King Alfred’s English Student Page

Medieval professor with his students

Here cometh
thy big chance for…

Further Illumination

*Hwaet: Old English for “Behold!” or “Listen!” Pronounced “wh + at” and rhymes with cat.

Click on the link or scroll below for images, articles, videos, primary sources, and literature related to each chapter:

chapter 1
chapter 6 chapter 11
chapter 2 chapter 7 chapter 12
chapter 3 chapter 8 chapter 13
chapter 4 chapter 9 chapter 14
chapter 5 chapter 10 chapter 15

For workseets, tests, and more Go to the TEACHER PAGE

Movie Recommendations
These recommendations are also included below in “Illuminations,” but you can use this link to view them in one consolidated list. ONE CAUTION about the recommended movies: I have not rated these movies and you must check these out yourself to see if you feel they are suitable for your student. Some are G or PG-rated, but there are a few R-rated movies that you may feel are completely unsuitable. So please watch out! Here are 2 recommended sites for checking out content on films—Focus on the Family’s Plugged In or And one last thing about movies: If you can only watch one movie…watch LUTHER.

The movie recommendations included with each chapter below are most often linked to Amazon so you can easily click to read reviews there if you want to.

What is a primary source? 

A few of the links under each chapter are for primary sources. So what is that? A primary source is a manuscript or other record written by someone who had first-hand knowledge of whatever you’re studying. A history book  on the American Civil War is not a primary source though it may quote primary sources. The diary of a Confederate soldier would be a primary source. Primary sources can be journals, letters, business records, even grocery lists. In fact, it was ancient common household lists found in trash heaps in Egypt during the past century which shed some new light on the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.

So now that you know what a primary source is, you’re ready to move on to the links for chapter 1.

Chapter 1.    When Togas and Latin Came to Britannia

Not to Be Missed!

  1. The Confederate States were settled heavily by Celtic people. Historians speculate the famous rebel yell may be a descendant of the ancient Celtic battle cry that was so scary even to hardened Roman soldiers. This is both interesting and hilarious:
  2. Then listen to the rebel yell as performed by Confederate veterans in this rare 1930’s footage from the Smithsonian archives. It’s just over 4 min. long and to me the best part begins at about 2 min., so if you want to skip anything, skip the beginning.
  3. #4 below

Movies depicting the Roman era:

Here and throughout, movies are usually linked to Amazon for the reviews. When available, I have linked to the Amazon Instant View copy of the DVD.

  • Gladiator. Check the rating (it’s violent), but this in one outstanding film. About a man of great integrity (though not a Christian) up against the politics of Rome. The history in this film is a good mix of facts with imagination, a well-done compression of truth and historical fiction. If you want to see what wild Germanic hordes might have really looked like, this film gives a good depiction. Gladiator games, the coliseum, Rome in all its glory (and gore) are brought to life. It is one of my all-time favorite movies but not for the squeamish. If you watch Gladiator, be sure and have a look at this article which compares the story to the actual history: Gladiator, the History Behind the Movie. Classic films worth the viewing:
  • Spartacus
  • Ben Hur–Christian content. With Charlton Heston, based on the book by Lew Wallace
  • The Robe— incredible Christian story, also. Richard Burton; based on Lloyd C. Douglas’s book.
  • The Silver Chalice — Paul Newman’s first movie (he’s more than just a salad dressing). Also Christian in content. Story entails the search for the Chalice from which Christ drank at the last supper, i.e. the Holy Grail.

