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HIST2036 The Hundred Years War

Module Overview

This module looks at the origins and developments of the Hundred Years War, and the ways it played out in Britain, France and the rest of Europe. The political, military and socio-cultural dimensions of this century- long conflict are closely examined. How did contemporaries think and justify war? What were the roots of this conflict? Why did it last so long? To what extent did a military revolution take place during the Hundred Years War? What principles governed the conduct of war? How did war impact on society? How did this conflict contribute to the rise of national identity and the birth of modern state? You will take both a chronological and a thematic approach to these questions.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to relations between Britain and the rest of Europe in the later middle ages • Introduce you to the nature of late medieval warfare in Western Europe • Equip you with the skills necessary to interpret key primary source materials relating to the subject • Enable you to engage with different historiographical approaches and interpretations

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The causes, events and effects of the Hundred Years War
  • The ways in which the War impacted on international relations within Europe as a whole
  • The principal kinds of sources on which historians can draw to study the War
  • The ways historians have approached the study of warfare and international relations in this period
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • gather information and synthesise it into clear and well-written form
  • communicate effectively in group discussions
  • prepare and deliver extended seminar presentations in cooperation with others
  • display effective time management in planning and completing tasks set.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • research topics by using and assessing primary and secondary materials
  • perform electronic bibliographical searches
  • compare different historical interpretations
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • read selectively and critically in relevant secondary works
  • engage with key primary sources relevant to the topic
  • research events and processes by drawing on a variety of materials
  • defend different positions in debate
  • appreciate how events unfold by means of simulation exercises and role play


Throughout the later middle ages, relations between Britain (comprising the two independent kingdoms of Scotland and England, along with the latter’s appurtenances in Ireland, Wales and the Channel Islands) and the rest of Europe were dominated by the conflict between England and France. This module looks at the origins of this conflict in English tenure of Gascony in south west France, and then turns to the distinctive course which the war took when English kings claimed to be kings of France, thereby undermining the unity of France. It pursues a chronological approach, identifying four main phases of warfare: 1259-1337; 1337-60; 1360-1399; 1399-1453. What is striking is how many other kingdoms and principalities became embroiled in the war as allies of one side or the other. Themes to be considered include: the ‘auld alliance’ between Scotland and France; England’s links with Flanders and other parts of the Low Countries; the participation of Aragon and Castile; the role of the Emperor as mediator and ally; the involvement of the popes especially during the Schism of 1378 to 1417 during which the English and French supported rival claimants. The module will end with a consideration of whether this ‘pan-European’ war stimulated integration or else sharpened national identities.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • weekly informal lectures and tutor-led group seminars • time lines of events • guidance on analysis of key documents and on content and style of presentations Learning activities include • background reading • reading and assessing the designated material for seminar discussion • preparing and delivering presentations in teams • participation in debates and a simulation exercise • compulsory visit to the surviving defences of Southampton Innovative or special features of this module  simulation of negotiations leading to one of the principal treaties of the period

Preparation for scheduled sessions112
Wider reading or practice40
Follow-up work72
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

K. A. Fowler (1967). The Age of Plantagenet and Valois. 

M. C. E. Jones & M. G. A. Vale (eds) (1989). England and her Neighbours 1066-1453. Essays in Honour of Pierre Chaplais. 

J. Sumption (1999). The Hundred Years War. Trial by Fire. 

A. Curry (2003). The Hundred Years War. 

J. Sumption (1990). The Hundred Years War. Trial by Battle. 

A. Curry (ed.) (1994). Arms, Armies and Fortifications in the Hundred Years War. 

C.T. Allmand (1988). The Hundred Years War. 

E. Perroy (1951). The Hundred Years War. 

M. G. A. Vale (1996). The Origins of the Hundred Years War. The Angevin Legacy 1250-1340. 


Assessment Strategy

The structure of the module is laid out in a handbook which provides basic timelines, maps and dynastic charts. The tutor will introduce each topic by means of an informal lecture where students are encouraged to raise questions and where opportunity is provided for inter-student discussion. Students will be provided with detailed outlines and key texts which they will be expected to discuss, along with set secondary reading, in the seminars which follow up the topics introduced in the lectures. Students will participate in ‘Newsnight’ style debates sustaining the viewpoints of different historians and of the major protagonists in the war. An appreciation of how events unfold is gained from the simulation exercise on the Treaty of Troyes where students are expected to research a particular historical character and participated in ‘negotiations’. Short written exercises will enable students to develop their comprehension of key issues and events and with the non-assessed essay and seminar presentation assists preparation for the formal assignments.


MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (1000 words) 20%
Essay  (2000 words) 40%
Examination  (2 hours) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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