Defence of the Realm 1100-1900

Ref: C2225389

This course charts the physical and documentary evidence of warfare and defence in East Anglia from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century, and its effects on the lives of the region's inhabitants. We look at evidence of defence from castles and fortified houses to walled towns and Martello Towers, and the involvement of all classes of people, from generals and admirals to the ordinary men mustering with their pikes and muskets. East Anglia's position made it a prime target for invasion and an area of off-shore naval activity, and each event involved East Anglians both in action and on shore. Others took part in imperial expansion and international wars. Rebellion and civil war took its toll on everyday life and personal relationships. Town records, account books, diaries, letters, memorials, and buildings all tell their stories, and it is through these we can bring this topic to life.

Course aim

Castles and walled towns, rebellion and civil war, invasion threats and sea battles; we use material and documentary evidence to explore their impact on the landscape and social history of the people of East Anglia from the Middle Ages to 1914

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • This course is aimed at anyone who is interested in history with a local emphasis.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • identify relevant historical events which impacted on East Anglians during this period
  • examine and analyse source materials on musters and draw conclusions from them
  • be able to share in group discussions on the material evidence of defences
  • apply your knowledge to new materials and use the evidence to draw reasoned conclusions
  • produce a reasoned conclusion on the treatment of those wounded in service

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to contribute to discussion and make use of any prior knowledge you have on the topics.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Undertake individual research, or join a local group or society undertaking a local history project. Interest in using original materials might encourage you to undertake a course in palaeography.

Download full course information sheet

Defence of the Realm 1100-1900

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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