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The University of Southampton

HIST3042 From Tyranny to Revolution: England 1625-49: Part 1

Module Overview

This module provides an introduction to early Stuart England and explores the troubled reign of King Charles I before the English Civil War.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The family background and personal connections of King Charles I
  • The events of the first four years of Charles’s reign (1625-29)
  • The events of the period known as the ‘Personal Rule’ (1629-40)
  • The causes and effects of the so-called “Bishops’ Wars” between England and Scotland (1637-40)
  • The processes by which England itself slid inexorably into Civil War between 1640 and 1642
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Gather information, work out how useful that information is and synthesise it into clear and well-written reports
  • Communicate effectively in group-discussions
  • Identify and solve historical problems
  • Display effective time-management in planning and completing all sorts of intellectual tasks
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse the relevance of a wide range of primary sources, appreciate the particular contexts in which those sources were produced and comment succinctly on their significance in a ‘gobbets’ exercise
  • Engage critically with the many books and articles on this period that have been written by other historians
  • Structure a coherent written argument based on an engagement with the primary and secondary literature that relates to this particular period
  • Express your opinions, knowledge and understanding in seminar discussions with your tutor and your fellow-students


During the early 1640s, this country was racked by the most widespread and destructive conflict which it has ever seen. But what was the Great Civil War all about? What were its causes? What were its effects? And what were conditions like for the ordinary men and women who had to live through it? This course explores all of these questions. The first part of the course covers the period 1625-1642 and begins with a general introduction to Charles I and his family, including his ill-fated brother, Prince Henry, and his sister Princess Elizabeth, the so-called ‘Queen of English Hearts'. Students will then go on to examine the complicated relationship which existed between Charles I and his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria; the equally complicated relationship which existed between Charles I and his chief favourite, the Duke of Buckingham; the murder of Buckingham's astrologer Dr Lambe (who was popularly believed to be a witch): the events of the Personal Rule; Puritanism and domestic opposition: the collapse of the royal regime; and the Irish rebellion and massacres of 1641. Topics to be covered in the first semester of the module include: • Introduction: Charles I, Henrietta Maria and Buckingham, 1625-28. • The dissolution of 1629: Motives and reactions. • ‘Halcyon Days': Charles I and the Personal Rule. • ‘Secret Sedition': Puritanism and opposition. • ‘A British Problem'?: Trouble with the Scots. • War in the North: The collapse of the royal regime. • ‘Annus Mirabilis?': The Long Parliament, 1640-41. • ‘A Feast of Blood'?: The Irish rising of 1641.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Short presentations by the module tutor. • Longer presentations by students taking the module. • Close reading of original seventeenth-century texts. Learning activities include • Seminar discussion. • Student presentations. • Independent study and research

Independent Study126
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

B. Coward (2003). The Stuart Age: England, 1603-1714. 

A. Plowden (1998). Women All on Fire: The Women of the English Civil War. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 50%
Written assignment 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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