MO3113 Stuart rule and revolution, 1603-1689
Lecturer Dr Jacqueline Rose (St Katharine's Lodge, room 10)
Credits 30
Availability Semester 2, 2018-19
Class Hour view timetable


In the seventeenth century, the British Isles witnessed widespread instability with two monarchs being overthrown; one executed, and one sent into exile after only three years on the throne.  Abhorrent policies including novel forms of taxation and unpopular foreign warfare, implemented by court favourites and flawed monarchs all contributed to the breakdown of government.  Religious tensions between groups with widely differing visions of the church further fuelled conflict, as did competing ideologies of government.  The Stuart century also included some novel experiences, such as the first period of religious toleration in the 1650s and the growth of party culture and the ‘public sphere’ from the 1670s onwards.  This module examines these developments, evaluating competing explanations for the Civil Wars of the 1640s and Revolution of 1688, using a variety of historical approaches and some contemporary documents.  As the module includes awareness of British and Irish as well as English history, it complements and provides context for the latter part of module MO3166 which focuses more sharply on debates on British union.

Basic Reading Basic Reading:
  • David L. Smith, A history of the modern British Isles: The double crown (Oxford, 1998)
  • Jonathan Scott, England’s troubles: seventeenth-century English political instability in European context (Cambridge, 2000)
  • Blair Worden, The English civil wars 1640-1660 (London, 2009)
  • Tim Harris, Politics under the later Stuarts : party conflict in a divided society, 1660-1715 (London, 1993)


Course Structure

In addition to consolidation week (date and format tbc) there will be ten classes:

A successful king? James VI and I, 1603-1625
A failed monarch? Charles I, 1625-1640
Religious tension and division, 1603-1640
The collapse of Stuart monarchy, 1637-1642
The Wars of the 1640s and the failure of settlement, 1642-1649
Commonwealth and Cromwell, 1649-1660
Party culture and anti-popery: The reign of Charles II, 1660-1685
The Restoration Church and religion
Absolutism and revolution: James II, 1685-1688
Revision class



60% coursework: Two essays, one book review and one oral presentation

40% examination: 2-hour paper


Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluation of different approaches taken by historians
  • Experience in reading and analysing seventeenth-century primary sources
  • Understanding of the main causes and consequences of seventeenth-century events
  • Increasing experience in oral presentations
  • Understanding the interaction of politics, religion, and ideas in the past


Anti-requisite(s): MO3045