Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Cathedrals in Medieval England and Wales Part 1
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay 1  2000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Essay 2  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit Essay 1  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resit Essay 2  2000 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Understand and discuss the technical and aesthetic aspects of medieval cathedrals

Demonstrate an ability to engage meaningfully with material culture and non-documentary sources

Demonstrate an understanding of a range of approaches to studying the middle ages

Brief description

This module studies the cathedrals of medieval England and Wales, focusing on the mid-twelfth to later fourteenth centuries (the ‘age of the cathedrals’) but taking a broad chronological approach. Students will be encouraged to consider the buildings themselves – how, where and when they were constructed – within the wider context of the culture that created them. Faith was an obvious driving-force behind the building of cathedrals, but power, wealth, prestige, technological and artistic developments, a desire to instruct, and to further secular authority or promote local economies all contributed to their construction and embellishment.


Cathedrals are perhaps the most familiar surviving buildings from the medieval period, but can be challenging to understand and interpret. This module will consider in detail the reasons why they were established in particular locations, how they were built and embellished, and who constructed them and financed this. The module will introduce students to a range of documentary sources, as well as equipping them with the skills to 'read' a building.


1. How to 'read' a cathedral
2. The origin of cathedrals, general and specific
3. Why were cathedrals built where they were and why did some move
4. From Romanesque to Gothic
5. Field-trip to Hereford Cathedral
6. Why they didn’t fall down (and sometimes did): designing and building cathedrals
7. Housing the holy (and not-so-holy): shrines, tombs and chapels
8. Books for the unlearned I: sculpture and glass
9. Books for the unlearned II: wall-paintings, floors and furnishings
10. Changing spaces. The challenge of post-medieval destruction and restoration

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop an in-depth understanding of the political context of the reign of Edward II.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 6