History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

10. What impact did the Normans have on ordinary people’s lives?

This lesson is based around a ‘speed-dating’ activity, in which students are challenged to ‘become’ different characters from Norman England.

They ‘meet’ other men and women who similarly lived through the tumultuous events of the post-1066 period.

Among the characters included in the activity are farmers who experience a change of master; former slaves who are released from their bondage; women who lose land ownership rights; and churchmen whose titles are removed by the Normans.

Some ‘real’ men and women from the period are also included, such as Judith (niece of King William, married off to the Anglo-Saxon earl Waltheof), Stigand (the Archbishop of Canterbury under Edward’s rule, soon to be deposed by William), and Henry (William’s fourth son, whose chance of inheriting any titles or land in England seemed slim).

Having met and interacted with a number of different characters, students then reflect on what they’ve learnt about life under the Norman Conquest: how far did ordinary people benefit from William’s arrival?

Was the Conquest a disaster for women?

Over time, did the Anglo-Saxons reach a kind of accommodation and acceptance with the Normans? The lesson is sure to engage students, whilst imparting a good deal of knowledge about life in England after 1066. 

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Worksheet 1,2 & 3: PDF
  • Resource 1:PDF

Price: £12.99


Add to basketMembers’ Download



History Resource Cupboard


Receive details of our latest courses, new lesson downloads, exclusive discounts and the latest articles with ideas to help you enliven your classroom teaching.