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 four weeks, which progress 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 4 secondsIn week 1, I explore the early history of Castle Hill from the Roman period to the 15th century. This week offers insights into the wide range of source material that can be used to study earlier periods of history. Week 2 covers the Early Modern period, a time of religious turmoil in Lancashire. Dr. Stephen Pumfrey focuses 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. In week 3, 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 examines changes to life inside the prison.

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 secondsYou will analyse several texts in detail as well as one renowned painting. Finally, 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. See 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.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsMost 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.

Subtitles to follow shortly, see downloads below for a transcript.

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Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

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

Lancaster University