Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsHello, and welcome to Lancaster Castle and Northern English History, the View from the Stronghold. This course takes an innovative approach to the study of history. We use iconic Lancaster Castle as a way into the history of Northern England. The course is aimed especially at adult learners who are interested in British history, castles, or the Northwest of England. The course runs over five weeks, which progressed from the first century to the 21st century. Along the way, you will develop an understanding of how historians use different types of source material. And you will practise your skills of close analysis. You will also learn how to contextualise the history of Lancaster Castle in the broader historical picture.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 secondsIn week 1, I explore the early history of Castle Hill from the Roman period to the 11th century. This week offers insights into the wide range of source material that can be used to study earlier periods of history. Week 2 focuses on the central and later medieval periods, starting with the building of the castle keep, and encountering well-known figures such as John of Gaunt and Richard III. In week 3, we move into the early modern period, a time of religious turmoil in Lancashire. We focus especially on the Lancashire witches, who were imprisoned at Lancaster Castle. You will develop your skills of close reading and your geographical knowledge of the region.

Skip to 1 minute and 59 secondsIn week 4, Dr. Chris Donaldson takes the story down to the 19th century. He explores the castle's appeal to visitors, including well-known writers and painters. And he examines changes to life inside the prison. You will analyse several texts in detail, as well as one renowned painting. Finally, in week 5, Dr. Corinna Peniston-Bird covers the castle's 20th century history, including its roles in the First and Second World Wars. She also explores the castle's enduring significance in the region's heritage and tourism. You will become familiar with the rich insights that can be drawn from personal testimonies. In order to make the most of this course, consider at the beginning of each week what you wish to learn.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsSee how this changes throughout the course as you delve into various sources and join conversations with other learners online. Feel free to go backwards in the course, as well as forwards if you wish to return to earlier material as your knowledge develops. Most importantly, we hope you enjoy learning about this outstanding castle and the fascinating history of its region.

Introduction to the course

Welcome to our course ‘Lancaster Castle and Northern English History: the View from the Stronghold’.

We hope that you enjoy learning about this outstanding castle and the fascinating history of its region.

Watch this short video in which Dr Fiona Edmonds, one of the team of educators, will introduce you to the course.

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Lancaster Castle and Northern English History: The View from the Stronghold

Lancaster University

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