Owain Glyndŵr and his movement
Run by School of History, Law and Social Sciences
20.000 Credits or 10.000 ECTS Credits
Organiser: Ms Nia Powell
Overall aims and purpose
When a list was drawn up in 1999 of heroes of the second millennium, Owain ap Gruffydd of Glyndyfrdwy, or Owain Glyndŵr, was among the foremost. He himself as a leader, and the movement which he led in revolt against the English crown in Wales from 1400 until c.1415, have without doubt captured the imagination of centuries. Glyndŵr himself became a mythical figure, a hero who never died and who still awaits an awakening call, acting as a symbol of Wales itself. The aim of this module is to provide an opportunity closely to examine this enigmatic man and his movement. What compelled Welsh people to proclaim him Prince of Wales and embark on a military revolt against Henry IV in 1400? Who were his supporters and what did they achieve during the first two decades of the fifteenth century? Was it all a conservative protest against the conditions of the time and a new political order that had been imposed following Edward I’s conquest of Wales in 1282, or a movement with a modern outlook and vision? How can differing interpretations of the revolt be reconciled? There will also be an opportunity to consider the results of the movement’s failure and ask why it is that Owain Glyndŵr himself retained his status as a hero in the eyes of the Welsh themselves.
The specific aims of this course are to:
Examine closely the circumstances which led to revolt in Wales between 1400 and 1421 as well as the historical context.
Present differing interpretations of the period to students to enable them to differentiate between them.
Enable students closely to examine the outcomes of the revolt, differentiating between short term outcomes and outcomes which had an impact over a longer period.
Introduce primary and secondary sources relating to the period to students, and instruct them how to deal critically with both sets of sources.
The following themes will be discussed during lectures and seminars:
What happened between 1400-1421? – The course of the Revolt.
Glyndŵr the man – the leader and the hero.
Reasons for the revolt –
i Colonial Wales after 1282
ii Wales and the disasters of the fourteenth century
iii Difficulties within the Church
iv Gentry and peasantry
Nationality and politics at the turn of the fifteenth century.
Propaganda and poets – the poet in Welsh society.
A Welsh State in the fifteenth century – an empty dream?
The movement’s plans for Wales and its people – Parliament, Education and Church.
Demise of the movement.
Post Glyndŵr Wales - the making of a myth.
A study of a collection of documents associated with the movement, and provided in a special booklet, will be an essential part of the module; the context of these texts will also be analysed during seminars.
Excellent students (A- and above) will show strong achievement across all the criteria combined with particularly impressive depths of knowledge and/or subtlety of analysis. In written work, they will support their arguments with a wealth of relevant detail/examples. They will also demonstrate an acute awareness of the relevant historiography and give an account of why the conclusions reached are important within a particular historical debate. They may show a particularly subtle approach to possible objections, nuancing their argument in the light of counter-examples, or producing an interesting synthesis of various contrasting positions. Overall, the standards of content, argument, and analysis expected will be consistently superior to top upper-second work. Standards of presentation will also be high.
Good students (B- to B+) will demonstrate a solid level of achievement and depth of knowledge in all the criteria in the C- to C+ range, and will in addition exhibit constructive engagement with different types of historical writing and historiographical interpretation. Ideas will be communicated effectively and written work will include a good range of sources/reading and demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues and of the existing interpretations expressed in a well-structured, relevant, and focused argument. Students at the top end of this band will engage with and critique the ideas that they come across, and synthesise the various interpretations they find to reach their own considered conclusions. Written work will be correctly presented with references and bibliography where appropriate.
Threshold students (D- and D) will have done only a minimum of reading, and their work will often be based partly on lecture notes and/or basic textbooks. They will demonstrate in their written assessments some knowledge of at least parts of the relevant field, and will make at least partially-successful attempts to frame an argument which engages with historical controversies, but they will fail to discuss some large and vital aspects of a topic; and/or deploy only some relevant material but partly fail to combine it into a coherent whole; and/or deploy some evidence to support individual points but often fail to do so and/or show difficulty weighing evidence (thereby relying on unsuitable or irrelevant evidence when making a point). Alternatively or additionally, the presentation of the work might also be poor, with bad grammar and/or punctuation, careless typos and spelling errors, and a lack of effective and correct referencing.
C- to C+
Students in this band (C- to C+) will demonstrate a satisfactory range of achievement or depth of knowledge of most parts of the module, and will make successful, if occasionally inconsistent, attempts to develop those skills appropriate to the study of History at undergraduate level. In the case of the written assessments, the answers will attempt to focus on the question, although might drift into narrative, and will show some evidence of solid reading and research. The argument might lose direction and might not be adequately clear at the bottom of this category. Written work will be presented reasonably well with only limited errors in grammar, punctuation, and referencing, and not to the extent that they obscure meaning.
The ability to present clear, well-organized and detailed arguments relating to aspects of Glyndŵr’s movement in one degree essay. The arguments in the essay should be based on specific evidence from primary and secondary sources with full references and bibliography, following the detailed guidelines and conforming to the format outlined in the School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology’s guidelines for degree essays.
The acquisition and development of a deeper understanding and thorough awareness of the complexity of the circumstances which gave rise to Glyndŵr’s movement and the outcomes of this multi-faceted movement, noticing especially the relationship between the Welsh themselves, and the relationship between Wales, England and Europe in general during the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries.
The ability to appreciate and analyse original sources relating to Glyndŵr’s period by analysing a specific original source or a group of sources, and presenting this in project form which conforms to the detailed guidelines provided in the School’s literature.
