Blood, Position and Power: The Nobility of Later Medieval England, 1066-1485

Module code: HS2302

Simon de Montfort, Piers Gaveston, Thomas of Lancaster, The Black Prince, John of Gaunt and Warwick the Kingmaker: six individuals who are always ‘name-checked’ whenever surveys of later medieval England are written. But who were they, and why do these, and other such nobles (both male and female), matter?

This module begins by examining the national and regional political scene, and then moves onto the various aspects of aristocratic life in the Later Middle Ages. This includes family (including household and estates), education, war, chivalry, religion and, last but far from least, women. You’ll be sifting through primary documents such as chronicles, household and manorial documents, contemporary literature, political tracts and government records.

Using these sources you’ll explore the changing dynamics in position and power, the development of these changing power structures, and the individuals who navigated them.

Learning

  • 10 hours of lectures
  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 5 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 115 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Essay, 2,500 words (50%)
  • Exam, 2 hours (50%)