History Resource Cupboard – lessons and resources for schools

Why was St Winifred’s Church vandalised in the 1500s?

Vandalised churchWhy was the inside of St Winifred’s Church vandalised in the 1500s?

This quirky and enaging approach asks your class solve the mystery of why we can still see vandalism inside a Devon church ? Who ordered it? When? The answers are surprising and act as a window into The Reformation.

Inside St Winifred’s Church in the village of Manaton in Devon is beautiful example of a Catholic style rood screen. But when you take a closer look at the colourful carvings of the saints, each face has been scratched out – why? When? Under whose orders?

Can your class solve the mystery? Such a satisfyingly difficult task is a real motivator!

Having whetted the class’s appetite they group, sort and classify cards. This gives them an overview of the English Reformation and it provides clues to help solve the mystery. Are they correct?

They will find out that Edward IV ordered the vandalism, in 1548 as part of his Reformation.

Using the personal story of one village church acts as a window of understanding into The Reformation – this tried and tested approach works really well. We recommend that you have already briefly covered what the Reformation was, and the main differences between Catholics and Protestants.

You can test your classes understanding with our talking PowerPoint slide!

Alec loved this enquiry so much that he adapted it for the book: Making Sense of History Book 2.

Download lesson

  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF
  • Resource 1 cards: PDF
  • Resource 2 graph: PDF

Price: £12.99

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