Wealth and Work in Early Modern Britain (HISM035)
|Staff||Professor Jane Whittle - Convenor|
Dr Tawny Paul - Lecturer
Professor Henry French - Lecturer
|Duration of Module||Term 2: 11 weeks;|
The module looks at different forms of work that supported the household: paid and unpaid, men’s and women’s, domestic service and casual work. It compares wealth between households, using taxation and probate documents; examines the debt and credit relationships supported and undermined household economies; and the connection between consumption patterns and wealth. At the heart of the module is an understanding of how individual household economies interacted with the wider economy, asking what was the consequence of increased commercialization and changing patterns of consumption, and what did it mean to be wealthy or poor, at the level of people’s lived experience.
The module involves close work with early modern documents, particularly wills, inventories, probate accounts, household accounts, diaries, advice books, taxation returns, business and debt litigation and court depositions. The assessed essay and presentation will include the detailed analysis of primary sources.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Locate and evaluate critically the relevant primary and secondary source materials required to investigate a specific historical or methodological question.
- 2. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of key themes and approaches in the study of wealth and work in early modern Britain.
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 3. Demonstrate the ability to analyse and synthesise widely different types of historical material and evidence.
- 4. Identify and understand the nature of original sources.
- 5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key historical concepts and debates.
- 6. Research for themselves and present independent accounts and interpretations of different historical issues.
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 7. Develop the capacity for independent critical study and thought.
- 8. Apply key bibliographical skills (including the use of on-line finding aids).
- 9. Construct and defend a sustained argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials.
- 10. Work as an individual and with a tutor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way (e.g. lead a group discussion or task).
Exact syllabus may vary year to year but the module will examine topics such as:
The early modern household
The household economy
Men’s and women’s work
Servants in the household
Wealth and social structure
Wealth and consumption patterns
Worth and value
Lending and borrowing money
The commercialisation of the household
The growth of casual wage labour
The poor laws and pauper household economies
The consumer revolution
Indebtedness and its consequences
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||22||11 x 2 hour seminars.|
|Guided independent study||278||Preparation for seminars, essays and presentations.|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Seminar discussion||Ongoing||1-10||Oral through discussion with peers and tutor|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Essay||67||4000 words||1-10||Oral and written|
|Individual Presentation||33||20 minutes and 1,000 word reflective commentary||1-10||Oral and written|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Presentation||Script as for 20 minute presentation and 1,000 word reflective commentary||1-10||Referral/deferral period|
The re-assessment consists of one 4,000 word essay, as in the original assessment, but replaces the individual presentation with a written script and accompanying visual aids that could be delivered in such a presentation and which is the equivalent of 20 minutes of speech. Instead of reflecting on the delivery of the presentation and its reception, as in the original assessment, the reflective commentary will explore the objectives and intended delivery methods of the presentation.
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
- Maria Ågren (ed.), Making a Living, Making a Difference: Gender and Work in Early Modern European Society (Oxford U.P., 2016)
- Amy Erickson, Women and Property in Early Modern England (Routledge, 1993)
- Henry French, The Middle Sort of People in Provincial England (Oxford U.P., 2007)
- Natasha Glaisyer, The Culture of Commerce in England, 1660-1720 (Boydell, 2006)
- Steve Hindle, On the Parish? The Micro-Politics of Poor Relief in Rural England c.1550-1750 (Oxford U.P., 2004)
- Margaret Hunt, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender and the Family in England 1680-1780 (Caifornia U.P., 1996)
- Marjorie McIntosh, Working Women in English Society 1300-1620 (Cambridge U.P., 2005)
- Tim Meldrum, Domestic Service and Gender 1660-1750: Life and Work in the London Household, (Harlow, 2000)
- Craig Muldrew, The Economy of Obligation: The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 1998)
- Craig Muldrew, Food, Energy and Industriousness: Work and Material Culture in Agrarian England 1550-1780 (Cambridge, 2011)
- M. Overton, J. Whittle, D. Dean and A. Hann, Production and Consumption in English Households, 1600-1750, (Routledge, London, 2004)
- Carole Shammas, The Pre-Industrial Consumer in England and America, (OUP, Oxford, 1990)
- Alexandra Shepard, Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status and the Social Order in Early Modern England (Oxford U.P., 2015)
- Cathryn Spence, Women, Credit and Debt in Early Modern Scotland (Manchester U.P. 2016)
- L. Weatherill, Consumer Behaviour and Material Culture in Britain 1660-1760, (Routledge, London, 1988)
- Jane Whittle and Elizabeth Griffiths, Consumption and Gender in the Early Seventeenth-Century Household: The World of Alice Le Strange (Oxford U. P., 2012).
- Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities: Economic Lives in Early Modern Britain (Yale U.P., 2000)
- Keith Wrightson ed., A Social History of England 1500-1750 (Cambridge U.P., 2017)
Module has an active ELE page?
Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources
London Lives: https://www.londonlives.org/
Old Bailey Online: https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/
Cause Papers, Church Courts of the diocese of York: https://www.hrionline.ac.uk/causepapers/
Bibliography of British and Irish History. Link via Exeter Library lib.exeter.ac.uk/search~S6/v?History
British History Online. Link via Exeter Library lib.exeter.ac.uk/search~S6/v?History
Connected Histories: http://www.connectedhistories.org/resource.aspx
Defining Gender. Link via Exeter Library lib.exeter.ac.uk/search~S6/v?History
Historical Texts: http://0-historicaltexts.jisc.ac.uk.lib.exeter.ac.uk/
Available as distance learning?
Last revision date
Key words search
Household, wealth, work, gender, debt, poverty, commerce, family