LOG ON TO HISTORY
Your chance to study the fascinating
history of Lancaster Castle
It’s one of the county’s most famous buildings, but how much do you know about Lancaster Castle? If you want to find out more, a new course starting next month will shed light on the castle’s fascinating and varied history, from its dark days as a medieval stronghold through to life as a Category C prison.
Once a holding jail for the famous Lancashire Witches, the castle, which now has a bright future as an exciting tourist attraction, will be the subject of a new, free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
The short, web-based course will be the first of its kind run by Lancaster University’s History Department and will give participants an overview of the castle’s past across two millennia, from the Romans to the 20th century.
It will include sections on the Roman coastal fort and its relationship to the northern frontier of the empire; the role of the Norman castle in Anglo-scottish warfare and the emergence of the Duchy of Lancaster; and the castle’s role as a prison for the Lancashire Witches. The course will also
cover the castle’s time as a debtors’ prison in the 18th and 19th centuries, prison reform; the impact of the world wars on the castle and the castle’s importance to the region’s heritage.
The MOOC is organised and run by the Regional Heritage Centre (RHC) based in the History Department, with the assistance of a team of MOOC specialists from Lancaster University’s Information Systems Services. The creation of the course has been supported and facilitated by the Duchy of Lancaster, the owner of Lancaster Castle and Lancashire Museums Service, who operate daily tours at the castle. The Duchy’s chief finance officer and lead for the castle, Chris Adcock said: ‘Lancaster Castle is a historic building of major international importance and interest. We are very pleased the university is making its rich and complex history available to a wider audience and will be following the MOOC with interest in the months ahead.’
And RHC Dr Fiona Edmonds director added: ‘Lancaster Castle is an outstanding historical site, not only because it is so visually impressive, but also because its history is multi-layered. This course enables us to showcase the fascinating past of North West England for a global audience.’
Registration is now open for ‘Lancaster Castle and Northern English History: the View from the Stronghold’. The course starts on Monday October 29, and will help participants develop their familiarity with a long sweep of history in relation to the castle and to understand the regional context of broader historical trends.
ABOVE: Lancaster Castle’s ‘A’ wing. and, below left,cells in the prison (Photographs reproduced by kind permission of the Duchy of Lancaster)
ABOVE: The imposing entrance to Lancaster Castle and, below, the Shire Hall