Chapter 1  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Very brief intro on the Roman Empire — good, quick facts
  2. Daily lives of the Romans
  3. Find out about Stonehenge, the pre-Celtic site in England that is still such a mystery. Get the facts:
  4. Then go to this site to get a 360 degree virtual look around Stonehenge.
  5. For a detailed treatment of Stonehenge–
  6. St. Patrick Get another version of the story:
  7. Druids and their religion–fairly detailed
  8. Hadrian’s Wall– A look at it on youtube–6 min. from the History Channel on Emperor Hadrian
  9. Constantine’s vision (one of several versions)
  10. Early Christian persecutions in Rome
  11. Read about the apocryphal legend that claims Joseph of Arimetha was the one who first brought the gospel to the Britons. When you see the term “Apocrypha,” it usually means particular books written between the time of the Old and New Testaments which Protestants have never considered as part of scripture. But “apocryphal books” may also refer to certain books written after the time of Christ which claimed to be written during the very early days of the church  but which were never accepted by believers on a widespread basis as being authentic. Some of the legends they tell may have some basis in fact, however.
  12. GO HERE! Listen to Ren Radio and hear Celtic music live on your computer —

Chapter 1  Primary Source

Read something written by Julius Caesar — very brief. It is the first chapter of his book The Gallic Wars. The very first line is often memorized by Latin students: “All Gaul is divided into three parts,” only they learn it in Latin. up the “helvetii” to see who they were, and notice that Caesar mentions “the Germans” who lived beyond the Rhine (River). You’ll be reading about some other Germans next.

Chapter 2.   Well, We’re Through with the Romans,  So Who’s Next? 

Not to Be Missed! 

Do one or both of these.

  1. Watch this 6 minute documentary on the Arthurian legend--it’s really good! It tells you where and when the various elements of the story were added over the centuries. Of course, we know it all really happened! But it doesn’t hurt to go along with these historians who think various authors created the legend over time. Just remember, Arthur is like Santa Claus–you must simply believe!
  2. This 10 minute You Tube video  deals with the Roman invasion of Britain. In the very first scene you see the well-known white cliffs of Dover, a section of Britain’s coastline that has unusual, stark-white cliff walls due to the high chalk content. This is just the beginning section of this documentary and there are other parts to watch if you are interested in more on Rome. What the Romans Did For Us–Part I

Movie Suggestions

There are many other movies dealing with Arthur, Camelot, etc. — no way to list them all, but these are my favs.

  • King Arthur — 2004 film with Clive Owen and Keira Knightley. She plays a Celtic woman-warrior which you should now know is historically plausible, and same for their depiction of Arthur as a Roman. Rated pg13. Watch it on Amazon here.
  • Camelot–The classic musical with Richard Harris as King Arthur. 1982
  • The Sword in the Stone, a Disney classic. This animated movie is based on the acclaimed novel The Once and Future King by T.H. White. The whole film is now on YouTube for free.

Chapter 2  Expanding the Lesson

The Holy Grail: A “grail” is medieval talk for a cup or plate. In the case of the “holy grail” it is the cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper. Throughout history, there have been various legends about what happened to this cup. For instance, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade involves a search for this holy cup as do many of the King Arthur legends. On this link, you can read a very old story of what happened to the grail and why people believed it ended up in England.

Chapter 2  Literature

  1. T. H. White’s The Once and Future King is a modern classic re-telling of the story of Arthur. White’s story is readable at late middle and high school level. It is imaginative and entertaining literature at its best. I highly recommend it.Also: Read any or all of these four essays on White and his book:
  2. [This literature selection below is also listed for chapter 8, but since it pertains to Arthur, you may prefer to read it now.] LeMorte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. This epic story of Arthur’s life, first published in 1485 as 21 books, is well worth experiencing (at least a small portion). Read first the summary of who Malory was: <>
    Then read some of the work itself: LeMorte d’Arthur, Book 1, chapter 5. Mallory’s version of the sword in the stone.


 Chapter 3.  A Little About Language

Not to Be Missed!

Watch this 2min. clip from the movie Black Robe. This clip illustrates the coming of writing to a civilization–and it looks like magic to those who have never seen it.

