Castles Part 1

Ref: C2337935

The distribution of castles in the landscape reflects the purposes for which they were built - they were designed to provide a secure fortress but also a comfortable home, functions that would appear to be incompatible yet something that can be seen in the structures. The military role was both defensive and offensive, while on the domestic level it acted as a home for a family and retainers, but also may have provided a seat of administration, a storehouse and in some cases a market for the local community. The actual size, shape and function of a castle is a consequence of the needs of those who built and lived in them.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to study the origins, forms and functions of the medieval English castle.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • recognise the geographical role of the castle in the English landscape.
  • understand the duality of role which castles performed and how this changed over time.
  • identify the main architectural and defensive feature of the buildings.
  • discover reasons why some castles have survived while others have disappeared over time.

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?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • Many of us will have access to documentary resources, notably in the guidebooks and other material collected over the years. These can be rediscovered and examined with a new focus of attention.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You may wish to look at: Mataraso, Francois (1993) The English Castle, Cassell, London; Brown, R Allen (1954) English Castles, Batsford, London; Simpson, Douglas (1966) Castles in Britain, Batsford, London

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • 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
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Castles Part 1


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
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing