4AAH1001 The Making of Britain 400-1400
Credit value: 30 credits
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Stephen Baxter
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (100%)
Teaching pattern: 20 x 1-hour lectures (weekly); 20 x 1-hour seminars (weekly)
The period between 400 and 1400 forged the political structures and national identities which still shape Britain today. This unique course traces the history of Britain from the Anglo-Saxon settlements between 400 and 600 to the English conquest of Wales and the Scottish Wars of independence either side of 1300. It considers the emergence of a single kingdom of England with strong institutions of government, the changes brought by the Norman Conquest, the birth of the common law, the causes of political revolt, the significance of Magna Carta and the development of parliament. It examines how a successful Scottish kingdom was established in the far north, and how and why Wales remained politically fragmented. All this is placed in a wide social, economic and cultural context with focus on commercialization, peasant survival and revolt, the tensions between church and state (epitomized in the Becket dispute), and the development of national identities. Students make extensive use of primary sources available in translation, and engage in the many controversies relating to the period − one where understanding has been transformed by the work of recent historians, not least by those at King’s itself.