Module Identifier HY33820  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Sharon Howard  
Semester Semester 2  
Mutually Exclusive HY33120 , HY33220 , HY33920 , HY34320 , HY34420 , HY34520  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   20 Hours 10 x 2 hour seminars  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment One source analysis 1500 words - learning outcome 3  20%
Semester Assessment One project 5000 words - learning outcomes 1 - 4 Students who fail to submit any of the written work will not be permitted to resit this module60%
Semester Assessment One essay 1500 words - learning outcomes 1, 2 & 420%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1) demonstrate familiarity with a body of historical knowledge relating to crime and the use of the law in early modern Britain
2) demonstrate an understanding of a range of approaches to the study of crime and the law, including the application of perspectives from other disciplines
3) read, analyse and reflect critically on primary texts, both archival and printed
4) construct and sustain historical arguments orally (not assessed), and in writing (assessed), and to do so with reference to specific primary sources
5) work both independently and collaboratively and to participate in group discussion (not assessed)

Brief description

This module will develop students' critical awareness of historical sources and methods of research through examination of a range of sources relating to crime and the use of the law in early modern Britain and the varied ways in which historians have used them. It will introduce key sources including legal records and official correspondence, pamphlets and polemics, criminal 'biographies' and trial reports. It will examine historiographical debates on social relations and tensions, particularly gender, religion and 'class' conflict, as well as the importance of techniques and theories derived from other disciplines in the development of the historiography since the 1970s.


This module provides an introduction to the use and interpretation of records relating to crime and the law in the study of the past, particularly in pre-modern societies where historians rarely have direct access to beliefs and experiences beyond literate elites.
This is a Skills module, the aim of which is to provide second year students with an opportunity to hone skills and approaches applicable to further study in history, irrespective of chronological or geographical focus.


1. Introduction: Crime in Early Modern Society
2. Prosecutions and punishments
3. To catch a thief
4. Crimes of blood
5. Riot and popular politics
6. Disputes and litigation
7. Morals and manners
8. Respectable fears and myths
9. Whose justice? Class, control and ideology
10. Witchcraft: a special case?

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
J Kermode and G Walker (eds) (1994) Women, crime and the courts in early modern England
P Hair (ed) (1972) Before the bawdy court
P Rawlings (ed) (1992) Whores and idle apprentices: criminal biographies of the eighteenth century
D Hay et al (1975) Albion's fatal tree: crime and society in eighteenth-century England
J A Sharpe (1999) Crime in early modern England 1550-1750 2nd edition.

Web Page/Sites


This module is at CQFW Level 6