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Tudor London

In 1500 the population of London was some 50,000 people. By 1600 this had increased to 200,000. Immigration, rapid population growth, and the concomitant expansion of the city were defining features of Tudor London. But Londoners also had to accommodate a new ruling dynasty, two succession crises, four extreme changes in religion, the novelty of two queens regnant, various rebellions, and the expansion of international trade. This course will examine many of the defining political, social, religious, cultural, and demographic aspects of London between 1485 and 1603, locating the metropolis at the heart of Tudor history and, when appropriate, at the heart of European life, too. We will assess lots of primary sources, including printed texts and images.
  • Who is it for?

    No prior knowledge is necessary, but a good grasp of English is essential. Students who wish to do some background reading before the course starts could consider:
    Roy Porter, London: A Social History (1994), ch 3
    London, 1500-1700: The Making of the Metropolis (1986), ed A. L. Beier and Roger Finlay
    Londinopolis: Essays in the Cultural and Social History of Early Modern London (2000), ed Paul Griffiths and Mark Jenner
    Liza Pickard, Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London (2003)

  • What does it cover?

    This course is structured around eleven key themes and case studies. These could include:

    ' Demographics, maps, urban expansion
    ' The seat of England's government: parliament and the royal court
    ' London and the Reformations
    ' Popular politics
    ' Crime and punishment
    ' The port of London and international trade
    ' Monarchy in motion: royal occasions
    ' Social life: taverns, brothels, theatres
    ' Refugees and minorities
    ' Rebellions
    ' London compared to Edinburgh, Paris, Rome, Madrid


    By the end of this course you should be able to

    ' Contribute to discussions of how and why the population of Tudor London increased
    ' Discuss the impact of political and religious change on London
    ' Discuss the key social and cultural issues relating to London at this time
    ' Contribute to discussions of how London fitted into a broader national and European context


  • What will it be like?

    This is an interactive course. Each week we will have essential reading to read before meeting. This will usually comprise an article or chapter from a book, and a text or image from the period being studied. The tutor will set questions for you to think about whilst you are reading. We will then meet to talk about the reading and the set questions, and to decide what they tell us about the subject we are studying that week. Different points of view will be examined, with students encouraged to make up their own minds as to which they find the most convincing. Each student's progress will be assessed by their contributions to seminars, and by any one-to-one conversations with the tutor. This is not a stressful process

  • What else do I need to buy or do?

    You do not need to buy anything to study this course. You are expected to read and to prepare for seminars in your own time. Internet access will greatly help.

  • What could it lead to?

    The next course in this series will look at Stuart London. You may also want to consider further courses in History, Archaeology, Literature or other Humanities and Social Science courses at the centre.

Available Courses

Tudor London

In 1500 the population of London was some 50,000 people. By 1600 this had increased to 200,000. Immigration, rapid population growth, and the concomitant expansion of the city were defining features of Tudor London. But Londoners also had to accommodate a new ruling dynasty, two succession crises, four extreme changes in religion, the novelty of two queens regnant, various rebellions, and the expansion of international trade. This course will examine many of the defining political, social, religious, cultural, and demographic aspects of London between 1485 and 1603, locating the metropolis at the heart of Tudor history and, when appropriate, at the heart of European life, too. We will assess lots of primary sources, including printed texts and images.

16 January 2025 – 03 April 2025
Thursday, 14:00 to 16:00
Course Code:469
£167 / £58
12 Meetings
High Street, Stratford
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Need more information?

For more information contact the Curriculum Administration Team at admin@marywardcentre.ac.uk

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