Castles in Northern Britain: From Hadrian’s Wall to Bolton, and Mary, Queen of Scots
Summer Abroad Program
University of California, Davis
June 30-July 28, 2012

Course Instructor
General Education: Arts and Humanities; Writing Experience; World CulturesContinuing Lecturer, Emeritus
Class listserve: uk12mst@ucdavis.eduKevin Roddy's phone in Europe: 011447580019501
Class Web Page: Kevin Roddy's email (
Summer Abroad Site: General Information Summer Abroad Site: Castles Program
Preparation for Life in Northern Britain Photos of Durham, Courtesy of Ms. Beth Sutcliffe

Warkworth Castle

Castle Images:


Instructive sites:
Castle Facts Database CastleFacts is comprehensive listing of all the medieval fortifications of England and Wales, large and small, great tourist attractions, lonely mounds of earth and even totally lost and generally forgotten places.
Castles of England Database
Medieval Durham
Durham Cathedral
Medieval York c. AD 1067-c. 1550
Medieval York Medieval fortifications and palaces databases

Information Sessions:

Podcast: Information Session on 1/20/2012 [43 minutes]

Summer Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

Saturday, May 19, 2012
Podcast of Program Meeting


R. Allen Brown, Jonathan Coade, Allen Brown's English Castles Chippenham: Boydell & Brewer, Limited, 2004.
ISBN-13: 9781843830696

Important Dates


Saturday, June 30: Arrival in Durham

Sunday, July 1: On-Site Orientation, 2:00PM
Welcome Dinner, Hatfield College, 7:00PM

Monday, July 2: Introduction: Background to Fortifications, I

Morning Lecture: Beginning at the End
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 9: The castle in general, pp. 161-171

Meet at 1:30 in the Afternoon for a Tour of Durham

Tuesday, July 3: The Romans

Morning Lecture: Roman Fortifications
Review this website: Hadrian's Wall

Meet at 1:30 in the Afternoon for a Tour of Durham Cathedral and Library

Wednesday, July 4: The Importance of Being Protected

Castle Tour: Corbridge Roman Site, Chesters, Housesteads, and Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wal, Pub Lunch

Thursday, July 5: English Castle Construction
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 6: Castle-building, pp. 106-122

Monday, July 9: The Role of the Normans

Morning Lecture: Military Ventures
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 7: The castle in war, pp. 123-149
Review these websites: Alnwick Castle, Bamburgh Castle, Warkwoth Castle

Tuesday, July 10: The Northern Lords

Castle Tour: Alnwick Castle, Pub Lunch, Warkworth Castle

Wednesday, July 11: Barnard and Raby Castles
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 8: The castle in peace, pp. 150-160;
Review these websites: Raby Castle, Barnard Castle

Thursday, July 12: The Silver Swan

Barnard and Raby Castles Tour, Pub Lunch

First Paper Due

Monday, July 16: Welcome to York

Morning Lecture: City Fortifications
1:30 Tour of City and York Minster
        King's Manor
        Exhibition Square,
        University of York, York

Tuesday, July 17: Decline

Morning Lecture: Revolutions in Society
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 2: The Norman Conquest of England, pp. 21-33
Review these websites: Middleham Castle, Bolton Castle, Richmond Castle

Wednesday, July 18: Kings, Queens, and Dukes in Death

Castles Tour: Middleham, Bolton, Pub Lunch, Richmond`

Thursday, July 19: Constructed Resources

Morning Lecture: Gradual Changes
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 3: The Norman and Angevin period, 1066-1215, pp. 34-63

Monday, July 23: The Nature of War

Morning Lecture: War and Weapons
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 4: Apogee, pp. 64-88
Review this website: The Royal Armouries

Tuesday, July 24: Arms and Armor

Tour of The Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, Pub Lunch

Wednesday, July 25: Peaceful Times

Morning Lecture: The Castle always as Manor House
    Reading: Allen Brown's English Castles, Chapter 5: Decline, pp. 89-105
Review these websites:
Pickering Castle
Pickering Castle {North Yorkshire Cam]
North Yorkshire Railway     

Thursday, July 26: Pickering and Whitby

Tour of Pickering Castle, Passage to Whitby via the North Yorkshire Railway

Second Paper to be sent by email

Evening: Farewell Banquet in Whitby


Each student is to select two important Roman, Viking or Medieval cultural aspects of early fortifications (a work, for example, of art, a cultivated space or an architectural monument, from ca 50-1500). The works will need to be studied entirely from a cultural point of view--that is, what was the specific importance of the object or place in that time period, as indicated, perhaps, by literary piece written during or after that time. Here you may discuss use, style, signifiance, impact, materials and craft, and any other contributing factor.

