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The Greatest Knight Online

A free-to-view website working with external stakeholders to offer a range of otherwise unavailable resources related to the career of the famous medieval knight, William Marshal.

  • School/Institute/Department: School of History
  • Subjects: Medieval History, Website Resources, Teaching Resources
  • Audience: Teaching Professionals, School Children, Genral Public, Historial Interest Groups

This project will establish a free-to-view website offering a range of otherwise unavailable resources related to the career of the famous medieval knight, William Marshal.

•        Servant of 5 English Kings
•        Only man to best Richard the Lionheart in combat
•        Negotiator of Magna Carta
•        Regent of England (1216-19)
•        Dubbed the ‘greatest knight’ by contemporaries

This site will stimulate public engagement with Marshal’s career and medieval history on two fronts:

1. Pedagogic Resource

As a pedagogic resource, the site will be targeted primarily at sixth-form teachers and students engaging in the new linear History A-Level programme, as recent curriculum reforms mean that medieval subjects such as the Angevins and the Crusades will be taken by many more students from September 2015. The site will also be of value to other educational sectors, from Key Stage 3 to undergraduate degree level.

Working with a number of educational advisors to establish and then refine its content, this site will facilitate the study of Marshal’s career. William’s life sheds important light upon many aspects of medieval history, from the emergence of the knightly class, to the experience and impact of crusading, and the machinations of Anegvin politics and international affairs. To date, however, most of the key primary sources on Marshal are either wholly unavailable in printed form or presented only in hard to access, limited print-run volumes.

2. Heritage Resource

The focus on Magna Carta in 2015, combined with approaching anniversaries of Marshal’s historic victory over the French at Lincoln (2017) and his death and burial at Temple Church (2019), mean that public interest in William’s career is blossoming. A ‘William Marshal’ trail has already been established in Wales by Cadw, and Dr Tom Asbridge will be bidding to extend this through English Heritage, connecting sites such as Temple Church, Lincoln, Cartmel Priory and Hamstead Marshall.

Drawing upon input from a number of external partners, including Cadw, this resource will, for the first time, present accessible versions of the documents (such as foundation charters) that link Marshal to heritage sites, thus promoting public engagement and enriching visitor experience.

The website is currently being assembled in a pilot format as a ‘proof of concept’ featuring a selection documentation and resources to then support seeking of additional grant funding to support expansion to cover a much broader range of documents and materials related to William Marshal.

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