Read one of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales in their original forms. Choose one from the site below (even just the intro is fun — be sure and have your sound turned on). A few of the stories are on audio so you can listen to them like a bedtime story. These are not the cleaned up, sanitized versions of our modern era, either (did children in the 1800’s have more nightmares?) Be sure and read the real story of Hansel and Gretel.

Movie Suggestions

This one is mainly just for fun because the movie only loosely applies, but Ever After  with Drew Barrymore treats Cinderella as if it were based on a true story. The Grimm brothers appear at the beginning and end. Renaissance artist/thinker/inventor Leonardo da Vinci plays a role in it, too. Also, Sir Thomas More’s book Utopia plays a part. Not exactly “educational” but if you were going to watch something anyway and you could lay your hands on this…it wouldn’t hurt 🙂

Chapter 3  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Genesis, chapter 11:1-9 about the Tower of Babel. Or… see it read and interpreted in this short video clip from Answers in Genesis: <>
  2. Article from a non-Christian source answering the question on whether any primitive, simple languages exist among primitive tribes: <>
  3. Article by the author on language: Babel, Pentecost, and Tongues.
  4. See the breakdown of the various Indo European languages and their family groups — Language-tree-chart
  5. Champollion and the Rosetta Stone — Reading about Champollion is a loose spin-off from our topic, but Champollion is significant for understanding the importance of ancient languages and how hard they are to decipher without the right clues. He is a famous polyglot 🙂

Chapter 3  Literature/Primary Sources

Read an original Grimm Fairy Tale –(This is also listed  above under “Not To Be Missed”)   BACK TO TOP

Lindesfarne Gospel's front cover

Front cover of the Lindesfarne Gospel

 Chapter 4.  The Invasion of the Church and of Latin

Not to Be Missed!

1. The first verses of Beowulf recited in Old English (Anglo-Saxon)

2. Have a look at the Lindesfarne Gospels: Check this image out to the right–this is the Lindesfarne Gospel’s front cover. Now go actually turn the pages of this virtual book on the website of the British Library–[Select Lindesfarne Gospels and let it load] If you click on the audio button you get to hear the comments by a British scholar on the page you are viewing.


Beowulf— Any of several versions. One option is the 2006 digitally rendered film (like 300, in case you saw that one) PG13. Several others (most rated R) are available and there are several documentaries on Beowulf out there, too. The Thirteenth Warrior— This movie got much better reviews than the digitally rendered Beowulf  mentioned above (but I haven’t seen either, so I can’t vouch for them). This one is a loose retelling of Beowulf retaining much of the story and also the flavor and mood of ancient Germanic legend.

Chapter 4  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Plot overview of Beowulf <>
  2. Beowulf is a myth, but what exactly is a myth? Here’s a very brief but good answer:
  3. Listen to Caedmon’s Hymn read in Old English– <>
  4. We have modern myths, too, such as Star Wars or Bat Man. Write a brief paper comparing the elements of one of these popular modern stories with what you’ve learned about the story of Beowulf. Go here for information on Anglo Saxon Runes. Find out more on Tolkien’s connection to medieval history and how he used his extensive knowledge in his books.
  5. All about the Lindesfarne Gospels–
  6. St. Columba — brought the gospel from Ireland to Scotland, then another monk took it from Scotland to England. Research St. Columba This particular article mentions (near the end under “Vita Columbae” –it’s possible that one of the early records about St. Columba contains the first known mention of the Loch Ness Monster.
  7. The Synod of Whitby blow where the king of Northumbria had to choose between the Celtic Church and the Roman Catholic Church:
  8. A new stash of Anglo Saxon treasure was recently uncovered in England and there’s a lot of excitement about this valuable find. Read about it on Yahoo News ––anglo_saxon_gold

Chapter 4  Literature Selection

  1. Beowulf — line by line translation of a short section describing a fight with the monster Grendel: “Grapling With Grendel” (Be sure you read the plot overview listed above first)
  2. Read the description of the basic setting for Beowulf then listen to an excerpt being read in the original Anglo Saxon (click on audio near the bottom of the page)–

Chapter 4  Primary Source

St. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People — 2 excerpts: 1. Bede’s comments about his own life –(very brief) 2. Bede’s full story about Caedmon   BACK TO TOP

 Chapter 5.      The Invasion of the Vikings and Old Norse

Not to Be Missed!

