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Kingship, Rule & Mythmaking: England, 1065-1307 - HIS00014I

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Danielle Park
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To introduce students to important specific historical themes and topics with a clear chronological or geographical focus;
  • To enable them to work on those topics by combining access to the specialised expertise of staff through lectures with their own close study and discussion of issues and reading;
  • To deepen students' understanding and appreciation of a range of historical subjects and issues; and
  • To support students' progression from the broad chronological and conceptual work undertaken at Stage 1 of their programme to more detailed and rigorous study of particular topics.

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • Have a broad overview of specific historical themes and topics with a clear chronological and geographical focus;
  • Be able to evaluate different interpretations of the subject matter and approaches to it;
  • Gain a critical awareness of the primary material and secondary works used in these interpretations and approaches; and
  • Be able to synthesise information from lectures, discussion groups and reading to make evidence-based arguments both orally and in writing.

Module content

The death of Edward the Confessor launched one of the most contested periods of English rule. This module will take us chronologically from the Confessor's death in 1065 to the death of his namesake, Edward I, encompassing years that produced some of England's most famous kings and violent crises. We cover the Norman Conquest and its aftermath, the "anarchy" of King Stephen, murder of Thomas Becket, Magna Carta, rebellion of Simon de Montfort, and the formidable reign of Edward I. We explore the problems of power and the art of rule in medieval England, its castles, alliances, and ruthless ministers, as well as the rebellions that challenged that rule. We also look at the changing stage of English kingship (and queenship) during this period, from the Anglo-Norman realm, to the Angevin Empire and Britain, to think about how territory shaped royal ambition and the means by which kingship was justified.

This period fashioned enduring institutions of English government -- the exchequer, parliament, common law, and Westminster -- and explore how they arose and were used. But it was also a period that produced some of our most popular historical legends. Many are based on actual people or happenings - the Battle of Hastings, "that Troublesome Priest", Richard the Lionheart, "Bad" King John and even King Arthur. We will explore how these relate to our historical sources and as well as to the politics of power in the middle ages.

Teaching Programme:
This 20-credit module consists of 16 twice weekly lectures delivered in weeks 2-9 plus one round-up session in week 10, and eight 90 minute discussion groups.

The lecture programme might include the following:-

Williams I and II (1065-1100)

1. 1066: the Battle of Hastings and its build-up

2. The Norman Conquest: Sources and Problems

3. The Normanization of England? Lordship, Revolt and Ethnicity

4. Aftermath: The England of the Conquerors

Henry I and Stephen (1100-1154)

5. The Cross-channel Realm

6. Succession and Claim

7. The 'anarchy': Stephen and Matilda

8. The barons and their priorities

The Angevins (1154-1215)

9. Henry II: The Church and the Law

10. Court Culture

11. Richard the Lionheart and Eleanor of Aquitaine

12. King John, Empire and the scrabble for money

King, Parliament and England:

13. The reign of Henry III

14. Baronial rebellion (Simon de Montfort)

15. Edward I: Law and Order

16. War and crisis: 1290-1307

17. Revision: the rule of England

Seminar discussions will likely deal with the following :-

2. The Norman Conquest

3. 1066-1100: Was this really Domesday?

4. Domination and the art of Rule: the Conqueror's sons

5. Anarchy & Nation: Stephen (and Matildas)

6. John of Salisbury and the Troublesome Priest

7. Magna Carta

8. The Montfortian Rebellion

9. Criticism & Controversy: Who rules England?


Task Length % of module mark
2,000 word essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will be required to write a 2,000-word procedural essay for formative assessment, due in either week 5 or week 7 of the autumn term. They will then complete a 2,000-word essay for summative assessment, due in week 1 of the spring term.


Task Length % of module mark
2,000 word essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Following their formative assessment task, students will typically receive written feedback that will include comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission.

Work will be returned to students in their discussion groups and may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their procedural work with their tutor (or module convenor) during student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:

Clanchy, Michael. England and its Rulers. 3rd ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.

Carpenter, David. The Struggle for Mastery: The Penguin History of Britain 1066-1284. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Matthew, Donald. Britain and the Continent 1000-1300: The Impact of the Norman Conquest. London: Hodder Arnold, 2005.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.