Events Calendar
Feb 4 - Feb 25
11:00 - 13:00
The World of Oliver Cromwell
short courses

Dates: 4, 11, 18, 25 February 2019

Mondays: 11.00 – 13.00

Course code: 18TON308

Please note: this course is a repeat from Autumn 2017.

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This course examines the rule of Oliver Cromwell, when he became Lord Protector in the 1650s, considering not just the personality and actions of Cromwell himself, but also the wider experience of English life during the Protectorate.

After victory in the English Civil War of the 1640s, Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England, late in 1653. This course explores his life and times, considering his extraordinary rise from provincial squire to outstanding military commander and ultimately to head of state. We will be focusing not just on the Protector and his personal motivation and actions, but also more widely on life in the 1650s. We will consider the social, religious and cultural experiences of people during the Interregnum, besides examining the reasons why the experiment in government without monarchy ultimately failed. The later 1640s and the 1650s are one of the least well-known, but most fascinating periods in post-Reformation history, when new ideas about the shape of society and the freedom of the individual were developed. Illustrated with a wealth of original documents, this course aims to bring to life the experiences of a wide range of people during this exciting, radical and important moment in English history.

Suggested reading

Worden, Blair, The English Civil Wars 1640-1660. (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2009)

Additional information

  • No prior knowledge necessary
  • Suitable for all
  • This course allows you to spend time exploring a subject for interest, among like-minded people, without formal assessment
  • This course is a seminar-format, during which original documents are examined and discussed.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you will have a good understanding of:

  • the character and career of Oliver Cromwell, from 1640 to his death in 1658.
  • the key events of the Protectorate.
  • how people responded to life under Cromwell's rule.
  • the diversity of religious experiences which flourished briefly in the 1650s.
  • the range of written documents produced in this period, examples of which you will discuss in the seminar and take home.

About the tutor

Rebecca is an early modern historian, specialising in the religious history of the Britsh Civil Wars and the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. Her PhD focused on the English church in the 1650s. Her Masters' thesis investigated the relationship between Church and State, focusing on the city of Canterbury in the fifteenth century. She has taught several undergraduate courses at the Canterbury campus on a range of late medieval and early modern topics, and a number of courses on seventeenth century history at the Tonbridge Centre. She has given numerous papers on different aspects of late medieval and early modern religious history to academic and general interest audiences. She also has degrees in Landscape Architecture and maintains a strong interest in landscape and architectural history.


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