2 Learning objectives Learning objectives Why was there a problem with the succession in 1066?Who wanted the English throne?Who do you think had the best claim to the throne?Learning objectives
3 Why might this cause trouble in England? Succession crisis, 1066On January King Edward the Confessor died of illness and old age. England had to find a new king.Normally there would not have been a problem. According to the usual laws of succession, when an old king died he was succeeded by his eldest son.Unfortunately, Edward the Confessor had no son. Although he had been married, he was an intensely pious man and had taken a vow of chastity. The question of who should be the next king was therefore a matter for dispute.Why might this cause trouble in England?
4 There were three main rivals for the throne. The contendersThere were three main rivals for the throne.
6 Staking a claimEach of the contenders for the throne had to appear before the Witenagemot and present their claim. The Witenagemot was a kind of parliament made up of the noblemen and senior clergy. In the absence of a clear successor, these men had the power to elect a new king.On the next three slides you will learn more about each contender’s claim to the throne. The claims were based on two main factors: the relationship of each man to the late King Edward, and the promises and treaties which had allegedly been made about who should be the next king.Worksheet One accompanies slides 6–10.
10 Kingmaker Teaching Idea Ask the students to role-play the three contenders’ submissions to the Witenagemot and elect a king.Divide your class into groups of four or five.One person from each group will play Harold, one William, and one Harald. The remaining member(s) of the group will play the part of the Witenagemot.Each contender must give a short speech, explaining why he should be the next king and running down his rivals.The members of the Witenagemot must then question him about his claim. When they have heard all three contenders, they must decide who should be Edward’s successor, and explain their choice.Remember, different contenders may have different versions of the same events. You might like to ask your students to do some extra research online about the different claims to the throne. The Witenagemot should be alert to the possibility that contenders may be lying!