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Unit information: Everyday Life in Tudor and Stuart England in 2018/19

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Unit name Everyday Life in Tudor and Stuart England
Unit code HIST20100
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Hailwood
Open unit status Not open



HIST23008 Special Field Project

School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Historians now know that even before the Industrial Revolution and the advent of modernity, English society underwent a series of dramatic transformations – political, religious, economic, social, and cultural upheaval were characteristic of the Tudor and Stuart centuries.

But what impact did these changes have on the everyday lives of ordinary people? And how can we, as historians, go about trying to recover what day-to-day life was like for people who left few written historical accounts of their own? These are the two questions this unit will be concerned with.

We will explore a wide variety of primary sources – examples might include folk songs, records of accidental deaths, diaries, witness statements from court cases, and surviving physical artefacts – to investigate various aspects of everyday life in the period - family life, patterns of work and play, what and how people ate and drank, how they spent and managed their time, and even how their everyday sensory experiences of noise, smell and light differed from our own, and how all of these changed over time. Students will develop their own research project on whatever aspect of everyday life in the period interests them most.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of how historical change impacted on everyday life in Tudor and Stuart England
2. Demonstrate an awareness of the challenges involved in recovering everyday life in this period
3. Discuss and evaluate the key historiographical debates surrounding the study of everyday life
4. Understand and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
5. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level I

Teaching details

1 x two-hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

1 x 2 hour exam (100%) [ILOs 1-5]

Reading and References

Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost (1965)

Emily Cockayne, Hubbub: Filth, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770 (2007)

Amanda Flather, Gender and Space in Early Modern England (2007)

Keith Wrightson (ed), A Social History of England, 1500-1750 (2017)

Catherine Richardson and Tara Hamling, A Day at Home in Early Modern England (2017)