Learning at School
Merton Priory was one of the most important monasteries in medieval England. It can be woven easily into many National Curriculum topics:
KS 1 & 2:
1) Significant individuals:
- kings and queens associated with Merton are Matilda, wife of Henry I; Henry III; Edward I; Edward III; Henry VI. (Henry VIII, of course, pulled it down.)
- other people include Thomas Becket and Walter of Merton.
2) A local history study:
- Merton Priory was the social and economic hub of this locality.
- The first parliamentary statute was signed here.
- Throughout its life, Merton Priory was a meeting place for kings, bishops and other important people.
- Merton Priory’s way of doing things influenced other priories, but also Walter of Merton’s college at Oxford, which became the blueprint for university life.
It can be used to get a sense of chronology, continuity and change, different mindsets, abstract terms such as ‘parliament’, ‘monastery’, and so on. It shows connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales. And because there’s not a lot left of the Priory, it’s brilliant for introducing problems of evidence!
KS 3 & 4
Merton Priory can help you cover:
1) The development of Church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509
- the Norman Conquest and reform of the Church
- Christendom, the importance of religion and the Crusades
- the “struggle” between Church and crown
- Magna Carta (well, actually the Statute of Merton) and the emergence of Parliament
- religion in daily life
- landowning, trade and towns
- art, architecture and literature
- the Black Death and its social and economic impact
2) The development of Church, state and society in Britain 1509-1745
- the English Reformation and Counter Reformation (the Dissolution of the Monasteries – and what happened to all those monks and nuns!)
3) A local history study – including OCR’s GCSE option.
- a study over time, testing how far this site reflects aspects of national history
Our teachers’ packs have information about the Priory, lesson and project ideas and resources. From time to time we add more, so do check for updates. All our packs and resources are free to download and use.
Our teaching packs:
- What did Merton Priory look like?
- A struggle between Church and Crown?
- Was it really bad being ill in the Middle Ages?
- Maths – a multicultural monastic adventure