Chwech Oes Harri?r VIII
Chwech Oes Harri’r VIII 2023-24
School Of History, Law And Social Sciences
Module - Semester 2
Henry VIII is arguably the most famous – or infamous – of all English kings and queens. He has been the focus of multiple academic biographies and his reign (1509-47) is one of the most intensely studied periods in English history. Additionally, he continues to occupy a prominent position in popular culture; his portrait image by Holbein is instantly recognisable, and he is regularly portrayed through film and literature.
Perhaps best known for his treatment of his six wives (‘divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived’), this module takes a closer look at the ‘lives’ of Henry VIII: his kingship, identity, character, religious policy and the governance of his realm. This includes momentous events in English and Welsh history: The Field of the Cloth of Gold, the Break from Rome, Dissolution of the Monasteries, Pilgrimage of Grace and Act of Union, for example. We will also consider the broader European context framing Henry VIII’s reign, including the Protestant Reformation, the influence of Renaissance humanism and Henry VIII’s relationship with his European rivals, especially Francis I and Charles V. Thus, through the lens of Henry VIII we will be exploring some of the major themes in sixteenth-century history, a period which for many historians signifies the transition from the medieval to the early modern world: the ‘Birth of Modern Europe’.
Alongside the historical focuses of the module, there will be a significant emphasis on study skills, especially referencing, research tips, argument development and essay planning. Many of these elements are reflected in the assessments.
Week 1 - Introduction to Henry VIII and the module
Week 2 - Study skills 1: sources, historiography and referencing
Week 3 - Henry VII: securing the Tudor succession
Week 4 - Kingship and the nature of the state in early modern Europe
Week 5 - The Renaissance
Week 6 - Reading Week
Week 7 - Study skills 2: Essay planning and argument development (Seminar exercise: Charles V on Trial)
Week 8 - Luther’s ideas and the European Reformation
Week 9 - Henry VIII’s Break from Rome
Week 10 - Masculine monarchy and the lives of the six queens: gender identities in early modern Europe
Week 11 - ‘Centre’ and ‘peripheries’ in the Tudor realm: governance, identities and localities
Week 12 - Legacies, summary and end of module quiz
- Awareness of different historical interpretations and the ability to judge between them
- Knowledge of the contexts for Henry VIII's rule in England and Wales
- Mastery of study skills - particularly the ability to construct and present a bibliography, the ability identify and assess the value of websites as sources for historical research and knowledge, and essay planning.
- The ability to form historical arguments and to back them up with evidence
Bibliography and website analysis
3,000 word essay on one of the questions provided in the module handbook