Old history essays

The Summer holiday has provided an opportunity for a major clear-out and re-organisation of all my accumulated possessions. In the process, I have re-discovered a box file full of my old essays from school and university which have miraculously survived all my mother’s many culls of my stuff. I think it was important for me to keep them because I lavished a lot of love and attention on writing them and I’m glad now that I did. They serve two purposes: a memento or record of my work and secondly, a valuable resource for me as a history teacher. There’s some interesting essay questions there which I might mine again in future, as well as some possibly useful material for lesson planning.

The paper on some of these essays is already yellowing with time, and they take up too much valuable space, so they are going to have to go. But before I get rid of them, I plan to scan them all and save them as PDF files, for ease of access in future. Unfortunately, I don’t have a scanner at the moment (maybe I can purchase a cheap one), so I’ve started by photographing the first batch, which is a bit time consuming.

Norman Conquest:

What made Anglo-Saxon England an attractive prize for the Normans?

Examine the view that Edward the Confessor was too much influenced by Normans. 

What problems did William of Normandy face when he inherited his dukedom? Explain how he secured his position in Normandy to the point at which he was able to undertake the conquest of England.

What, during the reign of William I, were the effects of the Norman Conquest upon the personal status and role of the aristocracy in England? Is it true to say that the ordinary people of England were surprisingly unaffected by the invasion?

“Not one of the English rebellions during the early years of the reign of King William I seriously threatened his authority”. How far do you agree?

William Rufus:

Why, on his death, was William’s empire divided between his sons and how, in the years 1087-89, did William II manage to secure his claim to England?

“Greatness of soul was pre-eminent in the king which in the process of time he obscured by excessive severity.” Discuss this contemporary verdict on William II.

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