Life in an English Village: Earls Colne Essex 1450-1750: Context (HIH3138)

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-requisitesHIH3137 Life in an English Village, Earls Colne, Essex, 1450-1750 (Sources)
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks; Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module will explore the ways in which historians have studied the social history of village life in the period 1450-1750. It will examine a variety of village studies, to explore the ways in which the village community has been conceptualised. It will also cover the social history of themes such as the distribution of land and wealth, lordship, social and administrative power, social life (demography, social control, marriage, poverty, crime), religion and moral order. These will provide the historiographic context for the detailed study of the sources of the village of Earls Colne, Essex.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. A broad and detailed knowledge of the historiography of the village community in early modern England, as well as close specialist knowledge of relevant themes dealing with daily life in English social history, developed through independent study and seminar work

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 2. Ability to analyse the key developments within thematic aspects of early modern English social history. Ability to focus on and comprehend complex issues.
  • 3. Ability to understand historical debates about causation and trends in a comprehensible manner.
  • 4. Ability to follow and criticise interpretations in social history in an informed and well-supported manner.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

Syllabus plan

The module will examine the historiography of thematic aspects of village life: the economic base (land, wealth, occupations); family life & gender relations; social life (personal behaviour, demographic behaviour, poverty, mobility and work); property and power (distribution of property though time, lordship, taxable wealth, power in parish government); crime (types, perpetrators and victims - property crime, violence, gender divisions, age divisions, change over time); relationship to government and authority; religion in the parish (particularly impact of Puritanism). These will be examined through readings of the relevant literature of individual case studies and thematic texts, and students will make presentations or write essays based on these readings.

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 independant 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
Better of two essay marks 332 x 3000 wordsVerbal and written
Unseen examination 672 questions in 2 hoursWritten

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

K. Wrightson & D. Levine, Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling, 1525-1700 (2nd. ed., Oxford, 1995. G. Nair, Highley: The Development of a Community, 1550-1850 (Oxford, 1988).

D.G. Hey, An English Rural Community: Myddle under the Tudors and Stuarts (Leicester, 1974)

M. Spufford, Contrasting Communities. English Villagers in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Cambridge, 1974).

M. McIntosh, A Community Transformed: The Manor and Liberty of Havering, 1500-1620 (Cambridge, 1991).

S.D. Amussen, An Ordered Society. Gender and Class in Early Modern England (New York & Oxford, 1988).

Module has an active ELE page?


Available as distance learning?