“Barbarians-The Vikings from the History Channel–the whole show is about 45 minutes.

Movies- none

Chapter 5  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Lady Godiva’s infamous ride, if it really happened, was during the reign of King Cnut. Read this account of it — it is a good story! To be culturally literate you gotta know who Lady Godiva was.
  2. Leif Erikson, a famous Viking, and his discovery of America before Columbus did it.
  3. Easy to read, good but quick overview of the Vikings with links to explanations/histories of other details mentioned in the article.
  4. More details on Vikings — divided into sections. Click on the ones you’re interested in, but be sure and read the article on Longhouses (have you ever heard of a turf house?)
  5. Read this brief legend about King Canut. It appeared about 100 years after his death and probably didn’t actually occur. However, it crops up in children’s story books and inspirational collections and is associated so strongly with Cnut that you should know about it. Besides, it’s a neat story.

Chapter 5  Literature

Read a portion of the Old Norse Havamal– First read about what it is: Then read any of several sections of it — down the webpage under Contents). The section called “Maxims for All Men,” verses 80-88, is interesting.

Chapter 5  Primary Source

Read a portion of the Anglo Saxon Chronicle — browse it using dates from your text to see what the Chronicle records on that year. BACK TO TOP

   Chapter 6        The Invasion of the Normans and Old French

Not to Be Missed!

Since the tales of Robin Hood originated within about a century of the French invasion, read Ben Turner’s Robin Hood page (with links to other pages and sites).


All about Robin Hood, of course! 🙂

Chapter 6  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Read this BBC overview of William the Conqueror. He was both a more sympathetic character as well as a more brutal one.
  2. Browse this list of French phrases that we use “as is” in English. Make a list of the ones you’ve heard before and also write down one or two to memorize. See if you can use them in the next few days.
  3. D-Day landing on the beaches of Normandy.  Very brief summary– Summary, but with more depth, fleshes out the magnitude of this incredible feat.
  4. Everyday life in the Middle Ages, including links to more details on various topics.

The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry

Chapter 6  Primary Source

The Bayeux Tapestry, a small portion of which is shown in the book, is actually a fantastic 230-foot panel of embroidered linen preserved in Bayeux, France. It was commissioned during the reign of William the Conqueror to tell the story of the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England and of the invasion itself. Here’s a 5 minute video documentary by the BBC (British Broadcasting Co.) describing the tapestry and showing the entire piece. And here’s a scene by scene depiction of  a life-size replica made for England and housed in the Museum of Reading, Berkshire, England.   BACK TO TOP

   Chapter 7      The Making of Middle English

Not To Be Missed!

rap on You Tube of Chaucer’s prologue to the Canterbury Tales using accurate Middle English pronunciation.


  • Braveheart, with Mel Gibson. This is a great film, but rated R for violence. It tells the story of Scottish hero William Wallace who lived in the 1300’s just before the time of Chaucer. The movie contains one glaring historical error. Now that you have read about this period in England, you should be able to spot it. Watch for a conversation that simply would not have occurred at this time. Here’s the page explaining the answer If you don’t want to wait: Historical blunder in Braveheart
  • Becket – the 1962 film with Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole. This movie tells the story of Thomas a’Becket (1118-1170), his friendship with King Henry II, and the eventual falling out and murder that occurred as a result of Becket’s resistance to some of the King’s policies. The link below tells you all about this classic film:

