History: The Pastons and Their East Anglia

Ref: C2223551

We shall look at the letters and documents of the Pastons to gain a detailed picture of what it was like to live through the Wars of the Roses, with a focus on the upheavals and issues peculiar to the Norfolk gentry at this time.

Course aim

To provide an understanding of fifteenth-century East Anglia as experience by one gentry family and their network.

Who is the course for?

Anyone. No previous knowledge of medieval England is required.

What topics will this course cover

Who were the Pastons? What were the Pastons' social networks? How do the Pastons fit in with the national events of Fifteenth Century England? Ideas of Knighthood and Chivalry Love and marriage in the Fifteenth Century The Paston women vs. ideas of the damsel in distress How the Pastons climbed the slippery social ladder during the Wars of the Roses The importance of literature to the Pastons Learning to read the letters of the Paston family

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

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

Place the Pastons within their local and national landscapes Engage with multiple types of documents (both in modern translations and transcriptions of the original Middle English letters) Feel comfortable in going forth and finding their own narrative of the Pastons, using these documents to further the student's interests in the fifteenth-century history of their local area or their family.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Most of the assessment of progress will take place through question and answer sessions built into the talks, but there will also be group work in which more one-to-one transactions can occur.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?


Reading and information sources

It is not necessary to have read anything prior to the course commencing but an optional reading list will be provided at the start of the course.

What could the course lead to?

The course could lead to undertaking courses on the Wars of the Roses, studies of Medieval Gentry Culture, reading Medieval Literature, researching Medieval Warfare, or following up the names and places of the letters within local archives.

Download full course outline

History: The Pastons and Their East Anglia Course Outline


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