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Marc Morris, a wellknown historian of the Middle Ages, zoomed into two Y7 classes last week. Pupilhad been using his work to decide whether another historian, Simon Schama, was correct to say that the Norman Conquest of 1066 “annihilated” one kind of England and set up another in its place.  Having read sections of Morris’s The Norman Conquestit was quite a thrill to hear from the man himself. 

Year 7 Alex said: “It was really great to hear from someone whose job it is to write about this stuff – and whose opinions we can use in our writing.”  

The Biggest Change in English History – or was it? 

Pupils shared their thoughts on whether the invasion of the Normans would change England forever. 

“I like that Mark Morris agrees with Simon Schama – the Norman Conquest was the biggest change in English History.” Ariella  

“I learnt that at the time, they didn’t realise that there was such a big change going on. They got on with their lives but looking back, it was one of the biggest changes in English history.” Owen 

But the class also discussed whether the amount of change was apparent at the time: “William was trying to look like an English King.  England had been invaded before so no one really thought the Norman conquest was going to last long.” Leo.  

“I learnt how our language and the law changed, but there were also major continuities.” Skye 

An Ancient Master of Change Management 

Morris explained how William the Conqueror tried not to frighten off his new subjects.  “Change was scary to the Anglo-Saxons, so the Normans made it seem that they had more continuity than change.” Kavalnain 

“Change was disruptive, and the English were afraid of being manipulated.” Amaya