The Early Stuarts and the Interregnum: Monarchs and Rebellion

Course summary

  • Thu 28 Sep 2017 to Thu 07 Dec 2017
  • 10:00am-12:00pm 10 meetings
  • Waingels Adult Centre, Waingels Road Woodley Reading RG5 4RF
  • From £175.00
  • 10 CATS points
  • Course code E17P328HIW
  • 01344 868600
  • Course ended

The Early Stuarts and the Interregnum: Monarchs and Rebellion


With the first Stuart monarch sitting on a powder keg and the second losing his head, the reigns of the early Stuarts came to a dramatic close and were replaced by the regimes of Oliver Cromwell. 

This course will explore the role of court and parliament during the reigns of James I and Charles I, the Civil War and the interregnum.  The rising tension between the Stuart kings and their subjects is set against the splendour of court life.  The progression from crisis to civil war and regicide marks the 1640s as the most turbulent decade in English domestic history, followed by Oliver Cromwell's efforts to find an acceptable constitutional settlement in the 1650s.

Programme details

Term Starts: 28th September    

Half Term: 26 October


Week 1: James I: the reign of James VI of Scotland and his English inheritance in 1603

Week 2: James I: the reign of James I of England  religion, foreign and colonial policy

Week 3: James I: James I and finance, parliament, factions and favourites

Week 4: Charles I: the war years 1625-29

Week 5: Charles I: the Personal Rule 1629-40

Week 6: Charles I: constitutional crisis and the build-up to civil war.

Week 7: The Civil War: military campaigns, battles and sieges.

Week 8: The Civil War: the trial and execution of the king. Impact of civil war on the localities

Week 9: The Interregnum: Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector

Week 10: Towards the Restoration of the Monarchy, 1658-60. Course review

Background reading:

Barry Coward The Stuart Age

Alan Stewart The Cradle King A Life of James VI & I

Christopher Hibbert Charles I: a Life of Religion, War & Treason (Palgrave, 2007)

Tristram Hunt The English Civil War at first hand

Blair Worden The English Civil Wars 1640-1660

Antonia Fraser Cromwell Our Chief of Men


If you are planning to purchase books, remember that courses with too few students enrolled will be cancelled. The Department accepts no responsibility for books bought in anticipation of a course.

If you have enrolled on a course starting in the autumn, you can become a borrowing member of the Rewley House library from 1st September. If you are enrolled on a course starting in other terms, you can become a borrowing member once the previous term has ended.

Recommended reading

All weekly class students may become borrowing members of the Rewley House Continuing Education Library for the duration of their course. Prospective students whose courses have not yet started are welcome to use the Library for reference. More information can be found on the Library website.

There is a Guide for Weekly Class students which will give you further information. 

Availability of titles on the reading list (below) can be checked on SOLO, the library catalogue.

Recommended Reading List


Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework, but only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

If you do not register when you enrol, you have up until the course start date to do so.


Course Fee: £175.00
Take this course for CATS points: £10.00


Mrs Sheila Ephraim


Sheila Ephraim is a tutor in English political & social history for the Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford and for the Workers Educational Association. 

Course aims

To introduce students to developments in crown and constitution through the most turbulent period of English domestic history by exploring the personalities and political manoeuvres of James I, Charles I and Oliver Cromwell.

Course Objectives:

1. To introduce students to the Stuart monarchs by exploring their personal and public personas

2. To examine events leading up to, and during the Civil War

3. To explore the political consequences of civil war in the Interregnum

Teaching methods

Each session will consist of an informal lecture, using power point for illustrations and key text, followed by analysis of contemporary documents through general and / or small group discussions. Handouts of documents will be distributed each week in advance of the relevant session.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

1. Identify and contrast the personal styles and public policies of James I and Charles I

2. Assess the causes of the Civil War and outline the military campaigns

3. Identify the constitutional develpopments during the Interregnum period

Assessment methods

Option A: Two written pieces of coursework to be completed at home, on material already covered in class.

OR Option B: An essay of c1000-1500 words, to be completed at home.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form.


Held in conjunction with Bracknell & Wokingham College

To enrol please follow:

The Early Stuarts and the Interregnum: Monarchs and Rebellion

Alternatively you could use the contact details below:

The College Information Centre

Bracknell & Wokingham College,

Church Road,


RG12 1DJ

Tel: 01344 868600


Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)