The Age of Chivalry 1217-1388

Ref: C2337927

These sessions will explore the story of some of the intriguing characters of this fascinating period of history including Henry 3rd and Simon de Montfort; Edward 1st and Eleanor of Castile; Edward 2nd and Isabella the She-Wolf; Edward the Black Prince and the Fair Maid of Kent; and John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford. The period witnessed many tumultuous episodes including the beginnings of parliament and the devastation of the Black Death. It also featured great contradictions with great deeds of cruelty and amazing episodes of mercy and 'chivalry'. Romance, loyalty, treachery, murder and violent conflict – this course features them all.

Course aim

To study the historical context, key personalities and events of the English Age of Chivalry 1217-1377

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No prior knowledge is required, just an interest in history.

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

  • 1. Demonstrate an increased knowledge of the historical context, lives and events of the Age of Chivalry 1217-1377.
  • 2. Use historical sources such as letters, chronicles, medieval illuminations and art to illustrate this period of history.
  • 3. Describe some of the key changes and continuities that occurred in medieval society during the period
  • 4. Discuss some of the key issues and questions surrounding the many differing interpretations of key events such as the origins of parliamentary government or the Peasant’s Revolt. [Critical Thinking]

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?

  • 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

What else do I need to know?

  • Pens, notepad and a file to store handouts would be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • A useful background book is Ian Mortimer’s The Time-Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England (2009) which gives a very good summary of what life was like in the period ; [it is also available on Kindle]

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course outline

The Age of Chivalry 1217-1388 Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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