Classroom Resources to make 1066 Fun

1066 The King’s Games

The Saxon Times King’s Games have been devised to give an idea of the timescales for the major events of that tumultuous year, 1066, in a fun and entertaining format.

They present the story of 1066 as a board game from the Death of King Edward the Confessor, the coronation of King Harold II, preparation for war to the Battle of Hastings. King William’s game includes his progress through southern England to his coronation on 25th December 1066.

They are ideal activities to introduce the concept of 1066, reinforce learning and/or as an end of term activity.

Each game is an A3 size pdf. file and will be e-mailed to you on proof of purchase.

For more information or to buy, CLICK HERE

The King’s Games are also available through TES.

Kings Game Harold II            King William Game

The Saxon Times Resources

Tne Saxon Times is available as individual A3 posters to record the events of 1066 through the eyes of The Saxon Times reporters.

They aim to inspire curiosity to know more about 1066 and expand and develop knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past.

Each issue reports the major headlines of the day with comment, advertisements and maps as appropriate.

The A3 posters are educational, make ideal wall displays and meet the needs of the National Curriculum for History Key Stages 1 and 2 programmes of study

For more information or to buy, CLICK HERE

The Saxon Times posters are also available through TES.


Would King Harold II have been late for his own death?

A review of the route that King Harold took to the Battle of Hastings

By David Clarke


‘There were arrows everywhere.

Long arrows, short arrows, broad and narrow arrows, even red and blue arrows.

I was in the bookshop at Battle Abbey and every map in every book that I looked at about the Battle of Hastings gave a different view of the route that Harold took from London.

There were arrows on a diagonal from London, aiming at Battle, four or five in a row as if a hail of arrows had been fired at William.

There was a broad arrow creating a swathe across the south-east as the Saxon army passed over the land.

Arrows approached Battle from all the points of the compass – except the south!’

I wrote the above in my introduction to 1066 Harold’s Way, a 100mile long distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066.

It appeared that the alternatives for King Harold on his march to battle was for his army to either take a more direct route, south east through the Forest of the Andreasweald, or march along the old Roman roads, east then south. The latter would have been a longer journey of over 90 miles rather than the 65 miles of the direct route and Harold was in a hurry.

In my research for 1066 Harold’s Way, a Channel 4 documentary of the mid 2000s gave a thorough, logical and compelling argument for the alternative route along the existing Roman roads, east out of London along Watling Street and south along the clear Roman road towards Hastings, with the added legend of a camp at Rochester on the night of 11th October 1066.

The Weald was a forest in Saxon times and hacking a way through the trees and over the highest parts of the Downs and the Weald, through Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, would have been a real struggle for the army. After Tonbridge, where the Roman road ended, the vast Andreasweald, the limited tracks, the climbs, descents and the glutinous Wealden mud would have debilitated any army.

Even in the 18th century the Weald was declared ‘roadless’ and any journey took hours through the deepest clay imaginable (Cobbett). The Weald was not a traveller’s paradise.

With the Roman roads still being used in Saxon times, there was a certain logic to the longer route – it followed the old Roman roads that led to the dock at Bodiam and on to the iron quarries around Beauport Park. It was a clear route through the forest to the ‘old hoar apple tree’ at Caldbec Hill.

If the legend that Harold’s army camped overnight at Rochester is believed, it is possible that they stopped again on the route perhaps somewhere between Sissinghurst and Bodiam or at Bodiam itself as it would take time to cross the tidal Appledore estuary. After Bodiam, the route links up with the line of the old ridgeway towards what is now Cripps Corner where it would link with the trackway south through Vinehall Forest to Caldbec Hill.

BBC History Today, in their September 2016 issue, published an ‘experts’ article on King Harold’s journey to Caldbec Hill, taking a simplistic view of the route from Westminster Abbey that ignored the conflicting views of scholars and historians.

The Roman roads across the South-East still largely exist which contradicts their view that the roads are all gone. If they are in use now they would have been in use in 1066. Although the Rochester route was longer, the easier terrain would have provided a fast and less demanding route across the Weald with the army in a better state to fight a battle.

I would suggest that a march south west from London would not be a route that would follow in the footsteps of King Harold.

Indeed, by taking this route it is quite likely Harold would have been late for his own death!

David is the author of The Saxon Times and 1066 Harold’s Way as well as other History Walks in Kent and East Sussex.

For more information on 1066 Harold’s Way visit:

What did Tostig do in 1066?

Jan 24


Tostig, King Harold’s brother, was given everything from the plum orchards of Plumstede to Earl of Northumbria but he always wanted more and eventually he turned upon his brother to disastrous effect and split the Godwin family apart.

You can identify and examine the important role that Tostig played in the events of 1066 through the pages of The Saxon Times.

If Tostig’s animosity to his brother could have been diffused would the outcome of 1066 have changed?


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The Saxon Times and The Saxon Times classroom resources are available from TES and History Walks

Treacherous Tostig Tells Tales



Hastings and its port remain firmly in the control of the Bishop of Fécamp with much Norman influence over this Saxon town. There is a fair bit of comings and goings between what appear to be close-cropped and gaunt ‘monks’. They keep to themselves and spend their time by riding and walking the immediate countryside.

I learnt that Duke William heard of Edward’s death and Harold’s coronation from Tostig, the King’s brother, of all people.


“They say William went white with anger, the blood drained from his face. He was speechless and no one dared approach him – all too afraid of his rage. All I’ve heard is that William is sending a messenger to the King. What’s going on between the King and William, nobody knows.”

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There was singing and dancing and great rejoicing

Read the stories behind the headlines, Read The Saxon Times

Eadgar Of West Minster, The Saxon Times Court Correspondent, continues to review recent issues of The Saxon Times

5th January 1066

Edward, King of England 1042 – 1066

It has been announced with great regret that King Edward, known as ‘The Confessor’, died peacefully in his sleep this morning. He served his country well. Tomorrow will be a national day of mourning. It is expected that his funeral service will take place tomorrow in West Minster Abbey.


Political Comment.

I hope that I am not speaking out of turn but I have grave doubts about the future of our beloved England. Will the King’s childlessness ultimately lead to conflict? Will we have the strength and power to resist invasion from William, from Hardrada or from both?

6th January 1066

At The Witan Today By Our Political Correspondent Cenred of Ely

Today the Witan, was assembled to discuss the succession. With little hesitation or deliberation, they confirmed the identity of the new King of England.

Long Live King Harold II

King Harold Crowned King of England

On this day of Epiphany and with great ceremony before all the assembled nobles, King Harold II was crowned King of England, by Archbishop Stigand. The multitude’s former sombre mood was replaced with great rejoicing, fires were lit and there was singing and dancing that looked as if it would continue far into the night.

Long Live King Harold II


For details of stockists of The Saxon Times visit History Walks at:

The Saxon Times and The Saxon Times Classroom Resources are available from History Walks and from TES:

The Saxon Times is on Display


Our next exhibition from 16th June will be ‘The Saxon Times’.

‘The newspaper is a look at how the events of 1066 may have been reported and records eye witness reports of the events surrounding the death of Edward the Confessor, the coronation of King Harold II, the events that led to the Battle of Hastings, 14th October 1066 and the subsequent conquest of England through the eyes of The Saxon Times reporters’.

The book is due to be published in August 2016 and promises a fascinating view into this most important period of the nation’s history. This is the work of David Clarke, who some of you will have heard talk on ‘Harold’s Way’ last year. David has also produced a series of walk booklets in and around Hastings and St Leonards which are stocked at the History House. We are grateful to David for the loan of the exhibition.