History trip 2018

As part of our Medieval History A Level studies we were given the exciting opportunity to attend the annual history trip, staying at Bernieres-sur-Mer and visiting many interesting historical sites including Château Gaillard (Richard I’s so called ‘cheeky’ castle) and Omaha beach where many American soldiers lost their lives during the D-Day landings in 1944. This trip improved our knowledge and put many historical events into perspective, as well as teaching us about the many influences of history on today’s world. We had plenty of time to explore key Norman cities including Rouen and Caen- where the traditional market allowed us to immerse ourselves in French culture and practice our language skills. We even managed a rather competitive Rounders game in the beautiful setting of Juno beach.

Our favourite visits included the birthplace of William the Conqueror, Falaise, where we used virtual reality screens to view the castle as it would have been at the time. This gave us great insight into how the royals lived and also told us a lot about the architecture and defences of a medieval castle. We also visited Bayeux where we viewed the spectacular source, the Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the Norman conquest of 1066. We also visited Bayeux cathedral where we saw the amazing gothic architecture and we were also given some free time to explore the beautiful city and some went off to enjoy a crepe in the sun.

On day two we arrived at Château Gisors and learnt about the role it played in Phillip II‘s attempt to extend his French possessions at the expense of England’s Angevin rulers. Following this visit we travelled to our favourite castle, Chateau Gaillard. This beautiful monument, overlooking the River Seine, uses early principles of concentric fortification and was one of the earliest European castles to use machicolations. In the early 1200s this castle played an important role in John’s embarrassing loss of his continental possessions.

The History trip was invaluable to us as students as we learnt lots about our course, made many new friends, experienced a new culture and saw many beautiful sights.

Written by students Nathaniel Norcliffe and Alice Lambert.