The ability to evaluate and consider a wide range of different historical interpretations relating to the movement, the reasons behind it and its outcomes (including contemporary and historiographical viewpoints).
The ability to display thorough knowledge of, and a detailed understanding of, Owain Glyndŵr and the political movement which he led at the beginning of the fifteenth century, appreciating the different background elements which gave rise to the movement, its outcomes and far-reaching impact on Wales.
Teaching and Learning Strategy
2 x 30 minute meetings
1 Feedback session for Coursework
1 Session to discuss Assessed Essay title
4 x 1 hour session
1 meeting to discuss selection of document for analysis project
3 further meetings - consultation on document analysis
10 x 1 hour Seminars (weekly)
The course is taught through a combination of directed reading, lectures, course essays and seminars but students are expected to work more independently to study some themes of their own choice in detail in order to present and discuss them in more depth in a seminar and in their assessments. A general bibliography is provided, as well as more specialist reading lists, and suggestions will be given regarding matters to be discussed when reading and preparing for seminars. Directected reading is included in this section.
10 x 1 hour lectures (weekly)
- Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
- Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
- Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
- Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
- Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
- Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
- Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
- Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
- Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
- Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
- Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
Subject specific skills
- problem solving to develop solutions to understand the past
- understanding the complexity of change over time; in specific contexts and chronologies
- being sensitive to the differences, or the "otherness" of the past, and the difficulty to using it as a guide to present or future action
- being sensitive to the role of perceptions of the past in contemporary cultures
- producing logical and structured arguments supported by relevant evidence
- planning, designing, executing and documenting a programme of research, working independently
- marshalling and critically appraising other people's arguments, including listening and questioning
- demonstrating a positive and can-do approach to practical problems
- demonstrating an innovative approach, creativity, collaboration and risk taking
- presenting effective oral presentations for different kinds of audiences, including academic and/or audiences with little knowledge of history
- preparing effective written communications for different readerships
- making effective and appropriate forms of visual presentation
- making effective and appropriate use of relevant information technology
- making critical and effective use of information retrieval skills using paper-based and electronic resources
- collaborating effectively in a team via experience of working in a group
- appreciating and being sensitive to different cultures and dealing with unfamiliar situations
- critical evaluation of one's own and others' opinions
Work for the course will develop a range skills which will be promoted through practice and feedback in seminars and coursework – and assessed as far as they are essential to attain the learning outcomes noted.
Amongst these skills will be the following:
The ability to analyse a substantial body of evidence, including original sources (especially as students read and choose material for seminars and written work).
The ability to think widely and originally (for example, when presenting arguments in written work).
The ability to present a logical argument and analysis (in seminars and written work).
The ability to solve problems (when answering historical questions in seminars and written work).
The ability to communicate clearly and effectively (orally in seminars; written in written work).
Debating and discussion skills (in seminars – especially when students will be called upon to question and challenge those presenting seminar papers).
The ability to work independently (fostering self-discipline and the ability to manage time effectively) on complex and extended tasks (e.g. when researching, planning and writing output).
Basic information technology skills (to find bibliographies and examine library catalogues, and if using a word processor for essays; also when searching for relevant material on the internet).
The ability to appreciate and analyse primary and secondary historical evidence (through lectures, in seminars and through the document analysis sessions. This will be fostered further in special sessions by presenting and discussing analytical techniques, and using these techniques will be part of the project).
Resource implications for students
None – perhaps some students will wish to buy a selection of items from the booklist, but this is not essential as the material is available through the college, either by using the library, through electronic means or through departmental provision. Some of the items are on the Blackboard network, and students can access that material through any of the University’s computer terminals and externally. A pack of relevant documents is provided for each student through Blackboard. It is recommended that students should print out the documents booklet in order to facilitate discussion, or download it onto a laptop/i-pad that can be brought to class.
Davies, R.R., The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr (1995)
Davies, R.R., Owain Glyn Dŵr, Trwy Ras Duw, Tywysog Cymru (2002)
Davies, R.R., The British Isles, 1100 1500 : comparisons, contrasts and connections (1988)
Griffiths, R.A., Conquerors and Conquered in Medieval Wales (1994)
Griffiths, R.A., King and Country : England and Wales in the Fifteenth Century (1991)
Roberts, Glyn, Aspects of Welsh History (1969)
Davies, R.R., The Age of Conquest (edn 2000)
Williams, G., Renewal and Reformation : Wales c.1415 1642 (1993)
Williams, G., Owen Glendower (new edn 2005)
Williams, G., Religion, language and nationality in Wales (1979)
Carr, A.D., Medieval Wales (1995)
Davies, R.R., `Colonial Wales', Past and Present (1974)
Davies, R.R., `Race relations in post conquest Wales: confrontation and compromise' Trans. Honourable Soc. of Cymmrodorion (1974)
Williams, G.A., Drych Pellennig: Pum wyneb Owain Glyn Dŵr / A Distant Mirror: Five faces of Owain Glyn Dŵr (1985)
Livingston, M. and J.K. Bollard, Owain Glyndŵr: A casebook (2013)
Courses including this module
Optional in courses:
- VV41: BA Herit, Archae & Hist year 3 (BA/HAH)
- VV42: BA Heritage, Archaeology & History with International Exp year 4 (BA/HAHIE)
- V1W6: BA History with Film Studies year 3 (BA/HFS)
- V1W7: BA History with Film Studies with International Experience year 4 (BA/HFSIE)
- V1P5: BA History with Journalism year 3 (BA/HJ)
- 8S11: BA History with Journalism (with International Experience) year 3 (BA/HJIE)
- VV12: BA Welsh History/History year 3 (BA/WHH)