When studying History, a crucial skill for understanding why events unfolded as they did, and why people in particular chose to act as they did, is to explore events from a number of perspectives – even those that we might disagree with or find distateful. In this piece of creative writing, year 7 student Maeve H imagines how a crusader might have experienced The Crusades’.
November 26th, 1096
My name is Matthew Halligan and, as of tomorrow, I am a crusader. I am 16 years old. I am quite tall and very strong for my age, with a mop of untidy brown hair, bright green eyes and a taste for adventure. I have lived in my village, Littleport, in the north of France, for as long as I can remember, and now that I can pass as 21 I am almost desperate to leave. My Mother, Mary, was married to my father, William, for years and years before he died very suddenly last winter. We were all devastated, and even now, as old as 16, I still sometimes cry myself to sleep on my straw bed in the loft.
My 4 brothers, Charles, John, Christopher and Henry are all older than me, and they never let me forget it. They are forever teasing me and beating me, throwing me in the mud whenever they get the chance. Charles, my eldest brother, is soon to be married, and so has moved to the other side of the village to his wife-to-be’s father’s farm. He will inherit it when her father dies, as she has no brothers. I, on the other hand, am the youngest in our family, and have been longing to prove to my 4 brutes of brothers that I am just as strong as them ever since we were little boys. And tomorrow I shall. Jerusalem. The land of the holy and free, the land where heroes are born. The Pope, Urban II, told us to go, told us about the Saracens that are stealing good Christian land.
Maeve continues her diary over the period 1096-1099 (a cross-curricular History / English creative writing project) as Matthew discovers that not everything is quite as he has been told.