Module Catalogue 2020/21

HIS2003 : Religion & Politics in Tudor England, c. 1470-1558 (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Adam Morton
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module explores the social, cultural and political context of religion in England between the late-fifteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries. It introduces students to a range of important themes in the field of late medieval and early modern English religion, not so much from a theological, as from a social and cultural perspective. Its main focus is the impact of the early Reformation (under Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I) on religious belief and practice in England, though it approaches this from the long view of the later fifteenth century. The module commences with a detailed examination of strengths and weaknesses in late medieval Catholicism, focusing both on institutions (clergy, monasteries) and on structures of belief (saints, sacraments, purgatory). The significance of unorthodox religion, Lollardy and early Protestantism, is explored and related to the reform policies of the Tudor monarchy. Equal attention is devoted to those who opposed and to those supported the religious changes of the sixteenth century, and throughout there is a particular focus on parishes, and parish churches, as centres of religious culture and social organisation.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will be delivered via 2 lectures and 1 seminar (1 hour) each week for 12 weeks:

Lecture List:

1)       Introduction: why do the Tudor Reformations matter?
2)       The late medieval Church: vital or vulnerable?
3)       Religion as a verb: piety in the parish.
4)       Between sacred & profane: purgatory and the supernatural.
5)       Anti-clericalism & Renewal.
6)       Persecuting heresy: the Lollards & the Reformation.
7)       Protestants? Early evangelicals in England c. 1520-1532.
8)       Henry VIII: The King’s Great Matter & the Royal Supremacy.
9)       Enforcing the Royal Supremacy.
10)       Tudor propaganda: magnificence or myth?
11)       Understanding Henry VIII’s Church.
12)       A model David or a very naughty boy? The Dissolution of the Monasteries.
13)       It’s grim oop north: The Pilgrimage of Grace.
14)       The Tudor State: reform or revolution?
15)       Edwardian Protestantism I: an unacknowledged revolution?
16)       Edwardian Protestantism II: Cranmer & the evangelicals.
17)       An ‘English’ Reformation? The shadow of Europe.
18)       Rebellion, resistance & popular politics: violence in practice.
19)       Justifying Resistance: violence in theory.
20)       The Marian Church: Prosecution or Persecution?
21)       The Marian Restoration: the Counter Reformation as an English event?
22)       Making martyrs – John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments.
23)       What did Elizabeth I inherit?
24)       ‘English Reformation’ or ‘English Reformations’?
1)       Studying belief
2)       The Medieval Church – vital or vulnerable?
3)       Beliefs & the Dead
4)       Anti-clericalism and the Religious Orders
5)       Lollards & the early Evangelicals
6)       Henry VIII’s Royal Supremacy
7)       The Reformation on the Ground
8)       The Dissolution of the Monasteries
9)       Essay surgery
10)       Edwardian Protestantism
11)       Debate: explaining rebellion.
12)       Mary I: fire or faith?

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

a) a broad knowledge of the major political and religious changes which occurred in England in the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I.

b) a broad knowledge and understanding of why religion mattered in the period
and of what it meant to its practitioners

c) a greater awareness of the connections between religious history, and other
branches of historical study, particularly social, cultural and political.

d) a sense of how England’s history in the sixteenth century related to that of Europe.

Intended Skill Outcomes

- the further development of study, writing and communication skills
- the development of critical analytical skills through the assessment of historiographical
approaches which are frequently at variance with each other
- enhanced independent learning skills
- enhanced debating skills

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge that students are expected to acquire and they stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.

Lectures will provide the broad outline for each topic on the module, describe the historiography, and raise questions and problems which students are then to pursue further in their independent research. The fruits of that independent study will then be reaped in the seminars, where students will share and debate the findings of their research. Seminars will also contain formal presentation, with each student developing oral presentation and argumentation skills over the course of the module.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A75N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M252,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The balance of assessment provides students to demonstrate their abilities across the range of skills that this module has helped them to develop. The assessed essay examines written argument, histroriographical engagement, independent thinking and independent research. The written examination assess critical evaluation of secondary source material, student’s understanding of the course content, and skills of written argument

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress.

The exam tests acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly and concisely.

The form of the resit is no different from the above, i.e. no marks are carried over from the sit to the resit. Students are not allowed to submit for the resit any work that they have previously submitted.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.