Chapter 7  Expanding the Lesson

  1. This link will send you to a Chaucer activity page of the British Library. Be sure and listen to the audio for at least part of the story. Page two shows the meaning of most of the words you might not know. If you go on to page 3, you’ll find a word challenge– see how many you can get right.
  2. Read a very brief description of Chaucer here.
  3. The pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales were on their way to a shrine in the town of Canterbury that honors St. Thomas a’Becket. Read about this saint and who he was.
  4. For a more in depth look at the Plague during the time of Chaucer.
  5. The Plague helped to break apart the feudal system in medieval Europe — a system that was both political and economic. What exactly was the feudal system?
  6. Here’s an excellent link for information on the whole gamut of life in the Middle Ages
  7. Oxford University in England sprang up in order to keep English students from going to school in Paris. Read about Oxford on the University’s website.

Chapter 7  Literature

  1. Read this summary of The Canterbury Tales. Read at least down through the section describing “The Prologue. Now, read at least the the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. This is a side by side version with the original on one side and a modern translation beside it. The General Prologue Read a short modern rendering of one of the tales — “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” (she is a wife from Bath, an English town named for its many ruins of ancient Roman baths). The Wife of Bath’s Tale And, for a totally different medieval view of what women should be like, here’s the “The Clerk’s Tale” from the same site. The Clerk’s Tale
  2. This literature selection was listed in the chapter 2 Literature section since it pertains to King Arthur. But Mallory authored this in the late Middle Ages, around 1485. Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. is the epic story of Arthur’s life, first published in 1485 as 21 books, and is well worth experiencing a portion of it. Read first the summary on who Malory was: <>
    Then read a selection from Le Morte d’Arthur, Book 1, chapter 5. This is Mallory’s version of the sword in the stone.
  3. Everyman is a famous play from this era. The link below leads the way for researching this piece of Christian literature. Be sure and read the introduction first. When you click to read the text, you’ll have choices. I recommend the ORB Medieval Sourcebook as the best (easiest to read). Give it a try and you might find it entertaining.

Chapter 7  Primary Source

  1. John Wycliffe’s New Testament online. This link will give you Wycliffe’s translation side-by-side with the NIV version for I Corinthians 13, a familiar passage.;&version=53;31;


   Chapter 8        And the Word Became…Print!

Not To Be Missed!

  1. Quick audio clips that illustrate the changes in pronunciation of a few specific words from Middle to modern English.
  2. An actor reads some excerpts from Mark Twain regarding spelling — funny and interesting. Go to this link– Click on “Mark Twain” and it will change the video to your right. Then watch the video. Read more of what Twain wrote about spelling on the same page below the video.


Chapter 8  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Here’s a quick 3 min. video showing a reproduction Gutenberg press.
  2. Read about the first item printed by Caxton in England.
  3. You need to know about this site — you may want to use it sometime. Look at what it’s about and think how appropriately it is named. (It’s NOT about Gutenberg)

Chapter 8  Primary Source

Turn the pages of the Gutenberg Bible online. Then have a look at the other excellent sections on this site, beginning with “The Book Before Gutenberg,” by continuing to click down the list on the left.   BACK TO TOP

   Chapter  9        The Invasion of Greek

Not To Be Missed!

Lee Stroebel interviewing J. Warner Wallace on YouTube about the reliability of the New Testament documents (8 min.)–

A video of an interactive museum exhibit on Leonardo Da Vinci–his art and inventions. (3 min.)


On YouTube– but this is a full length documentary so I have considered it a “movie.” It’s about the man considered to be the ideal “Renaissance man”– Leonardo da Vinci. It’s 50 minutes: Leonardo da Vinci: The Man Who Wanted to Know Everything.

