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The following courses are sponsored by Hearts through History Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of Amercia, but anyone may register for them. Cost: $15 – $25 US

Scottish Highlands 1500-1800

6 Sept 2020

Swinging Kilts & Claymores! 

Everyone the world over recognises the heroic figure of the Scottish Highlander. But you have to wonder how that distinctive clothing evolved. You might assume that the society of the people who wore it was quite different from the Scottish Lowlands, England or any other European country. And you would be right.

In the Scottish Highlands, serial marriage was as common before 1700 as it was in northern Europe before 1200. Highlanders still raided Lowland cattle in the 1600s and 1700s. Lowlanders did not appreciate the fact that cattle raids were an elite and honourable activity carried on by Celts for over 2000 years.  Lowlanders wanted their cattle left in Lowland fields.

As late as the 17th century chiefs were inaugurated in pagan ceremonies with divination and no clergy, and then expected to go on a cattle raid to demonstrate their leadership qualities.

The government in the Lowlands did what they could to abolish Gaelic language and customs and make them into proper subjects. Yet Highlanders were not completely assimilated in the 18th century, and the Highlands became a tourist destination for such literary giants as Samuel Johnson. At the end of his tour of Scotland he said, “The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!” Is that justified?

Want to know more?? 

Topics Include:

  1. Highlands & Lowlands
  2. Campbells & MacDonalds
  3. The Wars of the Three Kingdoms
  4. The Jacobite Rebellions
  5. Highland Tourists

Castles 6 July 2020

Eilean Donnain

Castles: The Real Thing

Castles litter the landscape of Europe. Many have lasted because they are built of stone, but it takes some imagination to see how they looked when they were the homes of the rich and powerful. Wherefore this course.

A castle was a fortified structure, the home and administrative centre of a magnate (great man) or king, and the garrison meant to protect him. Few women lived in a castle except for the castellan’s wife, daughters, and a few female servitors including the laundresses.

The architecture of castles improved to meet the threat of the weapons used against them. And weapon technology was constantly improved. The trebuchet was an improved siege engine, much better than the Roman catapult. Yet William the Conqueror built motte-and-bailey castles, with wooden towers, easily destroyed by trebuchets. Yet he successfully crushed rebellions in the first few years of the Norman occupation. Why did he do that when he could have built stone castles right at the start? 

Even when castles were no longer deemed necessary, the houses of the rulers were constructed like castles; they had battlements, towers, turrets and curtain walls. That’s what people expected of royal and noble homes. Find out what made them vulnerable to siege weapons in this course. In other words, what is the real thing?


1. The earliest Norman Castles: Motte & Bailey
2. Twelfth Century Castles: Stone & Mortar Keeps
3. The Castles of Edward I: Gatehouse Keeps
4. Houses called Castles

Possible Courses in the Future

Ancient Celts                                                     Celtic Mythology    

Druids                                                                Celtic (Gaelic) Church                               

Roman Britain                                                   Fairies

Picts & Scots                                                      The Wars of the Three Kingdoms

Lords of the Isles                                               The Jacobite Rebellions

The Wars of Independence (Scotland)           Emigration

Medieval Ireland                                               

If you want more information on one of these course, please contact me.