The Age of AEthelred 'the Unready': Sources (HIH3117)

StaffDr Levi Roach - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at Level 1 and/or Level 2.
Co-requisitesThe Age of Æthelred ‘the Unready’: Context.
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will focus on the sources available for studying English and western European history in the age of Æthelred. It will use a range of sources, including chronicles, charters, law-codes, coins, sermons and archaeological finds. Students will be expected to evaluate the reliability and value of these sources, as well as to explain their significance within the wider context of the subject. 

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Have a detailed knowledge of the different sources available for the study of the ‘Age of Æthelred’, together with a very close specialist knowledge of those sources which the students focus upon in their seminar presentations and written work.
  • 2. Analyse the complex diversity of the sources studied.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Analyse closely original sources and to assess their reliability as historical evidence; and focus on and comprehend complex texts
  • 4. Understand and deploy relevant historical terminology in a comprehensible manner.
  • 5. Follow social and political developments across the period.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Do independent and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning.
  • 7. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 8. Present complex arguments orally.

Syllabus plan

Term One:

  • England before Æthelred: From Alfred the Great to Edward the Martyr
  • The reign of King Æthelred: Weathering the Storm


Term Two:

  • Æthelred’s Legacy: A Kingdom Lost and Won
  • Æthelred’s Continental Counterparts: Contact, Comparison, Contrast
  • Themes in the ‘Age of Æthelred’


The introductory session will offer an overview for students who may have little background in this subject. The co-requisite module will provide background and context on developments in the reign of King Æthelred.

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 activities4422 x 2 hour seminars
Guided independent study256Reading and preparing for seminars, coursework and presentations.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Seminar discussionOngoing through course.1-6, 8Oral from tutor and fellow students.

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
Portfolio802 assignments totalling 4000 words1-7Verbal and written.
Individual Presentation2020-30 minutes1-8Verbal and written.

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PortfolioPortfolio1-7Referral/deferral period
PresentationWritten transcript of 20 minute presentation1-8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment consists of a 6,000 word portfolio of source work, as in the original assessment, but replaces the individual presentation with a written script that could be delivered in such a presentation and which is the equivalent of 20 minutes of speech.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Introductory reading:


S. Keynes, The Diplomas of King Æthelred ‘the Unready’, 978–1016: A Study in their Use as Historical Evidence (Cambridge, 1980)

A. J. Robertson, ed. and trans., The Laws of the Kings of England from Edmund to Henry I (Cambridge, 1925)

D. Scragg, ed., The Battle of Maldon, AD 991 (Oxford, 1991)

D. Whitelock, ed., English Historical Documents c. 500–1042, 2nd edn (London, 1979)

D. Whitelock, M. Brett and C. N. L. Brooke, ed., Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to the English Church, I, A.D. 871–1204 (Oxford, 1981)

P. Wormald, The Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, I, Legislation and its Limits (Oxford, 1999)

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

‘Kemble’ Website:

Electronic Sawyer:

Early English Laws:

Wulfstan’s Eschatological Homilies:

Available as distance learning?