What is Local History?

Course details

From £127.50
10 CATS points

03 Sep 2018 - 20 Sep 2018
Day of week

What is Local History?


Have you ever tried to trace your family history? Do you wonder what sort of people lived in your local community in the past or worshipped in its church? Or how the community might have been affected by major historical events? Or how many people lived there in past centuries? If so, this introduction to local history may be just what you are seeking. It will concentrate on the approaches, sources and methods used by local historians in researching the history of the manor, the parish, the town and the local population. It seeks to show how varied and exciting the study of local communities can be. It will also advise you how and from where to collect relevant material and will help you to communicate the results of your research in writing.

Programme details

Term Starts:   3rd September      


Week 1:          Monday 3rd Sept - Introduction: What is local history?

Week 2:          Thursday 6th Sept - Local history through the manor

Week 3:          Monday 10th Sept - Local history through the parish

Week 4:          Thursday 13th Sept - Local history through the town

Week 5:          Monday 17th Sept - Counting the local population through the ages

Week 6:          Thursday 20th Sept - Discussion of assignment work; useful websites for local history


Background Reading List

Eamon Duffy., The Voices of Morebath: reformation and rebellion in an English village

David Hey., The Grassroots of English History: local societies in England before the Industrial Revolution

David Dymond., Researching and Writing History: a guide for local historians

Keith Wrightson., Ralph Tailor's Summer: a scrivener, his city and the plague

David Hey., The Oxford Companion to Local and Family History

David Iredale and John Barrett., Discovering Local History


If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September and we will try to ensure that as many titles as possible are available in the Library by the start of each term. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from between January 1st and July 31st after the current academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Course fee: £127.50
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Dr Heather Falvey

Heather is an active local historian with various research interests including sixteenth and seventeenth century social unrest. She has published various articles, two books of fifteenth century wills and a collection of eighteenth century recipes.

Course aims

The overall aim is to encourage students to discover for themselves what local history is, to give them an introduction to its contents and methodology, and to demonstrate where evidence for it may be found.

Course Objectives

1. To equip students to undertake further courses in local and social history. 

2. To encourage students  to pursue their interest in local history, whether on their own or with a group.

3. To enable students to undertake local history research using various source materials.


Teaching methods

The course will comprise an introductory session; four informal illustrated lectures, followed by class discussion of documents (which will be supplied); a concluding discussion of issues raised during the course and practical guidance on suitable websites for historical research.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. Have gained an introductory knowledge of local history and its sources and methods;

2. Have learned how to collect and interpret material and communicate the results logically in writing;

3. Have gained confidence in and enthusiasm for the subject.

Assessment methods

Students will be expected to write one short assignment (1,500 words maximum) evaluating some examples of local history. The source material will be supplied.  This work must be handed in on the 3rd Monday and will returned marked on the 3rd Thursday.  This will be assessed, but not graded.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee for each course you enrol on. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an application form.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)