University of Surrey - Guildford

Registry > Module Catalogue
View Module List by A.O.U. and Level  Alphabetical Module Code List  Alphabetical Module Title List  Alphabetical Old Short Name List  View Menu 
2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: HIS2004 Module Title: THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR AND INTERREGNUM 1640 - 1660
Module Provider: English Short Name: HF111X
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: LUNA I Ms (English)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark (%)
Essay or Report
Qualifying Condition(s)
Essay or Report (50% of total assessment)
1 written essay of 2000 – 2500 words
Examination (50% of total assessment)
A seen paper

The assessment will demonstrate that the students have achieved the required level of understanding of the processes of political, religious and social change and continuity during the period 1640 to 1660. Students will be required to give an oral presentation as part of their formative assessment in order to develop their confidence in delivering a paper in front of their peers and answering question on their chosen topic. The essay as part of the formal assessment will encourage students to develop their independent research skills as well as their ability to evaluate primary and secondary source material. They will also be encouraged to develop their skills in written presentation, organisation and communication of ideas. The seen examination is designed to further develop student’s academic discipline, mental organisation and powers of synthesis and analysis under pressure and will enable students to demonstrate personal initiative and self-motivation in their studies.
Module Overview
This module provides students with the opportunity to develop an informed critical understanding of this crucial period in British History.
For students on the pathway leading to the BA in Combined Studies (History, Literature and Art History) this module is designed to extend and deepen knowledge gained in the two level compulsory interdisciplinary modules Image Making in Tudor and Stuart England and Restoration England. However, students on all pathways will consolidate knowledge and skills generic to humanities disciplines and particularly in the field of political and cultural history.  
Because of the high level of historical controversy surrounding this subject this module will also encourage students to think more critically about historical interpretation and consolidate their powers of analysis and independent thinking appropriate to level two degree study. 
60 credits at Level 1, or equivalent.
Module Aims
  • To provide students with a critical understanding of the political, social and cultural impact of the Civil War and Interregnum.
  • To develop a critical awareness of the diverse historical interpretations of this subject.
  • To develop a deeper understanding of political and cultural change and continuity between 1640-1660.
  • To develop and consolidate skills which are generic to humanities and specifically History.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the student should be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
  • Demonstrate a critical knowledge and understanding of the political, social and cultural impact of the English Civil War and its aftermath.
  • Demonstrate an informed understanding of scholarly interpretations of the period 1640-1660.
  • Evaluate change and continuity during the period 1640-1660.
Cognitive / Intellectual / Skills
  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate primary and secondary sources.
  • Demonstrate powers of synthesis and analysis.
  • Identify key issues and adopt the appropriate methods for studying them.
Key / Transferable / Practical Skills
  • Ability to use a range of self selected material in the formal assignment.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work effectively in a group.
  • Demonstrate the ability to manage study time and working to a deadline
  • Develop skills in presentation and written and oral communication.
  • Demonstrate an ability to engage in independent learning.
In order to achieve the threshold standard for the award of credits for this module, the student must meet the following criteria related to the learning outcomes described above:
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify key issues relating to the political, social and cultural impact of the English Civil War and its aftermath.
  • Accurate knowledge of the period 1640-1660.
  • Evidence of appropriate selection and acknowledgement of source material in formal assessment.
Module Content
As this is arguably one of the most controversial period in English History the first session of this module will focus on a general survey of the period of the Civil War and Interregnum. When students will be introduced to the main historical debates and recent interpretations of the causes and nature of what has become known as the English Revolution.
Approximately four sessions will focus on the political and social context of the crisis within the three Kingdoms between 1638-42. The study of the Civil War itself will concentrate mainly on social, political and ideological issues rather than on the military aspects of the war, although some reference will be made to the formation of the New Model Army and the role of the Scots in the final triumph of the Parliamentarians. One session will be devoted to discussion on the regional and local impact of the war in order to provide students with a wider perspective of the effect of Civil War on the people and communities caught up in the fighting.
Search for a Settlement:
Considerable emphasis will be placed on the transitional period between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Interregnum 1646-9 when Crown and Parliament searched for common ground in an attempt to reach a settlement. Students will study the political, military and religiously diverse factions that shaped the post-war period and the breakdown of negotiations that led ultimately to the trial and execution of Charles 1. Some discussion will focus on the character and culpability of Charles 1 charged as ‘a traitor to his people’.
The period commonly known as the Interregnum between 1649-60 and the problems confronting the new Commonwealth will be covered over several sessions. The topics will include a profile and assessment of the controversial role of Oliver Cromwell as general and Lord Protector of England; the social context of life in Republican England
Broader thematic aspects of the period will also be discussed, such as the collapse of censorship and the role played by the popular press; the cultural impact on society as a whole of the acute socio-economic, religious and political upheaval caused by the Civil War and its aftermath. The module will also include a day workshop where students will have the opportunity to discuss the origins and assess the impact of religious and political radicalism during the 1640s and 1650s.
In the final taught session students will debate some of the reasons for the collapse of the Republic and evaluate the political and historical significance of the Civil War and Interregnum. Some discussion on the presentation of the subject in the media and on
Television will also provide students with the opportunity to reflect on the historical ‘myth’ that surrounds this controversial period of English History.
Methods of Teaching/Learning
12 x 2 hour sessions, plus a day school.

