Castles and Cathedrals in Northern Britain: Astonishing Structures: From Hadrian’s Wall to York and Durham
Summer Abroad Program
University of California, Davis
July 8-August 3, 2014

Course Instructor
General Education: Arts and Humanities; Writing Experience; World CulturesContinuing Lecturer, Emeritus
Class listserve: uk14mst@ucdavis.eduKevin Roddy's phone in Europe: 011447580019501
Class Web Page: Kevin Roddy's email (
Summer Abroad Site: General Information Summer Abroad Site: Castles and Cathedrals Program
Class Facebook Page Photos of Durham, Courtesy of Ms. Beth Sutcliffe

Collage of Pictures from 2012, Durham and York, Creation of Trevor Elhlenbach

Andrew Harrison's Ye Olde Guide to Yorkshire [2009]:

HTML Version, with Links
PDF Version, without Links
Nicole Huff's YouTube Tribute to York

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 Britain Database
Medieval Durham
Durham Cathedral
Medieval York c. CE 1067-c. 1550
Medieval York Medieval fortifications and palaces databases

Information Sessions:

Podcast: Information Session on January 15, 2014


The texts will all be online:

The Agricola by Tacitus
Thomas Malory's Mort D'Arthur [Books I & II]
Thomas More's History of Richard III
or, for a .pdf version,
Thomas More's History of Richard III [Thomas More Studies]

Important Dates


Monday, July 7: Arrival in York
On-Site Orientation, 6:00PM

Tuesday, July 8: Lecture: Background to the Middle Ages

Morning Lecture: The Course of the Course

The Year 1000
The Year 1100
The Year 1200
The Year 1300
The Year 1400
The Year 1500
The Year 1600
The Year 1700

History of York and Yorkshire

Morning Discussion: What are our desires and needs?
Meet at 1:30 in the Afternoon at the Dorm for a Tour of York
Welcome Dinner, Ambiente Tapas, 14 Goodramgate, York, 7:00PM

Wednesday, July 9: Lecture: York and Religion

Morning Lecture: York Minster

Glossary of Medieval Architecture (Alison Stone)

Victoria Web (Banister Fletcher and Banister F. Fletcher)
Norman Gothic Architecture
Early English Gothic Architecture
Fan Vaulting
Late Medieval Architecture: Fan Vaulting
York Minster
Plan of York Minster
Plan [Alison Stones, University of Pittsburgh]

Morning Discussion: The Agricola, Sections 1-17
Roman Emperors
Gnaeus Julius Agricola was born on 13 July 40 CE in southern France, then part of the Roman Empire, into a high-ranking family. He began his career as a military tribune in Britain and may have participated in the crushing of Boudicca's uprising in 61 CE. During the civil war of 69 CE, Agricola supported Vespasian in his successful attempt to become emperor. Agricola was appointed to command a Roman legion in Britain. He then served as governor of Aquitania (south-east France) for three years, and after a period in Rome, in 78 CE he was made governor of Britain.

As soon as he arrived, Agricola began campaigning to assert Roman authority in north Wales. According to Tacitus he crossed the Menai Straits and took Anglesey. From 79 to 80 CE, Agricola moved north to Scotland where he consolidated Roman military control and masterminded the building of a string of forts across the country from west to east. From 81 to 83 CE, Agricola campaigned north of the Forth/Clyde line and confronted the Caledonian tribes under Calgacus at the battle of Mons Graupius in 84 CE. The Caledonians were routed, but despite Agricola's claim that the island had now been conquered, the threat to Roman security from the north was not completely removed.

The following year, Agricola was recalled to Rome and died there on 23 August 93 CE.

Meet at 1:30 in the Afternoon at the Dorm for a Visit to York Minster

Thursday, July 10: Lecture

Morning Lecture: Fortress, Walls and Castles and Great Families of the North

The Houses of York and Lancaster (John Sommerville, University of Wisconsin)
Geoffrey Neville Family Tree
Robert Neville Family Tree

Morning Discussion: The Agricola, Sections 18-38

Monday, July 14: 9:00  Field Trip: Barnard Castle
Review this website: Barnard Castle

Tuesday, July 15: Lecture

Morning Lecture: The Logic of a Monastery

Egyptian Monasticism:
St. Antony's Monastery, Egypt

St. Benedict, Monte Cassino:
Benedict of Nursia

Skellig Michael, Ireland:
Beehive Cell
Plan of Saint Gall
Cluny Monastery

Morning Discussion: The Agricola, Sections 39-42

Wednesday, July 16: Field Trip: Fountains Abbey Patrick Musset, Guide

Thursday, July 17: Mid-Morning Transit to Durham

Monday, July 21: Lecture in Senate Suite, Durham Castle

Morning Lecture: Roman Culture

Justinians Institutes, Book II, Title I: Concerning the division of things
Justinian’s Institutes, Book II, Title I [Extracts]

Review these websites: Corbridge Roman Town; Hadrian's Wall; Vindolanda Camp

Morning Discussion: Thomas Malory's Mort D'Arthur [Book I]

First Paper Due

Tuesday, July 22: Roman Fortress Tour: Corbridge Roman Site, Housesteads, and Vindolanda on Hadrian's Wall, Pub Dinner

Wednesday, July 23: Lecture

Morning Lecture: Church and State

Morning Discussion: Thomas Malory's Mort D'Arthur [Book II]

Thursday, July 24: Lecture

Morning Lecture: The War of the Roses and Richard III

Timeline for the War
Royal Timeline
House of Lancaster
House of York
Henry VI
Edward IV
The First Battle of St. Albans Letter to the Pastons from the Duke of Norfolk, Ordering a Callup

Morning Discussion:

Thomas More's History of Richard III Pp. 1-43.

Monday, July 28: Field Trip to Middleham, Bolton and Richmond Castles

Review these websites: Middleham Castle, Bolton Castle, Richmond Castle

Tuesday, July 29: Field Trip: Alnwick and Warkworth

Castle Tour: Alnwick Castle, Warkworth Castle, Pub Dinner Review these websites: Alnwick Castle, Alnwick Castle (School Outline) Warkworth Castle

Wednesday, July 30: Field Trip to Finchale Priory

Thursday, July 31: Lecture: Last Class

Morning Discussion:

Thomas More's History of Richard III Pp. 44-86

Evening: Farewell Banquet at Hatfield College, Durham

Friday, August 1 and Saturday August 2: Free Days

You may stay in Durham at no cost until August 3rd.

Second Paper to be sent by email


Each student is to select two important Roman, Viking or Medieval cultural aspects of early fortifications or cathedrals/monasteries (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

In advance, you should check on times of trains from those cities to York and from 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 Paddington Station, the fare is about 20 pounds; to get to King's Cross, the station that connects London to Durham, there is a subway fare of 4 pounds or so. The train trip to York could be 100-200 pounds ($170-$340). It 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" (not the same as "British Rail," which is the official British Rail site), features discount train passes for train travel on the UK railway; unlimited travel in England, for example, over a three-day period, or three days within two months.

Up-to-the-Minute Weather in Britain

Weather in York
CNN's Weather Page

English/Metric/Temperature Conversions

Currency Conversions

Currency Rates Calculator

Current Time in Europe

Customized World Clock

Internet and Phone Communication