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HIST3423: 1688: Monarchy and Revolution in Britain

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Type Open
Level 3
Credits 60
Availability Not available in 2023/24
Module Cap
Location Durham
Department History


  • A pass mark in at least TWO level two modules in History.


  • None.

Excluded Combinations of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to the history of the last years of the reign of Charles II and the reign of James II, and particularly to the causes and course of the revolution of 1688.
  • To enable students to engage with the major sources for this period and to place them within the context of recent historical work.


  • The approach to the period will be primarily chronological, focusing on the following topics:
  • The last years of the reign of Charles II
  • The accession of James II, the parliaments of 1685 and the Monmouth rebellion
  • The policies of James II
  • English foreign policy
  • The trial of the seven bishops and the invitation to William of Orange
  • The development of the Williamite opposition
  • The revolution
  • The revolutionary settlement
  • Particular attention will be given to the nature, significance and authorship of major sources, including Burnets History, Reresbys Memoirs and Morrices Entring Book.
  • The module also provides the opportunity to examine the role and significance of key figures, such as James II, William III, and the marquess of Halifax.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:

  • An understanding of the main contours of, and debates in, British history between 1681 and 1689, and in particular of the causes and course of the revolution of 1688.
  • An ability to construct historical arguments about this period based on a critical evaluation of a range of key primary sources.

Subject-specific Skills:

  • Subject specific skills for this module can be viewed at:;

Key Skills:

  • Key skills for this module can be viewed at:

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Student learning is facilitated by a combination of the following teaching methods:
  • seminars to allow students to present and critically reflect upon the acquired subject-specific knowledge, methodologies and theories, and to identify and debate a range of issues and differing opinions. The seminar is the forum in which students are given the opportunity to communicate ideas, jointly exploring themes and arguments. Seminars are structured to develop understanding and designed to maximise student participation related to prior independent preparation. Seminars give students the opportunity to develop oral communication skills, encourage critical and tolerant approaches to reasoned argument and historical discussion, build the students' ability to marshal historical evidence, and facilitate the development of the ability to summarise historical arguments, think in a rapidly changing environment and communicate in a persuasive and articulate manner, whilst recognising the value of working with others and, occasionally, towards shared goals;
  • tutorials either individually or in groups to discuss topics arising from prepared work, allowing students the opportunity to reflect upon their personal learning with the tutor.
  • Assessment:
  • Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The unseen examination gives students the opportunity to develop relevant life skills such as the ability to produce coherent, reasoned and supported arguments under pressure. Students will be examined on subject specific knowledge;
  • Summative essays remain a central component of assessment in history, due to the integrative high-order skills they develop. Essays allow students the opportunity to recognise, represent and critically reflect upon ideas, concepts and problems; students can demonstrate awareness of, and the ability to use and evaluate, a diverse range of resources and identify, represent and debate a range of subject-specific issues and opinions. Through the essay, students can synthesise information, adopt critical appraisals and develop reasoned argument based on individual research; they should be able to communicate ideas in writing, with clarity and coherence; and to show the ability to integrate and critically assess material from a wide range of sources;
  • Assessment of Primary Source Handling Students are assessed on their understanding of original primary sources, usually in print, their character varying according to the nature of the subject, and the students' ability to bring that knowledge to bear on 'cutting edge' research-based monographs and articles. Students are given the opportunity to discuss and articulate an understanding of changing interpretations and approaches to historical problems, drawing evidence from a body of primary source materials. Students are required to demonstrate skills associated with the evaluation of a variety of primary source materials, using documentary analysis for a critical assessment of existing historical interpretations.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Tutorials2Termly in Terms 1 & 20.5 hour1 
Seminars19Weekly in Terms 1 & 23 hours57Yes
Revision Sessions1Revision2 hours2 
Preparation and Reading540 

Summative Assessment

Component: CourseworkComponent Weighting: 60%
ElementLength / DurationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Essay 1maximum of 3000 words, not including scholarly apparatus34 
Essay 2maximum of 3000 words, not including scholarly apparatus34 
Source analysesmaximum of 3000 words, not including scholarly apparatus32 
Component: ExaminationComponent Weighting: 40%
ElementLength / DurationElement WeightingResit Opportunity
Seen open book examination3 hours100 

Formative Assessment

One formative essay of not more than 2500 words (not including footnotes and bibliography); preparation to participate in seminar and tutorials; at least one oral presentation, and practice source/gobbet work.

More information

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