HST255: Social Crisis and Political Change in England, 1550-1640

20 credits (semester 2)

Module Leader 2016-17: Dr Eliza Hartrich


Pass in at least two of the Level One modules offered by the Department of History.

Module Summary

The module aims to introduce students to the history of a period crucial to the development of the modern English state and economy. Students will develop arguments regarding the relationship between state formation and social change based on a thorough understanding of the historiography of this complex period of English history. They will also gain some knowledge of contemporary source material.


The module will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars.

Selected Reading
  • C. G. A. Clay, Economic Expansion and Social Change: England, 1500-1700, Vol.1: People, Land and Towns (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)
  • C. G. A. Clay, Economic Expansion and Social Change: England, 1500-1700, Vol.2: Industry, Trade and Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)
  • S. Hindle, The State and Social Change: Early Modern England c.1550-1640 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000)
  • J. A. Sharpe, Early Modern England: A Social History, 1550-1760, 2nd edn. (London: Arnold, 1997)
  • P. Slack, From Reformation to Improvement: Public Welfare in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • K. Wrightson, English Society, 1580-1680 (London: Hutchinson, 1982)

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students completing this module will have developed:

  • A broad understanding of the relationship between the development of the state and economic and social change in a crucial period of English history.
  • Their skills in handling primary source material.
  • Their ability to debate and discuss primary and secondary material in a group setting.
  • Their ability to synthesise different interpretations and argue effectively from the evidence.
  • Their ability to explore a selected topic in detail, form independent judgments and present these in essay form.