The Teaching and Learning Strategy is designed to ensure that students are able to display the knowledge and skills outlined in the learning outcomes for this module. Strategies adopted will encourage students to interact in classroom and group discussion and to reflect in their own learning. Close analysis of a variety of primary and secondary historical sources will develop critical understanding of key issues.
The Teaching and Learning Method will include a mixture of informal lecture, group work and self directed learning. A high level of student participation is expected. Handouts outlining key issues may also be used to encourage a more comprehensive understanding of the subject. Visual aids such as slides and video footage will also accompany some sessions where relevant.
Students will be expected to undertake individual formative oral presentations.
Selected Texts/Journals
Essential Texts
Coward, B. (1997) The Stuart Age, second edition, London, Longman
Crust, R. & Hughes, A. (1997) The English Civil War, London, Arnold
Hughes, A. (1998) The Causes of the English Civil War, London,Macmillan Press
Smith, D. (ed) (2003) Cromwell and the Interregnum, London, Blackwell
Recommended Reading
Hirst, D. (1999) England in Conflict 1603-1660, London Arnold
Richardson, R. C. (1998) The Debate on the English Revolution, Third Edition, Manchester, MUP
Smith, D. (2003) Cromwell and the Interregnum, London, Blackwell
Underdown, D. (1987) Revel, Riot and Rebellion, Popular Politics and Culture in England 1603-1660,OUP, Oxford
Other Indicative Reading
Bennett, M. (1999) The Civil War Experienced, Britain and Ireland 1638-1661, London, Routledge
Brailsford, H.N. (1983) The Levellers and the English Revolution, second edition, Spokesman, Nottingham
Coward, B. (1991) Oliver Cromwell, London, Longman
Gaunt, P. (1996) Oliver Cromwell, Blackwell, Oxford
Griffiths, A. (1998) The Print in Stuart Britain 1603-1689, London, British Museum Press
Hawkins, M. (ed) (1977) Unpublished State Papers on the English Civil War and Interregnum, London, Harvest Press
Hill, C. (2002) Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution – Revised, Oxford, OUP
Hill, C. (1972) The World Turned Upside Down, London, Pelican
Hill, C. (1991) Change and Continuity in 17th Century England, London, Yale University Press
Hill, C. (1980) The Century of Revolution, London, Routledge
Hill, C. (1970) God’s Englishman; Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution, London, Penguin
Howarth, D. (1997) Images of Rule: Art and Politics in the English Renaissance, 1485-1649, London, Macmillan Press
Hughes, A. (ed) (1980) Seventeenth Century England: A Changing Culture, Volume 1 Primary Sources, London, OU
Lindsay, K (1998) The English Civil War and Revolution, London, Routledge
Manning, B. (1996) Aristocrats, Plebeians and Revolution in England, London, Pluto Press
Manning, B. (1992) 1649, The Crisis of the English Revolution, London, Bookmarks
Morrill, J. (ed) (1982) Reactions to the English Civil War 1642-1649, London
Raymond, J. & Hill, C. (ed) (1993) Making the News; An Anthology of the Newsbooks of Revolutionary England 1641-1660, Gloucester, The Windrush Press
Richardson, R. C. (ed) (1997) The English Civil Wars; Local Aspects, Stroud,Sutton Publications
Richardson, R. C. (1992) Town and Countryside in the English Revolution, Manchester, MUP
Richardson, R. C. ( 1993) Images of Oliver Cromwell, Manchester, MUP
Sharpe, J. A. (1997) Early Modern England, A Social History 1550-1760, 2nd edition, London, Arnold
Sherwood, R. (1989) The Court of Oliver Cromwell, Willingham Press, Cambridge
Smith, N. (2001) The Royal Image and the English People, Ashgate, Aldershot
Smuts, R. M. (1999) Court Culture and the Origins of a Royalist Tradition in Early Stuart England, Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia
Smuts, R. M. (1999) Culture and Power in England 1585-1685, MacMillan Press, London, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Underdown, D. (1973) Somerset in the Civil War and Interregnum, David & C, Bristol
Warmington, A.R. (1997) Civil War, Interregnum and Restoration in Gloucestershire 1640-1672, London, Royal Historical Society

Last Updated
29 January 2007