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

Lancaster University via FutureLearn


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This course takes an innovative approach to exploring history, focusing on Lancaster Castle as a microcosm of broader trends. This fascinating location provides a wealth of evidence from the remains of Roman forts to its life as a prison and visitor attraction.

Our engaging educators respond to the castle and its surroundings in relation to their research interests, such as medieval Anglo-Scottish warfare, the witchcraft trials of the seventeenth century and the achievements of prison reformers.

Join us to uncover this castle’s vital role in northern English history over many centuries.

This course is designed for adult learners with an interest in castles, the history of the North West of England or British history in general.


  • The First Millennium
    • Getting Started
    • Roman Britain and Lancaster
    • Roman Lancaster: The Sources
    • Early Medieval Lancaster and its Region
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • Lancaster in the High and Late Medieval Periods
    • The Castle and Medieval Politics
    • The Medieval Castle
    • Medieval Society
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • The Early Modern Period
    • Introduction to Week 3
    • Political and Religious Change
    • The Geography of the Lancashire Witches
    • The Lancashire Witches
    • Weighing Up the Evidence
    • The Idea of the Witch
    • Optional activity
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • 18-19th Century
    • Introduction to Week 4
    • The Castle as a Cultural Presence
    • The Castle as a County Prison
    • Reflection and Summing Up
  • 20th century to the present day
    • Introduction to Week 5
    • The castle in the 20th Century
    • Personal accounts
    • Lancaster Castle as a tourist attraction
    • Reflection and Summing Up
    • What Next?

Taught by

Fiona Edmonds


4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 163 ratings

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