History: Year 6 Visit Canterbury


At Bede's Prep School, Year 6 study the Medieval period in History lessons - an exciting time which includes events such as 1066 (the last time we were invaded), Magna Carta, the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses and The Peasants’ Revolt.

In class, the children have been studying King Henry II, the founder of the ‘trial by jury system’ that we still use today. As part of these studies, the children have been giving particular focus to the relationship between King Henry II and his friend the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, and the tragic events that led up to his death.


It is not always easy, even as adults, to imagine how people lived in the past, and this process is particularly challenging for 9 and 10 year olds due to their limited life experience!

To help them along the way, and inform their projects into historical enquiry, Year 6 embarked on an annual Bede's Prep pilgrimage to the extraordinary city of Canterbury and its stunning cathedral.

The trip came in three parts, with a visit to the Cathedral archives and a chance to learn about and handle documents written in the medieval period coming first.


The children found it hard to wrap their minds around the concept of manuscript illumination, becoming slightly overwhelmed once they learned quote how much work went into the process of creating just a single book.

A costume trail around the cathedral then followed, led by a history guide.

Last but not least, the children enjoyed a workshop all about medieval jobs and social activities, trying their hands at a little stonemasonry, some letter writing and a touch of pilgrim badge making - to name just a few.


As you can see from the pictures, the children threw themselves into the activities and seemed to particularly relish learning about where and how the murder of Thomas Becket actually took place.

They debated who was actually to blame whilst sitting in the cloisters and thoroughly enjoyed act as pilgrims, climbing the cathedral steps to reach Thomas Becket’s tomb on their knees!

All in all, the trip was a great success and, thanks to good behaviour, no hair shirts should be necessary moving forward!


Learn more about the Bede's Prep History department >

Learn more about life in Year 6 at Bede's Prep >