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Level 7

7AAH1007 Magna Carta & Medieval Monarchy

Credit value: 20 credits
Module convenor/tutor 2019/20: Professor David Carpenter
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Teaching pattern: 10 x 2-hour weekly seminars
Assessment: 1 x 4,000-word essay
Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

The module uses the text of Magna Carta as a window into the government, society and wider culture of twelfth and thirteenth-century England. It is concerned with the position of peasants and women, as well as earls, barons and knights. There is a focus on the (evil?) personality of King John, the oppressive nature of his government and the political ideas of the period often European wide. The module considers if Magna Carta was a watershed between lawless and lawful rule. It makes use of many new discoveries made by the Magna Carta 800th anniversary project. It teaches students how to use the primary sources of the period and is ideal training for those wishing to undertake further research. The course has some relevance to conditions in Britain today for it shows how great changes, in order to succeed, need to be inclusive, consensual and, in terms of new constitutions, known and valued for their detail.

Core reading

Students are not required to purchase copies of these texts

David Carpenter, Magna Carta (Penguin Classics, 2015)

J.C. Holt, Magna Carta (second edition, 1992; third edition, 2015)


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