- Department: History
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. John Cooper
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: I
- Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
- See module specification for other years: 2021-22
Sixteenth-century England was a place of vivid contrasts. The Tudor monarchy cultivated magnificence on a European scale, yet lacked the military power to dominate its people or to pursue an aggressive foreign policy. Protestant reforms and conversions were met with an equally passionate defence of the Catholic faith. The re-assertion of royal power by the Tudors was countered by theories of resistance to tyranny on both sides of the religious divide. Add in the constitutional significance of the break from Rome and the rise of Parliament, the drama of court politics and the unique situation of women ruling England, and it is not difficult to see why the Tudors occupy such a central place in the national memory.
This module covers the full span of the period from the victory of Henry Tudor at Bosworth to the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603. Historical landmarks include the Reformation under Henry VIII and Edward VI, the attempt to return England to the Catholic faith under Queen Mary, the cult of the Virgin Queen and the coming of the Spanish Armada. Within this chronological framework we pause to examine themes across the whole of the period, including popular rebellion and resistance theory; the importance of royal ministers such as Cardinal Wolsey and Francis Walsingham; problems of poverty and vagrancy, and the idea of the commonwealth; and England’s relationship with Ireland and Wales. Particular emphasis is placed on the structures by which royal power was sustained, including art and propaganda as well as the formal institutions of government. We conclude by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the Tudor regime, and why it is that this period of history continues to have such a strong grip on the public imagination.
|Autumn Term 2022-23
The aims of this module are:
Students who complete this module successfully will:
This 20-credit module consists of sixteen twice weekly lectures delivered in weeks 2-9, plus one round-up session in week 10 and eight 90 minute discussion groups.
Seminar topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:
Henry Tudor’s inheritance: England in 1485
Two Princes and a Cardinal: Arthur, Henry and Wolsey
The break from Rome, or was Henry VIII a Protestant?
Structures of power I: monarchy, court and Parliament
Structures of power II: royal propaganda and magnificence
Edward VI and his governors
Rebellion, riot and popular politics
An English Utopia?Poverty, vagrancy and the commonwealth
Elizabeth I: church, state and the art of queenship
The Virgin Queen, or why did Elizabeth never marry?
Imperial kingship in Ireland and Wales
Catholic missionaries and the Elizabethan secret service
Defence of the realm, or what if the Spanish Armada had landed?
Sidney, Shakespeare and the idea of the monarchical republic
The Tudors in myth and memory
|% of module mark
2,000 word essay
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.
|% of module mark
2,000 word essay
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.
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:
Brigden, Susan. New Worlds, Lost Worlds: The Rule of the Tudors, 1485-1603. London: Penguin Books, 2001.
Sharpe, Kevin. Selling the Tudor Monarchy: Authority and Image in Sixteenth-Century England. London: Yale University Press, c2009.
Williams, Penry. The Tudor Regime. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979.