Lancaster castle

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Regional and Local History (Distance Learning) : PgCert

Would you like to deepen your knowledge of the history of the North West and develop your research skills?

The Regional Heritage Centre at Lancaster University is now recruiting students for its part-time Postgraduate Certificate in Regional and Local History for October 2023: this course may be just what you are looking for. Taught online over 12 months, this programme offers an opportunity to study at your own pace with guidance from expert tutors as you work towards an award from a top UK university that is renowned for its expertise in this field and has significant experience in delivering high quality distance learning programmes.

You will build up your knowledge and skills through two taught modules, one rooted in medieval history and one at the dawn of the modern era. These modules will enhance your understanding of a broad sweep of history, develop your critical awareness in dealing with historical scholarship, and improve your ability to interpret various types of historical sources. You will then have the chance to put these skills into practice, with the guidance of a tutor, in an independent research project.

The flexibility of this programme and the learning format is ideal for people who want to pursue their historical interests around family or work commitments; you can expect to spend around 10-15 hours a week on your studies. We are keen to support learners from a range of backgrounds, including those who have been out of formal education for many years and who may not have a first degree - you can always contact us to discuss your personal circumstances by emailing

Full course details and application information

Regional and Local History : PgCert

Lancaster Castle and Northern English History

The online short course uses iconic Lancaster Castle as an accessible way into the history of northern England. Learners range across two millennia of history, from the remains of Roman forts to the castle's life as a prison and a visitor attraction. Our engaging educators respond to the castle and its surroundings in relation to their particular research interests, such as medieval Anglo-Scottish warfare, the witchcraft rials of the seventeenth century and the achievements of prison reformers.

The course lasts for five weeks, each structured around high-quality videos filmed against the impressive backdrop of Lancaster Castle. The videos are accompanied by learning exercises, which tackle a rich variety of primary sources.

The course has been a great success, attracting over 10,000 participants from 128 countries. The course was also nominated for a prestigious national 'Learning on Screen' award.

Registration is now open, please visit

Our Online Short Course

In 2018, the Regional Heritage Centre launched the History Department's first online short course: 'Lancaster Castle and Northern English History: the View from the Stronghold'. We produced the course in partnership with Lancaster University's Information System Services and the Duchy of Lancaster. The course is hosted by FutureLearn.

With thanks to:

The Regional Heritage Centre offers profuse thanks to several organisations and individuals for their support during the making of the course. The Duchy of Lancaster has supported us by generously allowing filming within Lancaster Castle, providing images and offering advice throughout the process. The production of the MOOC has been made possible with funding provided by:

  • A legacy left to the RHC by the late Dr Margaret Bainbridge
  • Lancaster University Impact Fund
  • RHC benefactor Dr Philip Welch

We would like to thank Dr Colin Penny, Museum Manager Lancaster Castle, for his help in facilitating filming at the castle, offering advice and participating in two interviews. We would also like to thank Christopher Tinmouth, Professor David Shotter, Dr Sean Cunningham, Charlotte Howsley, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council's Museum Service, The National Archives, Whalley Abbey, the Royal Kings Arms and Samlesbury Hall.

Contact Us

By Post

Regional Heritage Centre
Department of History
Bowland College
Lancaster University
United Kingdom

By Phone

+44 (0)1524 593770

Usually staffed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 9:30-15:30

RHC Director:
Professor Fiona Edmonds

Academic Co-ordinator:
Dr Sam Riches

Ann-Marie Michel

For the Victoria County History of Cumbria, please contact Dr Sarah Rose