Pictures Across the Curriculum: Missing Monks

 In this series I'm looking at how well-chosen digital photos can be used in different areas of the curriculum.

Today I'm looking a some photos that might have sparked off an historical investigation if I'd had more time.

Whilst looking for a nice-looking hostelry in Dunwich in Suffolk, my wife and I came upon the ruins of a monastery. We decided to investigate.

I don't know why, but I love these kind of sites. I try to imagine what life must have been like in those days -- not only for the people who lived in the monastery itself, the monks, but for the townsfolk too.

Perhaps pictures like these could spark off a similar interest on the part of pupils?



The monastery was called Greyfriars, a name derived from the fact that the monks -- or friars -- used to wear grey robes. This is another fascinating facet of history: the history of placenames, and etymology.

The monastery shown here dates from the 13th century, but is not on its original site. Dunwich itself is very much older, as you will discover here.

Very little of the original Dunwich remains today: these ruins are just about it. A few hundred years ago, it disappeared into the sea because of a geological phenomenon known as "soil creep".

Now, interestingly enough, many towns along the Suffolk coast are facing similar problems today, and it's estimated that some areas will no longer be in existence in a hundred or two years. In some areas, the Government has advocated a policy of "managed retreat". That is to say, it will allow nature to take its course. So, in a sense, there are some parallels to be drawn (or not?) between events today and those of 700 years ago.

I hope you enjoy these photos. No doubt you will be able to think of other ways in which they might be used to stimulate interest in history and other parts of the curriculum. If so, please leave a comment and tell us!

What better reason to give each curriculum leader a set of digital cameras to use as they like?


This article was originally published on the old ICT in Education website on 9th September 2008. If you found this article useful, you may also enjoy those found here: Photography