Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The English Reformation, 1558-1648: Consolidation and Conflict
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Display a detailed understanding of the English Reformation in the Elizabethan and early Stuart periods.
2. Comprehend and assess the different ways in which historians have approached the study of the Reformation, and reflect upon some of the complexities inherent in the historian’s task.
3. Engage critically with a range of primary source material from this period in order to study the religious lives of sixteenth and early seventeenth century Protestants.
4. Express understanding of the key features and debates concerning the English Reformation.


This module is intended to provide a detailed examination of the English Reformation in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Approaching the Reformation as a long process, rather than a specific event, this Special Subject uses a rich variety of primacy sources to discuss and analyse religious changes and the foundational importance of religious questions to early modern England. This module will develop ideas discussed in the semester one module and focus in particular on the Elizabethan Reformation and the period up to the outbreak of the civil war in 1642.

Brief description

This Special Subject will explore the religious developments in the reigns of Elizabeth I and the early Stuart kings, up to the outbreak of the civil war. It will examine the ways in which England became a ‘Protestant country’, paying due attention to the instability and division created by that process. As well as assessing the nature and significance of the religious changes of Elizabeth’s reign, it will look at the polarization of the early Stuart decades, and examine whether the civil war was in actual fact a predominantly religious conflict. In doing so, students will be introduced to a wide range of primary sources – administrative records, literary texts, sermons, private correspondence and biographies – and acquire familiarity with the rich historiography of this period and theme.


1. The Elizabethan settlement
2. Enforcing the Elizabethan settlement
3. The emergence of Puritanism
4. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church: John
Foxe and Protestant propaganda
5. English Catholics: Majority to Minority
6. Protestantizing the People
7. Securing the Reformation: Wales & Scotland
8. A Protestant nation or a nation of Protestants?
9. Regime change: the accession of James I & Charles I’s
10. England and the Thirty Years War (1618-48)

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
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 English Reformation of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
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