Oxford and the English Civil War, 1640-1660


Oxford is one of the best places from which to understand the English Civil War, from Archbishop Laud’s reforms in the 1630s, Royalist capital during the Civil War itself, to Christopher Wren and experimental science in Wadham’s ‘invisible college’ in the 1650s. This course will consider the causes, conduct and consequences of these momentous times through the perspective of events in Oxford.

Programme details

Session 1

The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to 1500

Session 2

Reformation Oxford

Session 3

Oxford, William Laud and the Beauty of Holiness

Session 4

Oxford as the Royalist capital

Session 5

The world turned upside down I – religious radicalism

Session 6

The world turned upside down II – political radicalism

Session 7

Oxford: sieges and purges

Session 8

1648 – 1649: war, revolution and regicide

Session 9

John Wilkins and the ‘Invisible College’ at Wadham

Session 10

The Sheldonian Theatre and Restoration Oxford

Session 11

Film: Civil War Oxford

Session 12

Conclusions and Presentations


Description Costs
Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner) £850.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1485.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1245.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1600.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1345.00


Dr Andrew Lacey


Andrew Lacey holds a doctorate for work on King Charles I and has been teaching in adult education for over 25 years. Currently, he is a Tutor for the Continuing Education departments at both the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford and his historical interests range from the English Civil War to 19th and 20th century British and European history.

Course aims

This course aims to provide an introduction to the causes, consequences and significance of the English Civil War in the particular context of Oxford.

Teaching methods

All summer school courses are taught through group seminars and individual tutorials. Students also conduct private study when not in class and there is a well stocked library at OUDCE to support individual research needs.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be expected to understand:

  • The narrative of events relating to the English Civil War
  • The key personalities and the political and religious ideas at the heart of the conflict
  • The place and significance of Oxford in the Civil War

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.