HIS-30086 - The English Civil War, c.1640-46
Coordinator: Ian Atherton Room: CBB0.046 Tel: +44 1782 7 33205
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 733147

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

The English civil war was one of the most dramatic events in English history, retaining its hold today over both popular and scholarly imaginations. Many issues of the period - such as the nature of the relationship between England, Scotland, and Ireland, the character of the political process, or what to do about the monarchy - find echoes today. This special subject will seek to explore the character and events of the first civil war in England from the collapse of the king's authority in 1640 to the end of the first civil war in 1646. Topics to be covered will include the causes of the war; the development of Royalist and Parliamentarian parties; the military course of the first civil war; the impact of the war on society; the diversity of religious beliefs; and the political fragmentation of the Parliamentarian cause.
This module is linked to the module HIS-30087, The World Turned Upside Down: the English Revolution, c.1646-53, which follows this. It may also be linked to the dissertation in History: there is a wealth of source material for a dissertation on the political, social, cultural, military or local history of mid seventeenth-century England available at Keele, including access to every book published in Britain in the period through Early English Books Online.
Students interested in some introductory reading should start with one of the many histories of the civil wars. Probably the most useful (and worth buying) is Michael Braddick, God's Fury, England's Fire: A New History of the English Civil Wars (2008), but also useful for the module are Ian Gentles, The English Revolution and the Wars in the Three Kingdoms 1638-1652 (2007), which is particularly good on the military side, or Diane Purkiss, The English Civil War: A People's History (2006) for the social history of England in the 1640s.

To introduce students to the political, social, religious, cultural and military history of the first English civil war, c.1640-6, and to enable students to analyse some of the sources used and debates produced by historians in explaining the war, its causes and some of its effects.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

evaluate and discuss varying historiographical approaches to the English civil war: 1,2
discuss political, religious, social, and military change in England in the period c.1640-46: 1,2
reflect critically on the divisions between and within Royalism and Parliamentarianism: 1,2
evaluate and critically assess a range of primary sources and use them appropriately in the development of historical analysis: 2

Study hours

150 hours: 24 hours of seminars; 12 hours of workshops; 50 hours of seminar and workshop preparation; 34 hours researching and writing the historiographical review; 30 hours revising for and completing the exam

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Book Review weighted 50%
Historiographical review
A historiographical review of either an important single work of history, a group of similar works, or a debate. Length: 2000 words

2: Open Book Examination weighted 50%
Online Timed Assessment
A timed online assessment where students will have 28 hours in which to comment on and contextualise c.2 documentary extracts drawn from a list of c. 10. It is expected that the work will take c. 3hours to complete.