Notes of Lessons: History, Class Ib

Notes of Lessons: History, Class Ib

[We have thought that it might be of use to our readers (in their own families) to publish from month to month during the current year, Notes of Lessons prepared by students of the House of Education for the pupils of the Practising School. We should like to say, however, that such a Lesson is never given as a tour de force, but is always an illustration or an expansion of some part of the children’s regular studies (in the Parents’ Review School), some passage in one or other of their school books.—Ed.]

Subject: Westminster Abbey Group: History Class Ib Time: 15 minutes

By L. Stainton
The Parents’ Review, 1906, pp. 62-65


I. To increase the boys’ interest in the history of Westminster Abbey.

II. To revise and amplify that which they have already learnt about the Abbey.

III. To give them some idea of the beauty of its interior that they may better appreciate the Abbey should they have an opportunity of visiting it.


Step I.—Draw from G_____ all that he knows about the foundation of St. Peter’s Church, by Edward the Confessor. Help him to picture the peaceful solitude of the scene in comparison with the present one of life and traffic in the midst of which Westminster Abbey now stands.

Step II.—Tell the legend concerning the dedication of the church to St. Peter. The church was to be dedicated one Sunday morning, many hundred years ago. The night before, a fisherman ferried over from the Lambeth side, a stranger who proved to be none other than St. Peter himself, the fisher of the Lake of Galilee. The ferryman saw the church lighted up with a dazzling illumination and heard the sound of choirs of angels. The Apostle on his return bade him tell Melitus that he would find all the signs of consecration already completed. He rewarded him with an enormous draught of salmon which was never to fail himself and his successors so long as they abstained from Sunday fishing,and paid tithes of all they caught to St. Peter’s Church. (Melitus, a noble Roman, and first Bishop of London.)

Step III.—Tell of the different kings who in their turn helped to build and beautify Westminster Abbey, drawing as much as possible from the boys. The main portion of the present church is the work of Henry III., who, wishing to do honour to Edward the Confessor, demolished all the eastern part of the church built by that king, and placed the body in the shrine inwhich it now lies (see picture) in the most sacred part of his own beautiful new edifice. (Show picture of tomb of Henry III.) Edward I. had the Coronation Chair built, and when he led his army into Scotland, they got as far as Scone, where the “Stone of Destiny” was kept upon which Scottish kings had always been crowned. Edward had the stone carried to Westminster Abbey and placed under the Coronation Chair, where it still remains. (Picture of Coronation Chair.) The work was carried on by Richard II. (of whom there is a portrait in the Abbey), and by Henry V. The western end was not completed till the reign of Henry VII., about seventy years later. He also added a magnificent chapel at the east end of the church, in which he was himself buried, as were also Edward VI., Queen Elizabeth, and Mary Queen of Scots.

Step IV.—Ask the meaning of the word “abbey.” Up to the reign of Henry VIII., Westminster Abbey was the church of a great monastery. There were many such monasteries in England in those days, and they were called “abbeys” because they were ruled by “abbots” or fathers. We still see remains of the monastery in the deanery, chapter house, and west cloisters. (Picture of cloisters.)

Step V.—If time permits, recapitulate the lesson, and show position of Westminster Abbey in a map of London.