Introduction to British History

LEVELS 1 AND 2

This study is intended as an introduction to British history for British students at Level 1 or 2 and for American students at Level 2. There are both three year and two year options, with a choice of a faster or lighter pace:

British Students
Level 1 – Three Year Option————–British History to 1901
Level 2 – Two Year Option—————-British History to 1901

American Students
Level 2 – Three Year Option————–British History to 1901
Level 2 – Two Year “Light” Option——-British History to 1601 (Background to American History)
(Use first two years only of the three year course)

The course uses a substantial narrative history book by H.E.Marshall as the key text, together with supplementary Catholic history material. If this is all you manage to read, your child will still have a good grounding in the history of Britain, though ideally you should also try to read at least one of the recommended reading books each term. For those who enjoy history and have time to include more, we have included suggestions for further reading arranged by period and level.

Use our lesson plans show you how the two main texts fit together.

Key Texts

Our Island Story by H.E.Marshall

Our Lady’s Dowry by Kathryn Faulkner – Catholic history book in preparation. Chapters are being made available to Mater Amabilis users as they are written through the Teacher Training Forum.

Recommended Reference Book:  Kingfisher Children’s Encyclopedia of British History – useful for pictures, timelines and general reference.

Optional Further Reading Britannia by Geraldine McCaughrean – one hundred short stories from British history. Colorful illustrations.

Two other good older books that are now unfortunately out of print:

People in History by R.J.Unstead – forty-six short biographies of notable figures from British history. (Out of print)

Note: This book was originally published in four separate volumes. If buying a used copy, check whether it is the full version or one of the small volumes. The number of pages is a good indicator – my full copy has 512 pages.

The Fearless Treasure by Noel Streatfeild - social history, told through the eyes of children. (Out of print)

See further reading for list of books arranged by period and level.

See this page for chapters from both books listed in reading order

See the Teachers’ notes for Our Island Story

Note: Younger Children

Good historical fiction is rarely written for young children and most of the recommended reading is more suitable for older children (age 8+). If you are using this course with a 6 or 7 year old you may prefer to skip the recommended reading books, and choose from the optional books for Level 1 instead.

THREE YEAR OPTION
YEAR 1

Term 1: (55BC-597AD)

Our Island Story Ch.1 to 13 (Roman Conquest to King Arthur)
Our Lady’s Dowry Ch.1 to 4 (Glastonbury to St. Columba)

Recommended Reading: The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff – first of a classic trilogy set in Roman Britain 

or And God Blessed the Irish by Chris Driscoll – story of St.Patrick told for younger children.

Term 2: (597-1066)

Our Island Story Ch.14 to 24 (Conversion of England to Battle of Hastings)
Our Lady’s Dowry Ch.5 to 12 (St. Columba to St. Edward the Confessor)

Recommended Reading:Augustine Came to Kent by Barbara Willard – the story of an Anglo-Saxon boy brought up in Rome, who travels to England with his father as part of St. Augustine’s mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons.
or Beorn the Proud by Madeleine Polland – a 12 year old Irish girl sees her village destroyed by Viking raiders and is taken captive by Beorn, a Viking boy. A strong Christian theme, as the girl is determined not to abandon her Christian faith and tries to teach the young Viking that humility can be better than pride. Top quality historical fiction for children.

Term 3: (1066-1216)

Our Island Story Ch.25 to 36 (William the Conqueror to Magna Carta)
Our Lady’s Dowry Ch.13 to 18 (Norman bishops to Stephen Langton)

Recommended Reading: The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanor Jewett (Bethlehem Books) – a crippled boy is left at Glastonbury Abbey during the reign of Henry II.
or If All The Swords in England by Barbara Willard (Bethlehem Books) – twin boys find themselves separated, one in the service of King Henry II and the other a clerk in the entourage of the future saint Thomas Becket

YEAR 2

Term 1: (1216-1378)

Our Island Story Ch.37-48 (Henry III to Edward III)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Monks, Friars, Churches and Cathedrals)

Recommended Reading: Castle Diary: the Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page by R. Platt and C. Riddell – illustrated account of the life of a young page in a medieval castle. Fun!

