Monarchy and Aristocracy in England 1460-1640 - HIST3460

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Kenneth Fincham checkmark-circle


This module considers the relationship between the English crown and aristocracy from the mid-fifteenth- to the mid-seventeenth centuries. During this turbulent period, England experienced considerable unrest as a result of the often vexed nature of monarcho-aristocratic relations – the Wars of the Roses, the mid-Tudor rebellions and civil war in the 1640s being the most obvious instances of tension and conflict – but there were also decades of relative calm and stability. The module will, therefore, consider not only the clashes between 'over mighty subjects' and 'under mighty kings', but will also explore art, culture, architecture and religion, as symbols of both royal and noble power, authority and influence.


Contact hours

Contact Hours = 20
Private Study Hours = 130
Total Study Hours = 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 (1,500 words) (20% of overall contribution)
Essay 2 (1,500 words) (20% of overall contribution)
Oral Contribution (10% of overall contribution)
Examination (2 hours) (50%)

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Adamson, J. (2000). The Princely Courts of Europe. Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Carpenter, C. (2002). The Wars of the Roses. CUP.
Cust, R. (2013). Charles I and the Aristocracy. OUP.
Grummitt, D. I. (2015). Henry VI. Routledge.
Gunn, S. (2016). Henry VII's New Men and the making of Tudor England. OUP.
Mertes, K. (1988). The English Noble Household, 1200-1600. Oxford: Blackwell
Ross, C. (1979). Patronage, Pedigree and Power in Later Medieval England. Sutton
Rosenthal, J. T. (1976). Nobles and Noble Life, 1295-1500. Allen & Unwin
Stone, L. (1965). The Crisis of the Aristocracy 1558-1642.
Watts, J. L. (1998). The End of the Middle Ages? Sutton Publishing Ltd.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the growing power of the monarchy and the adjustments in authority and leadership (locally and nationally) made by the aristocracy.
2 Demonstrate a critical knowledge of some of the historiographical debates surrounding the subject and be well positioned to judge between competing interpretations of this era.
3 Formulate their own opinions on a variety of historiographical approaches, develop their communication skills and present a clear historical argument supported with relevant evidence.
4 Critically engage with a range of secondary source materials including articles and monographs and practice selecting and deploying historical information.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Express complex ideas and arguments effectively using a variety of methods, which can be transferred to other areas of study and employment.
2 Demonstrate communication skills, presentational skills and information technology skills.
3 Work both independently – for example in preparing for seminars and research and information-gathering for essays – and within groups.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage 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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