Notes of Lessons: History, Class III

Notes of Lessons: History, Class III

[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.]

Group: History • Class III • Age: 13 and 14 • Time: 20-30 minutes

By Ida E. Fischer
The Parents’ Review, 1903, pp. 58-59

Some Historical Associations of the District


I. To give the children a picture of this district as it was about the beginning of the Christian era.

II. To give the children a new interest in their walks and expeditions, by showing them that history was made in this part of the country as much as in any other.

III. To show that there are reasons why roads are laid down in certain directions.

IV. To strengthen the imagination of the pupils.


Step I.—We set off together in spirit for Wansfell Terrace, where we examine the road and find that it is made very firmly of large stones, and although it is grass-covered it is pretty level and dry. It is not a high road, so how can this be? The reason is that it is a Roman road, and therefore we must find out why we have a Roman road here.

The children know the Latin word for a camp, and from that we find out that there must have been an important camp on the site of the modern town of Lancaster (the camp on the Lune).

Step II.—Tell how Julius Agricola, Governor of Britain, came to Lancaster in 78 a.d. and built a road from it to Kendal. Describe, drawing as much as possible from the children, the appearance of the country in those days; how it was covered with forests and bogs. Would it be easy to build roads through such a country? No. Therefore the easiest way to get north was to follow the coast line, and so a road was built from the other side of Morecambe Bay, past Ravensglass and on to Carlisle, where another camp was built. The other reason for following the coast line was that communication might be kept up with the fleet.

Step III.—But the Romans were not satisfied with going round the coast and tried to get north by a shorter route. Accordingly they found their way to the banks of Windermere, reaching it below where the town of Windermere now lies. They again take the easiest way north, and follow the shore of the lake to level ground at its head, where they build a camp called Dictis. Before they arrived at Dictis, though, they came to the Troutbeck Valley, and began to explore it. Now they begin to climb and build a road up the side of the mountain on the opposite side of the valley. They go over Ill Bell and Froswick, and make their main road north along the summit of High Street. This road is continued to Brougham, where there was an important camp.

Step IV.—Now we return to Dictis, and we see its advantages of position, etc. It was builtof Dalton stone chiefly brought up the Lake by boat. By noticing the directions of valleys which radiate from the head of Windermere, the children can tell the direction of the six roads leading from Dictis.

  1. The Windermere Road, already mentioned.
  2. Wansfell Terrace, which is merely a short cut from Dictis to the High Street Road.
  3. The Kirkstone Road, which led over to the west side of Ullswater.
  4. The Keswick Road, leading by Rydal, Grasmere and Thirlmere, to a camp at Keswick.
  5. The Ravensglass Road went through the Brathay Valley, and over the Wrynoseand Harthnott Passes.
  6. The last road ran between Coniston and Esthwaite to Dalton-in-Furness.

While the lesson is going on have a sketch map put on the board, and use maps of the district.

Step V.—Recapitulate.