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HIST2003 Power, Patronage and Politics in Early Modern England 1509-1660

Module Overview

This module offers the opportunity to study the history of England during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Explore political developments in Tudor and early Stuart England. Explore some of the larger cultural themes of this period Critically engage with historiographical debates

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Court Politics under Henry VIII
  • Tudor Rebellions
  • The Mid-Tudor ‘crisis’
  • Court Politics under James VI and Charles I
  • The English Civil War
  • Witchcraft
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • research events and processes by drawing on a wide variety of materials.
  • defend different intellectual positions in debate.
  • evaluate interpretations of many contentious subjects.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • handle a wide range of sources with an appropriate degree of sophistication
  • explain your ideas effectively by means of a sustained piece of written work
  • demonstrate your ability to communicate under pressure during a timed unseen examination
  • show increasing confidence in group discussion
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Set out the principal political developments in early modern England.
  • Show understanding of the many contentious issues which are hotly debated in the historiography of the period.
  • Offer your own perspectives, supported in detail, on key topics


This course offers you the opportunity to study the history of England during the turbulent sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Students taking ‘Power, Patronage and Politics’ will explore a range of topics, including: the court and faction under Henry VIII; the fall of Anne Boleyn; the reign of ‘Bloody Mary’; popular rebellions during the Tudor period; the complicated relationship of Elizabeth I with her courtiers and counsellors; ethnicity and sexuality at the court of James I; the impact of the Civil War on English society; the lives of women in a time of conflict; the uses and abuses of propaganda; and the fear and prosecution of witchcraft.

Special Features

• The lectures are organised both chronologically and thematically. • The module handbook will help you structure your preparation for seminars as well as assignments. • The seminars present you with the opportunity to engage with each of the themes through a sharing of ideas. • You will be given tutorial advice on how to tackle the assessed work. • The non-assessed essay will help you prepare for the formal assessment, particularly in terms of how you structure your argument. • The assessed essay will test your ability to sustain an analysis, based on wide and close reading of a variety of sources, both primary and secondary. • The examination will enhance your organisational and writing skills, testing your ability to communicate effectively and succinctly under pressure.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include lectures (one hour, twice each week). complementary tutorials (one hour, once each week) Learning activities include preparation for weekly seminars by reading a wide variety of sources enhancement of your organisational and analytical skills through the two modes of formal assessment

Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

1978 (Transactions of the Royal Historical Society). England turned Germany?: The aftermath of the Civil War in its European context. 5. ,28 .

1983 (History). James VI and I: Two kings or one?. 68. .

I. Gentles (2007). The English Revolution and the Wars in the Three Kingdoms. 

1998 (History Review). Elizabeth I. 

M. Gaskill (2007). Witchfinders: A Seventeenth Century English Tragedy. 

2009 (Historical Research). New Light on the Commotion Time of 1549. 82. ,November .

E.W. Ives (1987). Faction in Tudor England. 

M. Stoyle (2011). The Black Legend of Prince Rupert’s Dog: Witchcraft and Propaganda during the English Civil War. 

1985 (The Reign of Elizabeth I). Eliza Enthroned? The Court and its Politics. 

R. Hutton (2004). Debates in Stuart History. 

1982 (Historical Journal). The recent historiography of the English Reformation. 25. .

K Sharpe (1992). The Personal Rule of Charles I. 

M. Stoyle (2005). Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English Civil War. 

G.W. Bernard (2005). The King’s Reformation. 

P.H. Williams (1979). The Tudor Regime. 

J. Loach (1992). A Mid-Tudor Crisis?. 

2002 (History Today). James VI and I. June. .


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  You will receive tutorial advice on choice of topic and planning for your assessed essay assignment, as well as written feedback. You will have the opportunity to prepare for the assessed essay through producing one shorter piece of written work (the suggested length is 2000 words) which will not be formally assessed, but for which you will receive tutorial assistance and feedback You will also be given the opportunity to discuss your participation in class discussions with the tutor




MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Examination  (2 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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