Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Withdrawn Module: English Communities in Crisis c.1580-1640 (HI375)

HarvestPlease note that this module was available
until 2011, but has since been
withdrawn and is no longer available.

Tutor: Professor Steve Hindle

This final-year undergraduate Special Subject module offers students who have previously taken either of the second-year modules 'The European World, 1500-1750' or 'English Social History, 1500-1700' an opportunity to explore some of the themes opened up in those modules in greater depth, but there is no requirement for students to have taken either of these modules, and the teaching will not assume that students have done so.

This module discusses the impact of social, economic and cultural change on late-sixteenth and early seventeenth century English local communities. Although the late Elizabethan period has generally been regarded as the apotheosis of the Tudor regime, the years 1590-1630 were probably the most terrible through English men and women have ever lived. Through both detailed examination of a substantive historiography of social change, and by close study of contemporary documents (court records, sermons, administrative papers, governmental correspondence), this course seeks to reconstruct the local experience of the intersecting crises of dearth, enclosure, theft and sedition.

The seminar topics include:

Term 1: the nature and meaning of 'community'; distress, dearth and crisis mortality; custom, enclosure and agrarian change; poverty, vagrancy and indigence; property crime, hard times and exemplary punishment.

Term 2: sedition, riot and popular protest; dispute, contention and litigation; patriarchy and domestic dangers; puritanism, popular religion and cultural conflict; the evolution and enforcement of public policy.