Free online course provides insights into Richard III reinterment

Richard III. NPG148 (C) National Portrait Gallery, London
Richard III. NPG148 (C) National Portrait Gallery, London

The third run of the free popular ‘England in the Time of King Richard III’ online course will be launching on Monday 16 February – and will offer a fascinating insight into life during 15th century England in the build up to the reinterment of Richard III on Thursday 26 March.

The course, which is offered for free by the University of Leicester in association with FutureLearn, builds a picture of the England that Richard III inhabited in the 15th century and comes from the scholars in archaeology, history and literature who helped uncover the monarch.

It includes detailed video footage of preparations for the reinterment, interviews with the Dean of Leicester and others involved and the chance to follow events around the ceremony itself, which takes place during the final week of the course.

Deirdre O’Sullivan, Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology at the University of Leicester’s School of Archaeology and Ancient History, said: “The course will explore a time that saw huge upheavals, including savage dynastic warfare, shifting allegiances among a powerful aristocracy, and significant depopulation. Students will also learn about how workers become more prosperous as wages rose, and how introduction of printing transformed access to literacy and books.

“I am very excited to be able to share with you the events of the week leading up to the reburial.”

The six week course, starting on 16 February, will cover a different feature of Richard III’s England each week, including:

  • The Wars of the Roses and medieval warfare
  • The lives of farmers, peasants and townsfolk
  • Books, literacy and the arrival of print
  • Death and commemoration
  • Medieval food
  • How historians and archaeologists wove together the story of Richard III’s journey to Bosworth and burial in Leicester.

The course is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) delivered online to enable anyone to enjoy learning wherever they are, and whether they are enrolled at a university or not. There are no entry requirements, and it will entail about three hours of study a week.

“We think we’ve developed a course that will really enhance your interest and understanding of the period,” said Deirdre O’Sullivan. “As well as the way in which scholars go about identifying the questions that need to answered and bringing evidence to bear on them. There are many controversies about the period and we hope that by the end of the course you will armed with enough knowledge to formulate your own views of the credibility, or otherwise, of some of the theories around.”

To register for the England in the Time of King Richard III course, go to https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/england-of-richard-third

To follow the live tweeting of the reinterment of Richard III follow: @FLRichardIII

  • The Dig for Richard III was led by the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and in association with the Richard III Society. The originator of the Search project was Philippa Langley of the Richard III Society
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