Summer Schools


Plantagenet to Tudor - Late Medieval England


From Plantagenet to Tudor: Kingship, Society and Political Culture in Late

Medieval England (c. 1327-1485)

Canterbury is internationally famous for its Cathedral, the site of St Thomas Becket’s shrine, for owning a 1215 copy of the Magna Carta, and for inspiring Geoffrey Chaucer’s masterpiece: The Canterbury Tales. But Canterbury and Kent played a vital role throughout the medieval history of England. Kent’s location between London and the Channel ports – and this the passage to France - meant that its roads and towns were traversed by merchants, ambassadors and pilgrims, and soldiers engaged in such conflicts as the Hundred Years War and the Wars of the Roses. This meant that Canterbury and other Kentish towns and cities were hives of commercial activity, and melting pots of ideas and people.

The years 1455 to 1485 were, arguably, one of the most tumultuous and chaotic periods of civil strife in English history. It was a period characterised by civil war and betrayal; brothers, cousins, fathers and sons faced each other across the battlefields. Beginning with the reign of Edward III and focusing on primary sources, this module aims to provide a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the background and origins of the Wars of the Roses, the elite political players involved and the political involvement the commonalty of the realm. Throughout this module students will encounter famous characters such as the chivalric Henry V and the devious Richard III. It will also go beyond these figures to explore the complex and tension-filled relationship between the centre and the localities. Key themes that will be covered include: kingship, governance, diplomatic relations, the development of popular politics and public discourse, rebellion, political theory and ideas of ‘common weal’. Students will encounter a wide variety of primary materials, ranging from popular poetry and chronicle accounts to acts of attainder, royal statutes and Parliamentary Rolls. The workshop format and field trips to local archives will allow students to get to grips with different types of primary sources and the skills needed for postgraduate study.

Dates: Sunday 17 June - Sunday 01 July 2018

Providing School: School of Politics and International Relations

Campus: Canterbury

Credit Transfer Option:  Equivalent to 10 Credits (ECTS 5) for transfer purposes.

Price: £1500 (Earlybird) for two weeks. Includes tuition, accommodation, teaching materials, welcome meal, organised trips and full library access

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Gargoyle picture © Copyright J.Hannan-Briggs and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The course will comprise guided visits to sites across Kent, workshops, seminars and lectures, and students will investigate medieval documents, artefacts, standing buildings and landscape features.

Planned Field Trips:

  • Canterbury Cathedral
  • Canterbury Cathedral archives and library.
  • The National Archives (TNA)

The Late Medieval England Summer School is part of the University of Kent Summer School programme. It will allow you to make lasting connections with students from around the world, studying a range of subjects but sharing your own enthusiasm. International study will enable you to gain a deeper understanding of another culture, make lifelong friends from a wide variety of backgrounds and benefit from globally-renowned academic excellence.

For additional reasons to join us, visit our Canterbury Summer Schools overview.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this International Summer School course, you will have:

Intended specific learning outcomes

  • Be able to discuss the role of the Church in medieval Kentish society
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of Canterbury, regionally and nationally, during the Middle Ages
  • Show an appreciation of the interdependency of urban and rural society in Medieval Kent and England more broadly
  • The chance to explore World Heritage Sites and iconic locations such as Dover Castle
  • The opportunity to handle documents and artefacts, some of which are over a 1000-years old.
  • Gained an introduction to some of the aptitudes, expectations and requirements of more independent and higher level study achieved through a range of seminars, lectures, practice-based activities and one to one tutorials
  • Experienced individual and group-based learning environments consonant with the expectations and requirements of higher level study
  • Increased your intercultural awareness through studying in an international environment with students from other backgrounds and nationalities


Learning and teaching methods

Teaching formats will include lectures, seminars, workshops and site visits

Total number of study hours will comprise 100 hours which will include elements of independent and private study.

