Stuart England (HIH2108A)

StaffDr Freyja Cox Jensen - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

You will need effective communication and analytical skills, oral and written, to complete many of your modules and in a job after you graduate.  This module aims to help you develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work.  It provides you with an opportunity to explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history. It will also give you an opportunity to work in a team on a group presentation.
The seventeenth century is usually remembered as England’s experiment with republicanism: the execution of Charles I, and the protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, was arguably the first real western ‘revolution’, occurring long before those of France or America.  But is this an accurate representation of seventeenth-century politics? What were the processes of change that made the Civil Wars possible, and how did the Stuart kings deal with challenges posed by the unification of England, Ireland, and Scotland?  Why was Charles I executed, and why was Charles II restored to the monarchy? How did the Reformation play out over the course of its second century?  What influenced the cultural developments that occurred in art, architecture, music, literature, and drama?  And what was the experience of the ordinary people?
These are the kinds of questions you will explore in this module, using a wide range of primary sources, which will provide a solid base for your dissertation research next year.  You will also have the chance to develop your debating skills, and synthesise and substantiate arguments as you build your own ideas about these often contested areas of historical study.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the main themes in the subject, and to collate information upon and evaluate in greater detail those aspects of the module discussed in seminars, and especially those topics selected for essays.
  • 2. Discuss the ways in which England and its neighbours interacted politically and culturally
  • 3. Analyse the pattern of religious and political change and continuity in the British Isles, and be able to link historiographical arguments to these processes.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Understand and articulate the dangers, and the utility, of using theories, labels, and periodic demarcations in the practice of history.
  • 5. Use a variety of types of historical source to substantiate an opinion on the key issues explored during the course.
  • 6. Trace long-term as well as short-term historical developments.
  • 7. Recognise and deploy historical terminology correctly.
  • 8. Assess different approaches to historical writing in areas of controversy.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 9. Work both independently and in a group, including participating in oral seminar discussions.
  • 10. Identify a topic, select, comprehend, and organise primary and secondary materials on that topic with little guidance.
  • 11. Produce a coherent argument, to a deadline and in examination conditions.
  • 12. Demonstrate a development in his or her note-taking and critical reading skills, and academic writing style.

Syllabus plan

Part I:

  1. 1603: the union of the crowns
  2. The early Stuarts: religion and politics
  3. The Wars of the Three Kingdoms, or, why was Charles I executed?
  4. An English ‘republic’?
  5. Restoration
  6. A ‘Glorious Revolution’?

Part II:

  1. Life in Stuart England: the social order
  2. Gender, family, and household
  3. Culture I: Word, Text and Image
  4. Culture II: Music and Drama
  5. Revel, riot, and rebellion

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 hours (22 x 1hr)Lectures. These will play a key role in providing a spine of ideas and information through which all students can be brought to a similar level of knowledge and through which students can be made aware of important ideas and debates.
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities22 hours (22 x 1hr)Seminars. These will focus on particular aspects of the subject matter with a view to offering a fuller understanding than that provided by the lectures, and allowing students to develop their knowledge and skills more fully. They will include reading and interpretation of both primary and secondary sources. Students will be expected to prepare for seminars in advance (1) individually by reading and evaluating both examples of modern scholarship and primary sources, and to discuss the issues raised in the seminar itself and (2) in groups, preparing group presentations and thus developing students’ teamwork and oral skills.
Guided Independent Study256 hoursThrough reading, note-taking, and writing essay plans and essays, students will develop a comprehension of specific themes within the module, and develop the skills to assess specific sources, both primary and secondary, and developments within European history.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-12Verbal and written

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
Unseen exam502 Questions in 2 Hours1-12Written
Essay303,000 Words1-12Written and verbal
Group Presentation2025 Minutes1-10, 12Written and verbal

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
ExamExam1-12Referral/deferral period
EssayEssay1-12Referral/deferral period
Group PresentationScript as for individual presentation, equivalent to 10 minutes1-10, 12Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Cust, R. & A.Hughes (ed.) Conflict in Early Stuart England (London: Longman, 1986).

De Krey, G. London and the Restoration, 1659-1683 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005)

Harris, T. Restoration (London: Penguin, 2005)

Holmes, Clive. Why Was Charles I Executed? (London: Continuum, 2006).

Hutton, R. The Restoration (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)

Kishlansky, M. A Monarchy Transformed: Britain 1603-1714 (London: Penguin, 1996).

Miller, J. After the Civil wars: English Politics and Government in the Reign of Charles II (Harlow: Longman, 2000)

Morrill, John. The Revolt of the Provinces (London: Longman, 1977)

Russell, C. The Causes of the English Civil War (Oxford, 1990)

Seaward, P. The Restoration, 1660-1688 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991)

Smith, D. The Stuart parliaments, 1603-1689 (London: Arnold, 1991)

Somerville, J. Politics and Ideology in England: 1603-1640 (London: Longman, 1986)

Spurr, J. The Post-Reformation (London: Longman, 2006), esp. ch. 6

Tomlinson, H. (ed.) Before the English Civil War (London: Macmillan, 1983)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web based and electronic resources:  Early English Books Online

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Stuart, Early Modern, Politics, Britain, Republican, Charles I, Parliament