Chapter 9  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Try this site for more details on the Byzantine Empire.
  2. Constantinople, capital city of the Byzantine Empire, is now known as Istanbul, and it is the 5th largest city in the world. It extends both on the European and on the Asian sides of the Bosphorus Strait, and is thereby the only metropolis in the world that is situated on two continents. [Click on the map for a google-maps-view of Istanbul and back it up so you can see where in the world it is.]2 1/2 min. video — a quick look at this unique and ancient city– Roman, Byzantine, Christian, Muslim all in one.
  3. Learning Greek and Latin roots can help you score higher on the SAT and other standardized test. Here are the 5 reasons why. And here’s a list of the top 30 roots you should know.
  4. Explore more about Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the most brilliant men who has ever lived.
  5. Watch this 9 minute You Tube video montage of Da Vinci’s drawings and  inventions with commentary that you read along with the pictures. His inventions or ideas for inventions were stunningly ahead of his time.  The beginning explains how most of Da Vinci’s notes were lost and many were not recovered until the 1900’s. The anatomical drawings showing what da Vinci discovered about the human body long before these things were known by anyone else occupy the first half of the video, and his mechanical inventions are the second half–both parts equally stunning!
  6. More about the Renaissance–
  7. The reliability of the New Testament documents–

Chapter 9  Literature/Primary Source


 Chapter  10        “Sola Fide”– A Battle Cry For Faith

Not To Be Missed!

Watch Luther! (see below under movies).


WATCH LUTHER! If you can only watch one film or do one suggested activity, let it be this one. Stars Joseph Fiennes as Martin Luther in a wonderful and well-made film about his life as a monk, his break with the Roman Church, and the havoc wrought in Germany at the time. You may also recognize Dr. Octopus from Spiderman playing the part of Tetzel, the infamous seller of indulgences.

Chapter 10  Expanding the Lesson

  1. A very interesting youtube video on Martin Luther–delves more deeply into the theological issues. Just under 9 minutes.
  2. Two very good 10 min. videos on the Protestant Reformation.
  3. All about Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve:
    1. From this website: The Real Meaning of Halloween.
    2. Ancient Roots of Halloween

Chapter 10  Primary Source

Below are two examples of Luther’s writings. Keep in mind that these works were originally composed in German, so these are translations.

  1. Martin Luther on Faith
  2. Luther wrote many hymns that are still sung today. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God is his most famous. This version is the well known translation by F. H. Hedge.

If you want to see more of original works by Luther, here’s a full list of Luther’s works online, most of which are translated into English.   BACK TO TOP

   Chapter 11         Fulfilling Wycliffe’s Dream

Not To Be Missed!

A 6 minute you tube video from Wycliffe Bible translators on the importance of getting the Bible into the common languages of all people.


Jesus and the Shroud of Turin This may seem somewhat off topic, but it does have to do with the Catholic Church and its relics. In the film Luther, Martin Luther makes fun of the medieval practice of collecting so-called relics, especially since the church charged money to see relics and then gave your great aunt Matilda time off from purgatory just because you looked at the supposed bones of some saint. However, that being said, this particular relic has caused quite a stir among evangelicals as well as Catholics. The scientific investigation to see if this relic is real is so interesting I show it to my world history classes every year. The jury is still out, but watch it more than once and I promise that you will not write this relic off. Here’s the link for the documentary on the Shroud on YouTube.  I highly recommend it!

Chapter 11  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Read about some of the various modern Bible translations. This article on compares and contrasts some of the various types of Bibles in order to help a buyer pick out the most suitable translation or paraphrase for them (and learn the difference between translations and paraphases) The distinctions are interesting and will help you understand the difficulty in translation work.|58674|1003|2275884|1003 Near the end of the above article there is a list of Bibles. Click on 2 or 3 of them and read the description of what is unique about that particular tranlation and what the benefits or drawbacks might be.
  2. Read more about Erasmus
  3. The importance of Erasmus’ work The Praise of Folly,,9780140446081,00.html

Chapter 11  Literature/Primary Source

  1. Read an excerpt from Erasmus’s satire The Praise of Folly where he makes fun of the Church of his day. Though Erasmus remained loyal to the Catholic Church, he believed it needed reform and he was, as this piece shows, extremely aware of the many abuses. Some of his descriptions of the churchmen in his day are really startling.
  2. Tyndale’s works are listed here with links to read them:


   Chapter 12         Of Kings and Wives and Martyrs

Not To Be Missed!

