Doom Paintings - 1st Form History

This term the 1st Form will be exploring society's relationship with the Church during the Middle Ages; this will culminate in a case study on the Crusades. In the introductory lesson for this topic the class discussed why religion was so important during this time. James Thompson explained how catastrophes such as the Black Death and natural disasters would have led people to seek explanation through prayer. Georgiana Wainwright-Jones noted how religious ceremonies such as confirmation, baptism and funerals were important milestones in people's lives; they also centred around prayer.


After understanding the fact that over 90% of Englishmen would not have been able to read and write, the class correctly identified that religious teachings would have to be conveyed visually and orally. One way in which this was carried out was through 'doom paintings', which highlighted the contrasts between the reward of Heaven and the agony of Hell. Elizabeth Lapthorne explained to the class that these paintings would have encouraged Christians to 'lead a godly lifestyle and avoid sin'. Abigail Hunter-Blanco identified some of the key symbols in these paintings, such as: fire, demons, a ladder, angels and gruesome punishments.

For prep, the class had to create their own Doom images, which are now displayed in the History classroom. The class incorporated many of the symbols that they had identified in class, with many pupils giving their posters a modern twist. Perhaps now when they are considering misbehaving in class they will look at the posters and think otherwise!