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The University of Southampton

HIST3253 The Hundred Years War: 1337-1453, Part 1

Module Overview

The conflict that raged between the Plantagenet and the Valois kings from 1337 to 1453, and spread over the whole of Occidental Europe, turned out to be the longest military struggle in history. In this module, you will explore how the Hundred Years War shaped the fate of two kingdoms, two nations and two peoples at the threshold of modernity. A wide variety of primary sources in translation (ex. treaties, treatises, manifestos, contracts, chronicles, legal suits, ordinances, royal remissions, official and private correspondences) will give you the opportunity to discuss key historical themes and debates, such as the rise of modern state, military revolutions, the cost of war, 'bastard feudalism' and the waning of the middle ages. Part 1 begins with a detailed examination and contextualization of the feudo-dynastic origins of the war. Then, you will investigate the fourteenth century phase of the war (up to 1396), which, after a shaky start, was marked by two distinctive periods for the English crown: a wave of military and political successes, between 1346 and 1360, was followed up by a spectacular reversal of fortune, between 1369 and 1396. Analyzing these ebbs and flows, you will consider individual agency, political culture, chivalrous kingship, military strategy, logistics and recruitment.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • The origins, events and effects of the Hundred Years War in the fourteenth century
  • The wider European contexts of these events and developments
  • A range of primary sources and evidence, pertaining to topics of study, that indicate different viewpoints and subjects of controversy in this period
  • The ways historians have approached the study of Hundred Years War in the fourteenth century
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • analyse critically a variety of textual, visual and oral history evidence from the period
  • marshal the arguments and evidence you find in your research into well-organised essays
  • understand and contextualise primary source material and apply this in assessed exercises
  • Engage with seminal and recent historiographical texts on that subject
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • identify and utilise relevant textual, visual, oral history sources in the library and on-line
  • refine your skills in time-management
  • work independently to identify and solve problems


Topics to be covered in the first semester of the course may include: • The Feudal Issue: Angevin Empire and English Gascony • The Dynastic Issue: Anglo-French relations 1307-40 and the French succession • Edward III's casus belli, 1337-1340 • A final peace? The treaty of Brétigny-Calais (1360) • War by proxy: Scotland and Castile • The creation of the principality of Aquitaine (1362-1367) • Kings and Kingship: Edward III and Charles V • Why men fought? Or Military recruitment in the fourteenth century • The ways of war: chevauchées and battles (from Crécy to Poitiers, 1346-1356) • The ravages of war: England and France, a comparative approach

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • presentations by students on secondary reading and primary sources • small and large group discussions • structured in-depth reading and analysis of the module texts • field trip Learning activities include: • preparatory reading, individual research and study prior to each class • preparing and delivering short presentations relating to aspects of the module, as directed by the tutor • close study of textual, visual and oral history primary sources • participation in small and large group discussion

Independent Study252
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Prestwich, M., A short history of the Hundred Years War (London, 2018).. 

Curry, A., ed., The Hundred Years War Revisited (London, 2019).. 

Green, D., The Hundred Years War: A People’s History (Yale, 2014).. 

Vale, M.G.A., The Angevin Legacy and the Hundred Years War, 1250-1340 (Oxford, 1990). 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback: • individual and group oral presentations (non-assessed) • tutorial consultations on assessed essays • guidance and advice in class on preparation, completion and presentation of assignments • regular work with primary sources to prepare for the essay and examination exercises


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Timed Assignment  (3 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 50%
Timed Assignment  (3 hours) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 50%
Timed Assignment  (3 hours) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Field Trips

Visit of Southampton defenses

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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