Held at Buckfast Abbey Conference Centre
with Mark Cottle
The Rise & Fall of the House of Lancaster
Saturday, 8th October 2011
 
Following Richard IIís deposition in 1399,the Lancastrian Kings were to rule England for the next sixty years. The fortunes of the House of Lancaster over this period resemble a medieval wheel of Fortune: the rising career of Henry IV who usurped the crown from Richard II, the high point under Henry V with great success in the Hundred Years War and the final decline under Henry VI whose reign marked defeat against France and precipitated the Wars of the Roses. The course will examine and assess the reigns of the Lancastrian Kings in the context of the world of late medieval England.
Tragedy & Success : The Story of the North West Passage
Saturday, 12th November 2011
 
The search for the North-West passage was the search for a navigable channel leading westwards from Europe round the north of the American continent to the Pacific and ultimately to the fabulous riches of the Far East and China. For centuries it captivated the imaginations of explorers, merchants and adventurers: from Frobisher and Davis at the time of Elizabeth I, through Victorian enterprises like the tragic Franklin expedition to its final conquest by Roald Amundsen early in the twentieth century. The aim of the course is to follow this saga of a great heroic odyssey which pitted human courage, endurance and ingenuity against awesome hardships and threats. Ultimately it is, as Gherry Gerrard, a member of Scott's Antarctic expedition put it, 'a response of the spirit'.
The Medieval Castles of England
Saturday, 25th February 2012
 
For over five hundred years, castles were built and developed across the English landscape. They were initially the hallmarks of a society geared for war. However, they were not just instruments of war - they also evolved into stately homes. Their setting and design had a symbolic force alongside their everyday life as centres of administration, government and aristocratic life. This course will trace the development of the castle from its emergence under the Normans to its more domesticated form at the end of the middle ages.
Fact or Fiction? King Arthur & Robin Hood
Saturday, 28th April 2012
 
In popular perceptions of England's medieval past, two figures in particular stand out: King Arthur and Robin Hood. Both men are more the stuff of legend than history and the legends are remarkably persistent, evolving through time. The course will look at the historical evidence and literary treatment of both figures. Particularly in the case of Arthur, this will include the contribution of archaeology in attempting to establish his identity. We will try to get some understanding of both men in their historical contexts and how and why, they have kept such a hold on our imaginations.
Courses in Other Years