New: Living And Dying In Fourteenth Century England

Was it a poker or prayer that killed Edward II? His great-grandson, Richard II, produced the first English cookery book and yet he was also deposed and murdered. Were his recipes that bad?

Who is this course for

No prior knowledge is necessary but a good understanding of English is essential. A detailed bibliography will be distributed during the first session but if you wish to purchase a book for background reading, I would recommend Ian Mortimer, The Time-Traveller's Guide to the Fourteenth Century.

What does this course cover

We begin with a look at the final years of Edward I (1272 x 1307) and the disastrous reign of his son, Edward II. Edward III has been described as 'the perfect king' and he merits our attention. We will end our examination of English political history with the reign of Richard II which saw the Peasants' Revolt and ended with regicide in 1399. European politics was dominated by the Hundred Years' War (1337 x 1453) between England and France. We will look at the causes of the conflict and the English military success at Crecy and Poitiers. We will also explore the social and economic effects of the Black Death which killed approximately 50% of the World's population. The course will end with a brief examination of the art and literature of the period.
By the end of this course you will be able to:
- Assess the validity of such terms as 'the calamitous fourteenth century' and the 'Age of Chivalry used to define the period 1300-1400
- Identify the key events of the Hundred Years War
- Evaluate the social and economic consequences of the Black Death on those who survived
- Describe the form, content and significance of books such as the Macclesfield and Luttrell Psalters
- Debate upon how far Chaucer's Prologue of the Canterbury Tales reflected fourteenth-century society

What will it be like

Each week there will be an informative talk using PowerPoint and group discussion of contemporary sources in translation. You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and friendly environment. Occasionally homework reading will be provided. Although this is not an accredited course leading to a formal qualification, you will be encouraged to complete a self-assessment form in which you can monitor your progress.

What else do you need to buy or do

There are no additional costs but you are advised to bring note-taking materials.

What this course could lead to

You might consider enrolling on other history courses run by the Centre

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Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

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Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.

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