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17th November 2022

Last week our A-level History students visited Tintern Abbey and Chepstow Castle.

Students dressed up as knights!

Students dressed up as knights!

Tintern Abbey is an excellent example of a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1131.  Students were given a tour by Brother Thomas (a reenactor dressed as a Cistercian monk). They learnt about the Cistercian order and the role that they played in the communities of early modern life (providing charity, schooling, and a hospital).  This helped reinforce students understanding of 'Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe', which is part of one of their A-level study units.  They then learnt about the dissolution of the Abbey in 1536 by Henry VIII and the consequences for the Abbey inmates, thus strengthening their understanding of the English Reformation and the dissolution of the monasteries which they cover in another of their A-level History study units.

Chepstow Castle was a powerful stronghold in the Welsh Marches.  Students learnt how castles were used to extend royal authority and how their role changed overtime.  They met some reenactors who demonstrated the weapons and equipment used by soldiers during the fifteenth century.  Chepstow reinforced student learning of the Early Tudors, especially the reign of Henry VII.

It was an enlightening trip which helped students to understand the relationship between these two important secular and religious sites.  This not only reinforced their classroom learning, but also enabled them to see the history they learn about in a local context.