Elizabethan Court and Realm, 1558-1603 - HI6081

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
Autumn and Spring 6 60 (30) PROF K Fincham checkmark-circle


This module aims to study the Court of Queen Elizabeth I as the fulcrum of power and politics in the realm and as a cultural centre. Students will be introduced to the historiography and current interpretations of the political and cultural history of England and Wales in the Elizabethan period. They will analyse a wide range of original primary sources on the workings of the royal household, and on the processes of policy-making by the Queen and the privy council in relation to the government of the kingdom, and be invited to examine critically the evidence for the reputation of the Elizabethan Court as the centre of patronage in the 'English Renaissance' of literature and drama. There will be regular opportunities to discuss research in progress on these subjects.


Contact hours

a 3 hour weekly seminar

Method of assessment

The module will be assessed by coursework and exam on a 40% coursework and 60% exam ratio.

The coursework component will be assessed as follows:

1. 3x3000 word essays, each worth 20% of the coursework mark (8% of the total mark).
2. 1x3000 gobbet exercise, worth 20% of the coursework mark (8% of the total mark).
3. A 15 minute presentation, worth 20% of the coursework mark (8% of the total mark).


The module will also be tested in 2 x two–hour exams – which will make up 60% (30% each) of the final mark for the module. In addition to the requirement to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the secondary literature, one exam will require students to engage critically with primary sources.

Indicative reading

D. Starkey, Elizabeth: Apprenticeship (Vintage, 2000)
W. MacCaffrey, Elizabeth I (Arnold, 1993)
M.H. Cole, The Portable Queen: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Ceremony (UMP, 1999)
S. Doran & T. Freeman eds., The Myth of Elizabeth (Palgrave, 2003)
P. Croft ed., Patronage, Culture and Power: the early Cecils 1558-1612 (Yale, 2002)
A. Gajda, The Earl of Essex and Late Elizabethan Political Culture (Oxford, 2012)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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