to explore history meets reality TV in Secrets of the Castle. Tom Pinfold joins up with Ruth Goodman and Peter Ginn to learn the secrets of castle building. Castles had a French origin. So our time travelers to go France and Guedelon castle. Guedelon Castle is part of an archaeology experiment to determine to build a castle. Castle building required a whole community of builders, masons, blacksmiths, lumberjacks, and tile makers. The project for the year is getting work done on the Great Tower.
So how do you build a castle? You start with a wooden model, which allows you to change things before you start building. The second step in building a castle is finding a good location for your castle. A good location includes access to water, wood, and rock. You also have to have the right stone to build a strong castle. Tom and Peter explore the different types of stones and where they were placed in the castle.
Ruth explores the Medieval Hovel and how the castle builders’ camps evolved into villages. Ruth works to make the hovel a home. She starts with the fire pit. She then asks a carpenter to make a grain arch. The grain arch has a removable lid so she can make dough. In the meantime, Ruth lays out the rushes on the floor of the hovel. She is putting theory about rushes into practice by laying them in a herringbone pattern. Ruth gets pots from a pottery maker. Using pottery for cooking is one of the longest practices in the world. Clay came from the nearest source as it could - from a pothole. The hovel is equipped with a grain arch, pots, bowls, nets for hanging other types of food. The hovel is not only a living space but a storage space.
Another vital resource in castle building is water. Thousands of gallons of water per day were used on the castle building site. Peter and Tom work to repair the well by getting a pulley and rope made. The rope is made by using a rope walk. Water is used to make mortar. Mortar formulas were closely guarded secrets and their strength determined how well the castle could hold off.
The boys help get a doorway prepped for a castle. They are surprised at how little metal is used in castle buildings. However, where metal is used it is in an essential place.
The boys put Ruth’s floor to the test and discuss the hovel. Their initial reaction to the hovel is one of disgust but once they discuss it they find that it is not a bad place to live. They find that the floor is warm and that the small space is would be easier to heat. The next morning Peter and Ruth explore Medieval clothing. Peter comments that he can see how clothing evolved.
To find out more about how a castle was built, continue to watch the episode.
With the first episode, you are not limited to a history class, you can bring this episode into a woodshop class or a class featuring STEM or STEAM. In the first episode, there is a demonstration of how carpenters worked wood without saws. There is quite a bit of STEM and STEAM you can get out of this series. You can even show this in a science class because historians are applying the scientific method during this experiment. If you need something do to in a pinch for a class, then you should show this series. However, if you don’t have a substitute teacher in the classroom, you should be able to find clips for use in the classroom.
You can learn more about Guedelon here.
You can access the YouTube video here.
Hello again. Today we move on from Rome and Pompeii and learn about Charlemagne and the empire he built. This is a German-produced documentary in English about the history of the Germans. Anyway, it is a fascinating documentary to show in a classroom setting. In the 700’s, there were just Franks and Saxons, German was not even an idea. The Germans kick off with the story of Charlemagne.
The Saxons were a pagan people and they went into the sacred woods for the gods to answer their questions. They did this for centuries, until 772 when their world changed. A young Frankish king invaded Saxony with a cohort of troops. The Saxons are taken by surprise. Their villages were destroyed by the Franks.
The Frankish king wants to expand his realm and wants to make the Saxons Christians. After the attacks, the Saxon nobles vow to avenge the attacks. Charles, the Frankish king wants to subjugate the Saxons and unite his empire under one religion. The Franks tear down the idols of Saxons. However, the Saxon resistance was not broken. The Saxon nobility rallied the people to rebel against the Franks.
Charles, the Frankish King ruled the Frankish Empire. He was from an old noble family and their center of power was Saint-Denis. There was no real center of power in the Frankish Empire. The Pope visited Saint-Denis when Charles was six. The pope wanted security for Rome and the Franks wanted recognition for their empire. At the end of the pope’s visit, the Franks and the Pope were in an alliance.
After Charlemagne conquered the Saxons, they were forced to bow to him in a ceremony. They were to be subjects in Charlemagne’s realm. It seems for the time being that Saxons were on his side. Charlemagne moved on to Lombardy even though the Lombards were Christians. He wanted to resurrect the Roman empire. It was to be on empire, one faith, one ruler. He became the King of the Franks and the Lombards. Charlemagne was crowned with the crown of the Lombards, the Iron Crown. However, even though was a conqueror, he developed a love of learning. He gathered experts in his court to help reform education. This led to the rebirth of the classical world. He also unified the empire under one language and written script.
In the meantime, the Saxons were casting off their idols into the fire. Charlemagne had passed a law that they had to be baptized or die. There was one noble who rebelled against this law. His name was Widukind and he led the rebellion of the Saxons. He attacked Frankish villages. It explodes in a dirty war between unequal. Widukind escapes capture. Charles took his revenge on the Saxons for their rebellion, slaughtering over 4,000 Saxon men. He deported 1,000’s more to the Frankish empire. It was brutal and even shocked Charlemagne's contemporaries.
The Saxon resistance was not broken by Charlemagne’s harsh revenge. They fought for thirteen years. Charlemagne’s advisors tried to reason with him. They wanted to negotiate with the Saxons. Charlemagne was reluctant to do so. There was a suggestion of an honorable capitulation with Widukind but in exchange for backing down Widukind would have to be baptized. Widukind rode into the Frankish homeland and was baptized. This was the early history of an empire that would eventually become France and Germany.
To find out more continue to watch the documentary. In the meantime, keep this documentary in your files to share with a class. You can always use clips from this documentary in a lecture too.
You can access the documentary on YouTube here.
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