History (Medieval & Warfare)


This is a course which gives both an insight into the past and develops deductive reasoning, analytical and extended prose composition skills. The department offers three options for History - you might consider studying Early Modern History or Modern History as an alternative to this option. All are assessed in exactly the same way, the only difference being the subject matter.

History is a subject that can be helpful to any student and can usefully be studied in combination with any arts subject. Students often study History alongside English, Classical Civilisation and/or Politics. The subject can also give greater breadth to the academic portfolio of students studying predominately science subjects.

Exam questions come in the form of either essays where a student must argue a case for or against a key historical issue or questions address the historical skills of source analysis and historical interpretation. In the second A Level year, students will complete an extended study in the form of coursework. Strong written and literacy skills are needed for the course and assessments.

Our department’s staff are highly qualified with extensive experience delivering the curriculum. Many of us work as examiners for examination boards. We have very good links with higher education institutes and members of staff who support students with their university applications.

We offer many trips and visits which are directly associated with the subject matter studied. Throughout your course of study, you will be fully supported in and outside the classroom by the department’s staff.


The Medieval and Warfare course follows the two biggest changes in English and European Medieval History – the Norman Conquest and the Crusades. The period is fascinating because it shows the way in which England changed from an Anglo-Saxon to a Norman country, and how religion shaped the politics of the Medieval period. The Changing Nature of Warfare 1792-1945 is a unit which explores the way in which conflict has changed between the musket and atomic bomb.



Unit 1: Anglo-Saxon and Norman England 1035-1107

We will be learning about how England changed from an Anglo-Danish realm with Viking kings, through Edward the Confessor to Harold Godwinson. You know the story after that – William, Hastings, and maybe an arrow in the eye for Harold. We learn about how William and his sons William Rufus and Henry I ‘Normanised’ England by 1107.


Unit 2: The Crusades 1095-1192

We learn about how holy war changed the Medieval world, featuring the two most significant things in Medieval life – God and war. The Crusades began in 1095, but it is possible to see their impact even today. We look at the First, Second, and Third Crusades, and the impact of Crusader States on the Middle East, featuring such characters as Pope Urban II, Godfrey of Bouillon, Nur al Din, Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. It was a world of deep religious piety, cross-cultural contact, and lots of men chopping each other with swords.


Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.


Unit 3: The Changing Nature of Warfare 1792-1945

This course is a thematic look at how warfare changed from the age of the flintlock musket to the atom bombs of 1945. We will look at the way war was fought across the time period, with particular emphasis on the French Revolution, the American Civil War, and

World War One. From the cannonade at Valmy, through the Charge of the Light Brigade, to the Battle of Stalingrad, with Napoleon, Grant, Falkenhayn, and Montgomery. Behind the bullets and the bombs, lie logistics, medical care, armaments, and the societies that sent their armies to fight. It is a wide-ranging course, which deals with everything from the Minie bullet to the Tiger tank, and from War Bonds to kamikazes. 


You will also be choosing from a list of coursework essay titles to research and write up. Topics offered may include the Crusades (which was studied as part of Unit Two) and the Vikings. We may also offer options on the Fall of Rome and Medieval Warfare, depending on numbers.


Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:

Grade required Subject required

Grade 5

In one of either GCSE English Language, English Literature, Religious Studies or Sociology


Grade 5

GCSE History (if taken) 


if GCSE History has not been taken

Grade 5

in a second GCSE subject from the list above

Please note that students cannot take two History options – Medieval & Warfare and Modern for example.



History is a highly regarded arts qualification. Many of our students go on to study it at university. Teaching and postgraduate research are obvious career options. In addition, many historians go on to train for professions such as the law or accountancy.


To be successful you will need to enjoy reading and have sound written skills. The department has well developed support materials which are available through the college’s virtual learning environment (Moodle) system and MS Teams. There is also an extensive collection of history books and e-resources in the College Library.