Culture Wars: Reformation and Revolution in England, 1530-1700 (SS) HIST4232

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course considers the efforts of reformers to remodel religion, culture and society in England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, through the church courts and other institutions. This course will examine how moderate and radical Protestants sought to reshape worship and to impose moral discipline, evaluating their success, and considering how cultural conflict culminated in the Civil Wars, Commonwealth and Restoration.


Three hours per week over 20 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours in history.

Excluded Courses





Coursework - two essays (2,500 words) (10% each);

Two ten minute seminar presentations (3% each); Two 800 word seminar written papers (3% each);

Two seminar participation (4% each)

Examination - two exams each of 120 minutes duration (30% each)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:


■ prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers.

■  show students how a professional historian works.

■  familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other).

■  ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised.

■  encourage students to develop the confidence, imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


- demonstrate a thorough understanding of the historical sources on the regulation of religious and moral behaviour, including church court records, in early modern England;

- critically assess historians' use of these sources to study such issues as the success of the Reformation, the causes of the British Civil Wars, puritanism, religious dissent, the reformation of manners, the regulation of sexual morality, family breakdown, popular recreations;

- show awareness of debates over other areas of society regulated by the courts, including the settlement of disputes, inheritance, material culture, and consumer behaviour;

- contrast alternative methods of enforcing discipline, including presbyterianism (in Scotland and Europe) and during the Civil Wars;

- assess religious and legal challenges to the Church in the sixteenth, seventeen, and eighteenth centuries, and how these have informed historical interpretations of religion and society;

- demonstrate facility in research skills for analysing early modern sources, including skills in reading early modern documents and in analysing databases;

-   demonstrate, in essays, seminar discussion and exam answers, the ability to distinguish between, and evaluate, different types of evidence relevant to a problem in hand, drawing on an appropriate selection of both primary and secondary sources;

-   make accurate comparison of alternative interpretations in the light of the existing historiography

-   present findings in unambiguous, concise and effective prose or verbal argument, incorporating different kinds of substantiating evidence;

-   engage in lively and well-grounded discussion with fellow students.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.