The Age of the Castle
The Age of the Castle 2022-23
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 1
There is no more vivid symbol of the Middle Ages than the castle. This module sets out to explore these fascinating monuments and their potential as evidence for examining wider issues such as lordly lifestyles, governance, attitudes to authority, chivalry, architectural and landscape design, warfare, and domestic life in Europe and beyond during the period 1000-1500. Students will be given an opportunity to explore an extensive body of evidence, from written primary sources to archaeological reports. The multidisciplinary nature of this module encourages students to draw comparisons and to think critically about the role of castles in medieval societies. You will be given an opportunity to focus in-depth on these themes and on the underpinning primary sources in your seminars.
This module explores the following themes:
- Introduction: From the ‘Castle Story’ to Current Thinking; 2. The Origin of the Castle; 3. ‘The King of the Castle’: Great Towers and Keeps; 4. ‘An Englishman’s Home is his Castle’?: The Castle as Lordly Residence; 5. The Castles of the Crusaders 1098-1291; 6. Castles and the Chivalric Ideal; 7. The Castles of Wales 1066-1415; 8. Castles and Elite Landscapes; 9. The Decline of the Castle?; 10. Romantic Ruins? Artists, Poets and the Heritage Industry
You will be given an opportunity to focus in-depth on these themes and on the underpinning primary sources in your seminars.
-threshold -Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing evidence (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant evidence when making a point). Alternatively or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors,and a lack of effective and correct referencing. -good -Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the C- to C+ range, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesize the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate. -excellent -Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high. -another level-Students in this band (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of History at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
- Demonstrate a close familiarity with a range of primary sources and/or archaeological reports, and use them in historical argument.
- Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of some aspects of the topic.
- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the main functions and impact of castles during the period 1000-1500.
- Judge between competing historical interpretations of the period, including current historiographical positions.
- Present clear, evidence-based, and cogent historical arguments on aspects of the history and function of castles during the period 1000-1500.
1 × 2,500 word curated exhibition on a particular aspect of the topic.
1 × 2,500 word degree essay which employs primary written source material and/or archaeological reports to discuss what one castle (or a group of castles) can reveal about the role of castles in medieval society