  • 50 hours contact time during the summer school
  • 20 hours self-study before the summer school
  • 30 study hours during the summer school

    Total: 100 hours


  • A written assessment with a total of 1,500 words
  • A group presentation

Indicative Timetable

Week 1








Class-time – Introduction [outline chronology]

Class time – Anglo-Saxon Kent

Class time – the Church, saints and pilgrimage

Class time – Lords and peasants

Class time – Castles and town defences


Site visit – tour of Canterbury city

Class time – “1066 and all that”

Site visit – Canterbury Cathedral + archives

Class time – Towns and townspeople

Site visit – Dover and castle


 Week 2







Class-time – the Black Death & its impact

Class time - Kent and the Hundred Years War

Class time – Resistance and Rebellion in later medieval Kent

Site visit – Sandwich: town, churches, hospital, defences

Class time - Conclusion


Class time – Town and Country: Production and Consumption

Private study

Site visit – Rochester cathedral and castle

Class time – Early Tudor Kent

Private study

Trip to Whitstable

Site visit – Sandwich: town, churches, hospital, defences

Class time – Student presentations

Farewell ceremony

To gain entry on to the Canterbury Summer School you will need to be either:

  • studying at a university outside the UK or at a UK university and considering options for further study in the UK
  • a professional exploring options for postgraduate study in the UK. 

You will also need to:

  • be able to demonstrate a keen interest in History or have previous knowledge from your studies/work experience and looking to expand your knowledge in this area. Previous related study is desirable but not essential.
  • have at least IELTS 6.0 or equivalent with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill. If you have an alternative test/proof of your English language ability then you can mention this is your application and upload this instead. Students must feel confident reading, writing and liaising in English to attend this course.

Fees and Scholarship

A reminder that you can apply for one course from each block, and also combine with our Paris and Brussels Summer Schools in most cases, as set out here.

The Scholarship application deadline is 5pm on Fri 30 March 2018. You can still apply after this date for a paying place.


Pay by Monday 16 April 2018 and receive an Early Bird discount of £100 per course.

  Earlybird Price
Standard Price
Without Accomodation £1,250 £1,350
With Accomodation included £1,500 £1,600


Fees Include full tuition for the summer school, accommodation, teaching materials, a welcome meal, full access to the University library facilities and social trips each Wednesday and at the weekend into London.

The final deadline for payment to secure your place on this course is Fri 28 May 2018

Scholarship Opportunities

We have 20 x £500 Internationalisation Scholarships available for the Canterbury Summer Schools available to students not currently studying at the University of Kent. If you wish to apply for a scholarship you will need to select 'School scholarship' at application and apply by Fri 30 Mar 2018. We will use your Reasons to study as part of the application form as the scholarship application. If you are a current student at another institution you may also wish to enquire about any mobility scholarships within your home institution or Government.


You must email to notify us of your withdrawal from a course as soon as you know that you will not be attending the course and before travelling to the UK. We will charge a £250 administration fee, unless there are exceptional extenuating circumstances for the withdrawal.

Accommodation details

The accommodation for this summer school is based in Park Wood flats and is offered on a self-catered basis. Students will be placed in their own double rooms equipped with en suite facilities. Check-in is after 14h00 on the first Sunday and check-out is before 10h00 on the final Sunday. All students will be offered University accommodation (included in fee), although if you wish to make alternative arrangements you can pay tuition fees only, saving £250 per two-week course.

Additional details about our accommodation is available on our Accommodation webpage.

Course information:

Please note that in order for the course to run a minimum of 6 registered students is required. Please do not make arrangements for travel until you have received your welcome and induction pack.

Getting here

You will find useful directions to the Canterbury Campus on our Directions page. Students who wish to arrange a taxi transfer from one of the London airports may wish to visit our Booking a Taxi in the UK page



For enquiries please use the form below

Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in publicity materials is fair and accurate at the time of going to press. However, the courses, services and other matter covered by web pages and prospectuses are subject to change from time to time and changes may need to be made following publication and/or after candidates have been admitted to the University. Please see our institution wide Terms and Conditions / Disclaimer page for further information. Please note that modules shown are based on the current curriculum, but are subject to change.

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Last Updated: 01/11/2017