Life in an English Village: Earls Colne Essex 1450-1750: Sources (HIH3137)

StaffProfessor Henry French - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level6
Pre-requisitesAt least 90 credits of History at level 1 and/or level 2
Co-requisitesHIH3138 Life in an English Village, Earls Colne, Essex, 1450k-1750: (Context)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This special subject will focus on life in a single village in early modern England, for which every surviving record has been published. Using these sources (typical of most English parishes) the module aims to provide an insight into the realities of daily village life. It will provide first-hand evidence to illustrate many of the debates in social and economic history in this period. It will also pose questions of source evaluation or criticism and about the balance between qualitative and quantitative interpretations. The aim is to expose students to this subject, through the medium of sustained documentary research.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. A detailed knowledge of the different sources available for the study of social history at the level of the parish in early modern England, together with a close specialist knowledge of specific sources which students discuss in seminar presentations and written work.
  • 2. Ability to analyse the complex diversity of the sources studied using qualitative and quantitative approaches

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. Ability to analyse closely original sources and to assess their reliability as historical evidence
  • 4. to explore thematic issues by deploying an array of complimentary sources in a comprehensible manner
  • 5. Ability to assimilate information from a variety of sources, to build up a composite picture of village life
  • 6. Ability to compare these analyses with interpretations in secondary literature.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. and autonomous study and group work, including presentation of material for group discussion, developed through the mode of learning
  • 8. Ability to digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument, developed through the mode of assessment.
  • 9. Ability to present complex arguments orally.

Syllabus plan

The module will examine a number of thematic aspects of village life: the economic base (land, wealth, occupations); family life & gender relations; social life (personal behaviour, demography, poverty, mobility and work); property and power (lordship, landholding, taxable wealth, power in parish government); crime (types, perpetrators, victims and change over time); relationship to government and authority; religion in the parish (particularly impact of Puritanism). These will be examined through the records of the village, and students will be encouraged to make presentations or write essays based on quantitative or qualitative analyses of samples of these sources. These findings will be reviewed against existing historiographies.

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 activities44Seminars (22x2hr)
Guided independent study256Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

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
portfolio 80four pieces of written work Verbal and written
individual presentation2020-30 minutesVerbal and written

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

 A. Macfarlane (ed.), Records of An English Village: Earls Colne, 1400-1750 (Cambridge, 1980)

, microfiche collection. Available on line at A. Macfarlane, S. Harrison & C. Jardine, Reconstructing Historical Communities (Cambridge, 1977).

A. Macfarlane (ed.), The Diary of Ralph Josselin 1616-1683, British Academy Records of Social and Economic History, New Series, III (Oxford, 1976).

A. Macfarlane (ed.), The Family Life of Ralph Josselin: an Essay in Historical Anthropology (Cambridge, 1970).

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?