Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Tudors: a European Dynasty?
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 5 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   (1 x 1.5 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word supplementary (resit) essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   1 x 1.5 hour supplementary (resit) examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1 Demonstrate an understanding of the ongoing debates in the study of early modern Europe.
2. Demonstrate an ability to reflect upon and critically analyze secondary and primary sources relating to the Tudor period.
3. Demonstrate an ability to deploy historical evidence in the construction of historical arguments.


This module will introduce students to the Tudor period in a broad context by examining the influences of European movements such as the Renaissance and the Reformation. It will provide a foundation for further study of the period in the second and third years and will be of particular interest to students on the Medieval and Early Modern (V190) degree scheme, as well as to history students more generally.

Brief description

The politics, religion, culture and society of the Tudor period were often influenced by relations with Europe and this module seeks to trace those influences. It explores how the European Renaissance was received in the Tudor court, including visits by Erasmus and the influence of artists such as Holbein. Much of the drama of Henry VIII’s ‘Great Matter’ played out on the European stage and the making and breaking of the Spanish alliance will be a key theme, as will be the tensions with the key states of Catholic Europe. Attention will also be paid to the Tudor women rulers and regents and how they were perceived in an age when a number of women held great power and influence across Europe, in spite of a lack of opportunity for women in general in government and society.


1. Introduction to the period and context
2. London: an European capital?
3. Burgundy, York and Henry VII
4. The Tudors, trade and discovery
5. Erasmus, Thomas More and the Renaissance
6. Henry VII, Henry VIII and the Spanish Marriage
7. Henry VIII, France and the Field of the Cloth of Gold
8. Hans Holbein and the court of Henry VIII
9. Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn: Spain v France?
10. The Church of England and the European Reformation
11. Print, culture and the Bible
12. Mary, Spain and Calais
13. Elizabeth, Rome and Europe
14. Tudor law and the European witch hunt
15. Elizabeth, Mary Stuart and Scotland
16. Elizabeth and the Netherlands
17. Elizabeth versus Spain
18. Conclusion: an European dynasty?

1. European Renaissance and the Tudor court
2. European Protestantism and Henry VIII
3. The Spanish alliances
4. Queens and Regents: when women ruled?
5. Elizabeth, France and Spain.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Seminar discussions and essay-writing will enable students to develop oral and written skills. Only essay writing and examination will be assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through essay-report feedback sessions and discussion of ideas presented during seminars.
Information Technology Through the retrieval of course materials from online resources and AberLearn Blackboard and through the writing, formatting and printing of essays.
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 Through acquiring the ability to identity and combine appropriate evidence to back up arguments in written work.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop a familiarity with sources relating to the Tudor period and with current historical debates in this area.
Team work Through seminar activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 4