The time-table of a four-week session requires you to choose your topics early. If, after study, you decide to treat for your first paper, for example, Middleham Castle, a site we will not be visiting until July 16th week, please spend some time doing as much research as possible on Middleham, the House of York, and the reasons for vast success of this family, all before you actually visit the site. This is good advice, in fact, for any artifact or monument that you wish to see or visit.

What will not be relevant are its present popularity, value today, subsequent history, or recent owners.

The two papers are to be 5 pages each in length; computers will be available, but the submissions can be hand-written. To facilitate the process of writing and revision, I will be meeting with you during the course, to encourage you as well as offer advice.

Medieval Studies 198 Notebook

For the Group Study (Medieval Studies 198) component of the two courses, you will keep a research journal. The specific requirements and guidelines are spelled out in this Summer Abroad site:

     Writing a Research Journal

What makes this exercise particularly apt for the the study of Medieval York is that antiquarians, some of them among the educated elite, kept such journals faithfully, and as you will see those writers have furnished us with details about the culture of the past that would otherwise be undocumented and possibly unknown. Your own journal will serve a similar purpose: though you may not be aware of it, you are as much embedded in a specific cultural perspective as were the warriors and monks of twelve hundred years ago, and your insights may in time be just as revelatory and valuable. For this reason, the Medieval Studies 198, while a pass/no pass course, is just as important for your education as the Medieval Studies 130A.

In addition, you will be doing some sketching in your journal, just as those antiquarians did, so keep that in mind. This will be described in the Introductory Class Section.

Some Useful Sites for Northumbria and Yorkshire:

The Yorkshire Dales
The Vale of York
The North Yorkshire Moors
Alnwick Castle
Bolton Castle
Middleham Castle
Richmond Castle
Skipton Castle
Bede's World, Northumberland
Warkworth Castle
York Minster
National Centre for Early Music, York
Bedern Hall, York
Merchant Adventurers' Hall


Course Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this program.


General Sites

United States Embassy in Great Britain

American Embassy in London: American Citizen Services

Air Transportation

Students can fly into Manchester (Las Vegas, Philadelphia, New York, Newark), Leeds, Durham (Tees Valley), Newcastle, Birmingham, or any of the four London Airports. In advance, you should check on times of trains from those cities to Durham, and you should be prepared for relatively high prices: fares are not cheap even if bought on the same day. The last trains on a run usually leave somewhere around 10 PM. You should be able to buy ahead online as long as you don't wait too long. Don't bother with Britrail passes unless you plan on staying and traveling a lot afterwards, since they are really expensive. Unless you are older than 25 you can't even rent a car. You won't be able to obtain student concessions just on a student body card, so you may well be stuck with full fare, but you should check with a travel agency like STA Travel to see if there are options. You might investigate internet sites that you can find while in the United States. In any case, take into acount that rail transportation can be expensive. From Heathrow to King's Cross, the station that connects London to Durham, the fare is 19.50 pounds. The trip to Durham could be 100 pounds. Is of course cheaper to buy a round trip ticket.

Rail Transportation

British Rail Official Site. Get Rail Passes, Tickets, Maps. Buy Online.
National Rail Enquiries Official source for UK train times and fares
BritRail for Americans BritRail is an alternative site that offers discount train passes for train travel on the UK railway

Up-to-the-Minute Weather in Britain

BBC Weather: Five-Day Conditions in York (in Fahrenheit)
Weather in York
BBC Weather: Five-Day Conditions in London (in Fahrenheit)

CNN's Weather Page

English/Metric Conversions

Celsius to Fahrenheit/Fahrenheit to Celsius Converter

Currency Conversions

Currency Rates Calculator

Current Time in Europe

Customized World Clock

Internet and Phone Communication

Further Tips on Cybercafes

Phone Booths/Phone Cards

Video by Mary Douglas, Site Coordinator at Durham: