Restoration London: Plague, Fire and History (HIH1525)

StaffProfessor Jonathan Barry - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level4
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

Sources relating to the plague and fire of London (1665-6) are used to explore the nature and inter-relationship of varied types of evidence: official, personal, literary, visual, statistical, topographic, ideological.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Assess the nature of the plague and fire of London.
  • 2. Work critically with a range of sources for the history of England in the seventeenth century, with particular reference to the plague and fire of London.
  • 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, to respond to questions orally, and to think quickly of questions to ask other students.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. 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

The course will begin with critical discussion of Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year before a range of other sources are used to test the extent to which his account is reliable.

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 the module
Scheduled learning and teaching2010 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 learning128Students prepare for the session through reading and research; writing a weekly source 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 minutes 1-4, 6-7, 9Oral
Lowest mark from portfolio of 5 source commentaries500 words1-5, 7-8, 10Marks 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 from portfolio of 5 source commentaries4 highest marks from 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

D Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year ed. P Backscheider (Norton, 1992)
A Beier and R Finlay (eds), London 1500-1700: Making of the Metropolis (Longman, 1985)
R Porter, London: Social History (Penguin, 1996) chs 4-7
J Champion, London’s Dreaded Visitation (Historical Geography Research Series, 1995)
P Slack, the impact of Plague on Tudor and Stuart England (OUP, 1985)

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