The Battle of Lewes Education Resources


On May 14th 1264, King Henry III fought a violent battle at Lewes against the barons led by Simon de Montfort. The barons were angry that the King was spending all the country’s money on himself, his friends and relatives. They tried to get him to listen to their advice but he ignored them. The King and his army arrived in Lewes on 11th May. The King stayed at the Priory of St Pancras whilst his son, Prince Edward, went with his knights to John de Warenne’s castle within  the town.  De Montfort, the barons and their army were camped out of sight, on the Downs above Lewes. They continued to try to persuade the King, via messengers, to agree to restrictions on his spending but were unsuccessful. So they moved into position to start the battle the next day.

The outcome of the Battle of Lewes lead to the formation of England’s first elected Parliament and so has great significance nationally and internationally.  The resources on these pages are designed to be used in the classroom and at home. 

Battle of Lewes Workbook

  • The Battle of Lewes Workbook uses the eight panels on the Battle of Lewes Monument, fondly called ‘The Helmet’, to lead learners through the main points of the battle.
  • Line drawings of the eight Helmet panels- these can be used independently of the workbook.
  • Battle of Lewes Maps Explained- plots the movement of the factions of the two armies.
  • The ‘Our Battle of Lewes’ stories inform the workbook and recount the events of those fateful days from the viewpoint of Richard of Alemaine, who was the King’s brother, Baron John Fitzjohn, A Priory monk, a fictitious cheese seller, Isabella Hardcastle, and a ghost!
  • Actors read the ‘Our Battle of Lewes’ stories- very engaging and moving.

Battle of Lewes Role Play

  • These cards briefly explain the reasons for the Battle of Lewes and set the scene for its re-enactment. Salient points of the battle are outlined in 15 scene cards that can be used across the curriculum.  Active characters are named and  their actions are explained.
  • The character cards are designed to be used by groups of varying sizes from five or six up to a double class of 60.
  • The Barons,  Kingsmen, Townspeople and Monk  crib sheets provide more detailed, stage management instructions for re-enacting all the events of the Battle of Lewes.

The Battle of Lewes Storyboards

  • The Battle of Lewes is explained in 12 and 24 stages.  The 12 stage sheet is designed for Early Years/Foundation Stage children, while the 24 stage sheets are more accessible for Key Stage Two and Three.
  • Teaching professionals and interested adults will also find these a useful, quick guide to the Battle of Lewes.

The Battle of Lewes Picture Book

  • Relating to the 24 scenes in the Battle of Lewes Storyboards, this exquisitely drawn book is an excellent reference resource and will engage learners of all ages.
  • The illustrations are in black line to for ease of copying and also for colouring.

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