The reign of Henry VIII was a key turning point in British history. The aim of this course is to study in detail the political, religious and cultural changes of the period, and to assess the role of the king and other key personalities in the transformation of society.
The reign of Henry VIII witnessed fundamental changes in English society, the nature of which remain the subject of intense debate among historians. This course will study the process by which England’s Defender of the Faith came to repudiate the spiritual jurisdiction of Rome, establish a separate national Church in England, Wales and Ireland, and oversee wide-ranging reform not only in religion, but also (to varying degrees) in government, administration and the law. The course will concern itself both with personalities (Wolsey, More, Boleyn, Cromwell, Cranmer among others) and with structures (Church, Court, and Council). Moreover, Henry’s controversial larger than life character dominates the period. Whether he was a ruthless tyrant or manipulated by scheming servants, a godly prince or religious opportunist, a warmonger or a musician and patron of the arts, in seeking to understand Henry’s preoccupations and ambitions we will address the key historical problems of the reign.
For information on how the courses work, and a link to our course demonstration site, please click here.