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The University of Southampton

HIST3127 Fashioning the Tudor Court 2

Module Overview

This module will introduce you to court culture in England, between 1553 and 1603, focusing particularly on the reign of Elizabeth I with reference to the reigns of Mary I and Mary queen of Scots.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • court culture during the reign of Elizabeth I , set in context by reference to Mary I and Mary queens of Scots
  • the significance and impact of royal patronage during this period
  • the changing nature of court ceremonial in this period and the impact of the reformation and religious change
  • the social, cultural and financial impact and value of royal collecting
  • the ways in which court entertainment evolves and the extent to which it was influenced by developments at European courts
  • the impact of European craftsmen on the development of English court culture
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • participate effectively in group discussion
  • develop your time management skills
  • locate and use effective written and visual sources in the library and on-line
  • develop your presentation skills
  • research historical questions and communicate your findings convincingly and concisely in written reports
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • argue your case in group discussion
  • structure your ideas and research findings into well ordered presentations and essays
  • analyse critically a variety of primary written and visual sources
  • appreciate the context of the primary sources and express this in the gobbet exam
  • engage with the secondary literature and contribute to the debates relating to the historiography for this period


This module will consider Tudor court culture. During semester 1 you will focus on the reign of Henry VIII but as appropriate, you will compare and contrast his court with those of Henry VII and Edward VI. In semester 2 you will go on to study the court of Elizabeth I. As points of comparison, you will consider Mary I and Mary, queen of Scots. In both semesters, you will focus on a group of five core themes linked to the court: artistic patronage and the creation of the royal image, architectural patronage, court entertainments and literary patronage, royal collecting including the development and dispersal of collections and court ceremonial including coronations, the order of the Garter and observance of the liturgical year. You will also have the opportunity to assess how far court culture spread into the rest of society through a study of the role the nobility, an analysis of the Tudor home and an investigation into how they would have shopped for the Tudor wardrobe. As the module progresses you will be able to compare and contrast the courts of male and female monarchs and to assess the impact of the reformation. You will learn about Tudor court culture through the close study of a range of written primary sources including letters, inventories, accounts, household ordinances and narrative accounts. These will be supplemented by a detailed analysis of visual sources including portraits, miniatures and drawings as well as surviving artefacts including ordnance, textiles, armour, musical instruments, ships and plate. Topics to be covered in the second semester of the module: 1. The monstrous regiment?: Being queen in the second half of the sixteenth century - Elizabeth I, Mary I and Mary queen of Scots 2. From princess to virgin queen: Nicholas Hilliard and Marcus Gheeraerts II 3. Dressing the part and the role of court ceremonial: from the accession day tilts to touching for the queen’s evil 4. Royal acquisition and patronage 5. The role of the male courtier: Leicester and Essex 6. The place of women at court and in the country: case studies on the ladies of the bedchamber and Bess of Hardwick 7. From Hampton Court to Hardwick Hall: the decline of royal building projects and the rise of the courtiers’ country house 8. The Elizabethan home 9. Shopping for the Elizabethan wardrobe: markets, chapmen and the rise of Gresham’s exchange 10. 1603: The end of an era and the beginning of the Stuart monarchy

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • short presentations by students • group discussions including feedback from the tutor • detailed reading and analysis of the module texts Learning activities include • individual research and study prior to each class • preparing and delivering short presentations relating to specific aspects of the module • studying written and visual primary sources

Independent Study260
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

S. M. Levey and P. Thornton (2001). Of Household Stuff: The 1601 Inventories of Bess of Hardwick. 

J. Arnold (1990). Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd. 

R. Strong (1977). The Cult of Elizabeth I: Elizabethan Portraiture and Pageantry. 

S. Doran ed (2003). Elizabeth: The Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. 

R. Strong (1987). Gloriana: The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth I. 

D. Howarth (1997). Images of Rule: Art and Politics in the English Renaissance, 1485-1646. 

K. Hearn ed (1995). Dynasties: Painting in Tudor and Jacobean England 1530-1630. 

J. Neale (1934). Queen Elizabeth. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback  Non assessed oral presentations  Tutorials to provide consultation on assessed essays


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Examination  (3 hours) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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