The Age of Chronicles and Sagas

Ref: C2340726

This course will consider the character of the kingdoms in Britain through the 8th century AD, and the interplay between them. We will look carefully at the emergence and maintenance of the Mercian supremacy, before going on to consider reasons for its decline. In particular, we will look at the impact of the reign of Offa of Mercia and his distinctive contribution to the nature of Anglo-Saxon society ands its growth. We will go on to examine the nature of the earliest Viking raids across Britain, and also make some assessment of their impact, before concluding with an analysis of the significant victory of Wessex under king Ecgberht. You will be introduced to all the major social, political, religious and military aspects of the period as part of this study.

Course aim

This course will analyse the kingdoms of 8th century Britain and the importance of King Offa, and conclude with the first arrival of the Vikings and the victory of Wessex against its rivals.

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:

  • Provide an analysis of the key reasons for the Mercian supremacy in Anglo-Saxon England
  • Provide an outline of the key elements and characteristics of the reign of Offa of Mercia
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the impact of the earliest Viking raids on Britain from 796 AD.
  • Deliver some assessment of the significance of the battle of Ellandun

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
  • 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
  • "In Search of the Dark Ages" Michael Wood, BBC Books 2006 "England During the Dark Ages" John Green, Didactic Press 2013

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

The Age of Chronicles and Sagas


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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