Conquests, Cultures and Identities: England AD 850-1100 - HIST6107

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 6 60 (30) Robert Gallagher checkmark-circle


The ninth to eleventh centuries are frequently described as the 'making of England' – the time when England became a political entity for the first time and when ‘English’ identity begins to emerge clearly in the historic record – only for it all to come crashing down, so some claim, in 1066 with the Norman Conquest. As such, these years and their kings are today invoked in powerful yet often highly problematic discourses of national ‘origins’. While it is certainly the case that the polity of ‘England’ first existed in this period, the historic reality is far more complex and fascinating than such modern representations. For example, the Norman Conquest was not the first conquest of England in the eleventh century. This special subject therefore explores the rich political, cultural and social histories of England from the ninth to eleventh centuries, starting with the first wave of Viking invasions and the rise of the kingdom of Wessex in the ninth century, and ending with the Anglo-Norman historians of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, who reflected on their own identities and the transformations and traumas of the preceding decades. How productive is it to understand the developments of this period in terms of ‘English’ identity? How great an impact did conquest and political violence have on day-to-day life? And how can we account for the international and multilingual cultures that were fostered in Britain at this time? It is these questions that we will address over the course of the module.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 60
Private study hours: 540
Total study hours: 600

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

Essay 1 (3,000 words) 10%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) 10%
Public engagement exercise (1,000 words) 10%
Presentation 1 5%
Presentation 2 5%
Two 2-hour exams each worth 30%

Reassessment methods:
Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Crick, J. and van Houts, E., eds. (2011), A Social History of England, 900–1200. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Davies, W., ed. (2003), From the Vikings to the Normans. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Golding, B. (2013), Conquest and Colonisation: the Normans in Britain, 1066–1100, 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Molyneaux, G. (2015), The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tyler, E.M. (2017), England in Europe: English Royal Women and Literary Patronage, c.1000 –c.1150. Toronto: Toronto University Press.
Stafford, P. (1989), Unification and Conquest: A Political and Social History of England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries. London: Hodder Arnold.

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 a comprehensive knowledge of the political, cultural and social developments in England from 850 to 1100
2 Appreciate the utility and importance of assessing the specific historical developments in Britain in the ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries in their broader chronological and geographic contexts
3 Confidently evaluate, with a variety of methodological techniques, a diverse range of primary sources pertaining to the module topic
4 Demonstrate a critical understanding of the historiographical paradigms and debates that surround the history of England in the later Anglo-Saxon and early Norman periods, particularly in relation to ideas of 'identity' and 'the nation'

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

1 Construct in-depth, analytical arguments based on evaluation of scholarly reviews and primary sources, and then communicate effectively to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods.
2 Manage their own learning with both initiative and personal responsibility by identifying the most relevant research materials and carrying out substantial independent research
3 Identify a range of solutions involving different types of evidence and abstract concepts in order to make decisions about complex problems in a variety of contexts
4 Analyse and assimilate large quantities of data at a high level, enabling them to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature
5 Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of communicating historical research and understanding to non-specialist audiences and the wider public


  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.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.