Archaeology - Castles and Monasteries

Ref: C3675284

When we think about medieval life we usually imagine Castles and Monasteries. So how do archaeologists think about these iconic buildings? This is an opportunity to join an enthusiastic and welcoming learning group who are keen to learn more. We will look at the way that the great buildings we see today grew from much more humble beginnings. We will look at the way that space is used making some parts of the buildings accessible and other parts very restricted. We will look at the ways that Castles grew as the Lords of the land learned from their experiences on campaigns abroad and at home, where Castles really about defence or domination? We will look at the way that monasteries changed from small inward-looking places for contemplation to open airy places for worshipping God and writing documents. Both Castles and Monasteries were also centres for businesses, homes to lords of many manors. Lastly, this is a chance to get together and enjoy your learning experience.

Course aim

Perhaps the most well-known medieval remains that we see in the world around us, Castles and Monasteries can tell us a lot about medieval life. Join our enthusiastic group of learners to learn and talk about how archaeologists study these monuments.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Talk about key elements from the past in relation to role of Castles, and Monasteries.
  • Form an opinion about how Castles and Monasteries developed in the medieval landscape.
  • Show a better understanding of how old forms of Castles and Monasteries affected the much larger stone buildings we visit today.
  • Contribute to discussions about the way that a local Castle or Monastery has been presented to the public.
  • Reflect on the way that space was used in Castles and Monasteries.

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
  • The course will involve a visit to a local site of interest. We will seek to visit a site that is free or that course members can afford.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required
  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

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
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full course information sheet

Archaeology - Castles and Monasteries


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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