Everyday Experiences of the English Civil War (HIH1006)

StaffDr Ismini Pells - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module explores how the Civil War, as an event of national significance, was experienced, interpreted and understood by the ordinary men and women who lived through it. It will consider the problems facing historians seeking to recapture the ‘lost voices’ of ordinary folk and how far this evidence can shed light on historiographical debates surrounding the Civil War. Students will learn to assess the characteristics of (and connections between) a variety of different source types including pamphlets, newspapers, ballads, letters and diaries, as well as visual, quantitative and archaeological materials.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess the nature of the English Civil War.
  • 2. Work critically with a range of sources for the history of England in the seventeenth century, with particular reference to the English Civil War.
  • 3. Critique early modern English historical texts.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Identify the problems of using historical sources e.g. bias, reliability, etc, and to compare the validity of different types of source.
  • 5. Answer a question briefly and concisely.
  • 6. Present work orally, respond to questions orally, and think quickly of questions to ask other students.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Conduct independent study and group work, including the presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 8. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 9. Work with others in a team and to interact effectively with the tutor and the wider group.
  • 10. Write to a very tight word-length.

Syllabus plan

Following an introductory lecture in the first week, each of the next 9 weeks will be devoted to analysing a different source type including pamphlets, newspapers, ballads, letters and diaries, as well as visual, quantitative and archaeological materials. The final session will be a general review and discussion of the themes and source materials covered throughout the course of the module.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities22 hour lecture: Introduction to module
Scheduled learning and teaching activities2010 x 2 hour seminars. At a meeting of the whole class generally a different group of 3-4 students will give a presentation to the whole class, followed by class discussion and working through the sources for that week carefully. Additional sources may be issued in the class and the lecturer will also use the time to set up issues for the following week.
Guided independent study128Students prepare for the session through reading and research; writing five source commentaries and an essay and preparing one group presentation in the course of the term.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group presentation (3-4 students)10-15 minutes1-4, 6-7, 9Oral
Lowest mark from portfolio of 5 source commentaries500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
4 highest marks from portfolio of 5 source commentaries602000 words (500 per commentary) (15% per commentary)1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments.
Essay on Sources401500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Mark and written comments.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
4 highest marks of portfolio of 5 source commentaries4 highest marks of portfolio of 5 source commentaries1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period.
1500-word essay1500-word essay1-5, 7-8, 10Referral/deferral period.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Martyn Bennett, The Civil Wars Experienced (2000)

Michael Braddick, God’s Fury, England’s Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars (2008)

Michael Braddick, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the English Revolution (2015)

Charles Carlton, Going to the Wars: The Experience of the British Civil Wars 1638-51 (1992)

John Morrill, Revolt in the Provinces: The People of England and the Tragedies of War, 1630-1648 (1999)

Jason Peacey, Print and Public Politics in the English Revolution (2013)

Diane Purkiss, The English Civil War: A People’s History (2006)

Austin Woolrych, Britain in Revolution, 1625-1660 (2002)

Blair Worden, The English Civil Wars, 1640-1660 (2009)

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Key words search

England, Civil War, Early Modern, Seventeenth Century, Social, Political