A Restless Nation

Ref: C3744221

A peaceful nation with an established order in which everyone knew their place, or a nation in which riot, disorder and popular protest were not uncommon events? This course looks at the long history of popular discontent and disturbance in England and how, why and where people massed to air their grievances. Religion, wages, work and food disturbances and many more reasons both nationally and locally why, and where our ancestors took to the streets. Who was involved, and what were the outcomes. The English were revolting, or were they just protesting and, if so why?

Course aim

From the middles ages onwards public protest was not uncommon. This course examines the reasons why people took to the streets, both locally and nationally, the outcomes and who was involved.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed

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

  • Describe the nature of popular action. When does disturbance become potential rebellion, at least in the eyes of the authorities and how was that threat, or perceived threat, dealt with.
  • Identify large scale disturbances, both local and national and their causes, together with the outcomes both generally and for those involved.
  • Describe a number of occasions when people took to the streets over local or regional issues. Identify the ways in which people expressed their views, who was involved and how.
  • List chronologically the ways in which popular disturbance could be dealt with and, in the absence of a police force, who was responsible for public order and the measures they could take to restore order.
  • Describe a range of sources that can be used to find out more about popular disturbances both nationally and locally, and use some of these sources to describe a particular event.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • A road atlas, or similar maps would be useful, but not essential. Magnifying glass for some sessions

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

A Restless Nation


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 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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