Here’s a really good scene about Tyndale created from an old forgotten video “God’s Outlaw, the life of William Tyndale.” The whole movie is available on You Tube (1 1/2 hours). But here’s the 10 min. excerpt –if you can’t watch the movie, at least watch this!


God’s Outlaw, the Story of William Tyndale. You can watch from Amazon for just $5. I found it on Netflix too, but not on Blockbuster.  I haven’t seen it myself, but the trailers above look very well done.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII — Here’s a link to a 4 part documentary. Each part is around 50 minutes. Parental perusal advised. Maybe watch at least one part. 🙂
There are so many more movies and documentaries about Henry VIII that I can’t vouch for which ones are appropriate for teen viewing. The Other Boleyn Girl was wonderfully well done and is one of my favorites, but some editing by Mom might be required on this one too– so please beware! Henry VIII’s life was pretty scandalous, so it’s hard to deal with him and his consorts without some parental editing.

A Man For All Seasons–1966 version, winner of 4 academy awards, with Paul Scoffield (far superior to the later remake with Charlton Heston). This movie is about Sir Thomas More. It is especially enlightening to see a movie honoring this man because he was the personal enemy of both Martin Luther and William Tyndale. It’s a great illustration of the complexity of the events and times, seeing God working on both sides of a truly great divide and very real heroics on both sides. More, like Tyndale, lost his life while standing up for his principles. This is a great movie!

Chapter 12  Expanding the Lesson

  1. The six wives of Henry VIII —
  2. This intriguing article on Henry VIII speculates about several physical disorders King Henry may have had. One may have caused two of his wives to miscarry their babies, and another may be responsible for Henry’s increased paranoid and irrational behavior in later years (like beheading his wives). The research is referred to as “bioarchaeology” —
  3. Read all about John Foxe who wrote the well-known Book of Martyrs. His account of William Tyndale is one of our primary sources for what happened at Tyndale’s execution. (Renaissance era music plays in the background of this site.)
  4. All about William Tyndale — take your pick of topics.

Chapter 12  Primary Source

  1. Here’s a sampling of King Henry VIII’s writings, including several letters that he wrote to Anne Boleyn, along with poems, songs, speeches, and essays.
  2. Tyndale’s letter from prison
  3. This link will give you a searchable Tyndale New Testament. Look up a passage with which you are already familarir and see how it reads in Tyndale’s version:


   Chapter  13        The Bible That Was Named for a King

Not To Be Missed!

There were some early editions of the King James Bible which had specific printing errors in them. These editions became known for their flaws. One of the most famous of these became popularly referred to as “The Wicked Bible” because its particular printing goof. Go here and see if you can tell what it was — If you didn’t see the mistake, this place explains what it was –


Not only was a Bible named for King James, but so also was the first permanent English settlement in America, Jamestown, Virginia. Watch The New World, a lavish adaptation of the Jamestown story– about Pochahantas, and Captain John Smith. If you google “movies about Jamestown,” you’ll see a list of multiple feature movies which give more historial context for what was happening at the time. Be sure and check ratings and maybe check Rotten Tomatoes to see if it’s worth your while.

Chapter 13  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Article on the Geneva Bible (and its disturbingly Protestant notes 🙂
  2. More Bible printing errors — just for fun.  Perhaps make a list of your favorite Bible printing errors. Discuss with an adult the idea that typos may appear in the Bible and how that differs greatly from translation errors.
  3. See a portrait of James I.
  4. Brief biography of James I. Find out what happened to his mother, Mary Queen of Scots.
  5. Read about John Knox, famous Scottish reformer and Presbyterian.
  6. Read about the Apocrypha and which of the books were considered part of the Bible by Catholics and which were never considered as part of anyone’s Bible.