Term 2: (1378-1509)

Our Island Story Ch.49-61 (Richard II to Henry VII)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Mystics, Mystery Plays and Pilgrimages)

Recommended Reading: The Woolpack [US title: The Merchant's Mark] by Cynthia Harnett – two children uncover a plot to ruin the boy’s father, a wool merchant. Gives a very detailed and accurate picture of the late medieval wool trade. The story includes childhood betrothal. 

Term 3: (1509-1601)

Our Island Story Ch.62-73 (Tudors)
Our Lady’s Dowry (English Reformation)

Recommended Reading: Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease – two runaway children fall in with a group of strolling players. An adventure story involving Shakespeare and a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. 

YEAR 3

Term 1: (1601-1688)

Our Island Story Ch.74-86 (Stuarts)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Gunpowder Plot; Penal Times)

Recommended Reading: The Children of the New Forest by Captain Maryatt – classic 19th century fiction about a family of children forced to fend for themselves during the English Civil War.

Term 2: (1688-1820)

Our Island Story Ch.87-98 (William III to George III)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Catholic Survival and Emancipation)

Term 3: (1820-1901)

Our Island Story Ch.99-110 (George IV to Victoria)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Oxford Movement, Restoration of Hierarchy and Growth)

TWO YEAR OPTION

YEAR 1

Term 1: (55BC-801AD)

Our Island Story Ch.1 to 17 (Roman Conquest to King Alfred)
Our Lady’s Dowry Ch.1 to 9 (Glastonbury to Masterpieces of the North)

Links
Chapters from both books listed in reading order
Teachers’ notes for Our Island Story.

Recommended Reading: The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff – first of a classic trilogy set in Roman Britain
or Augustine Came to Kent by Barbara Willard – the story of an Anglo-Saxon boy brought up in Rome, who travels to England with his father as part of St. Augustine’s mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons.

Term 2: (801-1216)

Our Island Story Ch.18 to 36 (Aethelred to King John)
Catholic History Ch.10 to 18 (The New Monks to Stephen Langton)

Recommended Reading: Beorn the Proud by Madeleine Polland – a 12 year old Irish girl sees her village destroyed by Viking raiders and is taken captive by Beorn, a Viking boy. A strong Christian theme, as the girl is determined not to abandon her Christian faith and tries to teach the young Viking that humility can be better than pride. Top quality historical fiction for children.
or The Hidden Treasure of Glaston by Eleanor Jewett (Bethlehem Books) – a crippled boy is left at Glastonbury Abbey during the reign of Henry II.
or If All The Swords in England by Barbara Willard (Bethlehem Books) -“ twin boys find themselves separated, one in the service of King Henry II and the other a clerk in the entourage of the future saint Thomas Becket

Term 3: (1216-1461)

Our Island Story Ch.37 to 55 (King John to King Henry VI)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Monks, Friars, Cathedrals, Pilgrimages)

Recommended Reading: Castle Diary: the Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page by R.Platt and C.Riddell – illustrated account of the life of a young page in a medieval castle. Fun!

YEAR 2

Term 1: (1461-1601)

Our Island Story Ch.56-73 (Edward IV to Elizabeth)
Our Lady’s Dowry (English Reformation)

Recommended Reading: The Woolpack [US title: The Merchant's Mark] by Cynthia Harnett – two children uncover a plot to ruin the boy’s father, a wool merchant. Gives a very detailed and accurate picture of the late medieval wool trade. The story includes childhood betrothal. (Only in print in the UK)
or Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease – two runaway children fall in with a group of strolling players. An adventure story involving Shakespeare and a plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. (Only in print in the UK)

 

Term 2: (1601-1760)

Our Island Story Ch.73-94 (James I to George II)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Saints, Martyrs and Plots)

Recommended Reading: The Children of the New Forest by Captain Maryatt – classic 19th century fiction about a family of children forced to fend for themselves during the English Civil War.

Term 3: (1760-1901)

Our Island Story Ch.95-110 (George III to Victoria)
Our Lady’s Dowry (Emancipation and Restoration)

Recommended Reading: Sun Faster, Sun Slower by Meriol Trevor – aspects of the Catholic history of England seen through the eyes of two children who find themselves slipping back into the past and witnessing events involving previous generations of their family.

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