British Politics 1625-1642 - HI6044

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2021 to 2022.


This module will analyse British government and society during the 1630s, one of the most significant decades of the 17th century, when Charles I ruled without parliament in England and pursued controversial policies in England, Scotland and Ireland. Through examining a wide variety of primary source material, students will be encouraged to draw their own conclusions about the character and success of Caroline government in the 1630s, as well as on the causes of the British Civil Wars, topics upon which rival historiographical theories continue to flourish. This is a fascinating period of intense historical enquiry which offers students the opportunity to become adept at the interpretation of primary sources, to deepen their understanding of the complexities of the period, and to improve the presentation of their ideas in both oral and written form.


Contact hours

This module will be taught through two 2-hour seminars each week, with the exception of Enhancement Weeks and one week per term that will be dedicated to coursework feedback.


Please note that this module is only available to single-honours and joint-honours students on the BA in History and BA in Military History programmes. It is not available as a Wild module, nor is it available to short-credit students.

Method of assessment

This module will be assessed by:

Essay 1 (3000 words) – 8%
Essay 2 (3000 words) – 8%
Essay 3 (3000 words) – 8%
Gobbet Exercise (3000 words) – 8%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 8%
Exam 1 (2 hours) – 30%
Exam 2 (2 hours) – 30%

Indicative reading

J. Adamson, The Noble Revolt: The Overthrow of Charles I (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 2007)
D. Cressy, Charles I and the People of England (OUP, Oxford, 2015)
R. Cust, Charles I: A Political Life (Routledge, London, 2005)
M. Lee, The Road to Revolution: Scotland under Charles I 1625-1637 (University of Illinois Press, Champaign, 1985)
J. Merritt (ed), The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford 1621-1641 (CUP, Cambridge, 1995)
T.W. Moody (ed), New History of Ireland III: Early Modern Ireland 1534-1641 (OUP, Oxford, 1976)
C. Russell, The Causes of the English Civil War (OUP, Oxford, 1990)
K. Sharpe, The Personal Rule of Charles I (Yale University Press UK, London, 1992)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes of this module are that, on completion of this module, students will be able to:

- Demonstrate a firm grasp of the complex politics, religion and culture of the period
- Demonstrate a broad conceptual command of the course, and a thorough and systematic understanding of the latest research.
- Demonstrate their capacity to assess and critically engage with a wide range of primary sources, both visual and written.
- Demonstrate independent learning skills by being able to make use of a wide range of high-level resources, including up-to-date research in peer-reviewed journals, information technology, relevant subject bibliographies and other primary and secondary sources.
- Critically evaluate key texts and other materials critically at a high level

The intended subject specific learning outcomes of this module are that, on completion of this module, students will be able to:

- Communicate complex ideas, concepts and arguments.
- Demonstrate the acquisition of an independent learning style when engaging with the course content, for example in the preparation and presentation of course work, in carrying out independent research, in compiling bibliographies and other lists of research materials, by showing the ability to reflect on their own learning and by mediating complex arguments in both oral and written form
- Analyse, discuss, deconstruct and demonstrate cogent understanding of central texts and, subsequently, assemble and present arguments based on this analysis; by virtue of this process, students will also have gained an appreciation of the uncertainty and ambiguity which surrounds the core themes of this module.
- Creatively approach problem solving, and form critical and evaluative judgements about the appropriateness of these approaches.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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