Chapter 13  Literature/Primary Source

  1. Read King James’ speech before Parliament in 1609 in which he defends the belief that a king rules with the authority given him by God, but the king is not above the law and must humbly obey the laws of his own kingdom.
  2. Read a dab of the Geneva Bible online. You’ll see how copious are the notes! The link if for Genesis 1, but you can click at the top to go to the Geneva Study Bible and then go to any passage you want.


   Chapter 14          Shakespeare

Not To Be Missed!


These are mine and my children’s favorites. Much Ado is tops for us, but they are all very well produced and entertaining. Much Ado About Nothing — 1993 Director, Kenneth Branaugh. Two caveats: crazy bare-bottoms scene thrown in randomly at the very beginning (you can easily fast forward and not miss any story or dialog), and one scene with a man and woman in a window insinuating sexual activity that you will probably want to fast forward through. Other than that, this is one of the best movies ever! (also stars, Kate Beckinsale, Emma Thompson, Michael Keaton, Denzel Washington, Keanu Reeves)

The Taming of the Shrew — Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Classic and very funny. Hamlet — either version: the 1996 version with Kenneth Branaugh (longer), or the 1990 with Mel Gibson. Others are good, too, but I prefer these.

Midsummer Night’s Dream– with  Michelle Pfeiffer.

Romeo and Juliet. There’s a bit of bare bottom in this one, too, but at least they are married! Easy to fast forward. This production by Franco Zeffrelli simply can’t be beat. It is lavish and beautiful. And in case you don’t already know about this, here’s the free sparknotes for Shakespeare.

Chapter 14  Expanding the Lesson

  1. See the modern re-creation of the Globe Theater in London in this brief You Tube documentary–
  2. Another You Tube video summarizing Shakespeare’s life–It mentions the London theaters, The Curtain and The Rose. We usually think of The Globe Theater with Shakespeare, but these other two were connected to the production of his plays as well.
  3. Just for fun: If you have some familiarity with Hamlet, or after you have studied it, watch this you tube video comedy sketch– William Shakespeare meets with his editor who is trying to get him to cut down Hamlet. (clean except for one slang word at the very beginning). Very funny.
  4. Everything about Shakespeare, his life, Elizabethan theater, etc.:
  5. If there’s any way for you to purchase this funny and amazingly good DVD, I highly recommend it: “How William Became Shakespeare.

Chapter 14  Literature/Primary Source

  1. In Shakespeare’s play Henry V, King Henry makes a speech to rally his troops for the battle of Agincourt  in 1415 during the Hundred Years’ War. The English were discouraged and fearful because they were greatly outnumbered by the French on this morning of St. Crispin’s Day. Shakespeare writes a rousing speech for Henry that has gone down as one of literature’s most stirring calls to arms. Watch it performed on You Tube.
  2. Study guides for each of Shakespeare’s plays–You can click on line by line translations or on the Sparknotes overviews.
  3. Full text of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare:


   Chapter 15         If Only King Alfred Could See Us Now!

Not To Be Missed!

Word Game from the British Library: Matching Words Across A Thousand Years And here’s the answers


Chapter 15  Expanding the Lesson

  1. Map over time showing the British Empire beginning in 1492 when it was just the one island of England, and then as it grows to be a huge empire, and from its peak how it dwindles down to the present day. Fun and short.
  2. Lists — lots of lists- English words of foreign origin:
  3. Paul Greenberg on how the French are trying to suppress the use of English words.
  4. Map showing primary dialects in the United States:
  5. More on English as a global language and whether that will continue in the future–
  6. More about the history of using double negatives– A brief history here: And this link has a bit more:

Chapter 15   Primary Source

From the British Library: A history of dictionaries and a look at portions of pages from English dictionaries from 1500 onward–   BACK TO TOP