(HIST010) The Tudors: History, Culture and Religion

Henry VIII on horseback


Please note that the next run of this course will be in 2025

Course start date: Monday 13th January 2025
Course end date: Friday 3rd April 2025
Early Bird Price: £135 BOOK NOW

Tutor:  Lynne Thompson
Course Code: HIST010
Level: Non-accredited, non-credit bearing
Assessments/Exams: None. Throughout the course you will be given ideas and questions to respond to in the online discussion area. Participation in online discussion is encouraged, but not compulsory. In addition to this, in the third week of the course students will be given an optional assignment of 500 words based on selected portraits of Henry VIII. Students who choose to do this assignment will not receive a mark, but will receive feedback on their work.
Duration: 12 weeks
Estimated Student Study Time: 5 – 8 hours per week are recommended, but time spent is flexible and at your discretion.
Price: £150.00
Pre-Requisites: No academic qualifications or experience of studying history, archaeology, art or literature are required – only a strong enthusiasm for this subject.
Delivery: Online Distance Learning
Late Entrants: If this course is not full by the start date then late entrants will be accepted for up to two weeks after the start of the course. As a late entrant you can choose to catch up on the material you have missed or you can skip the missed weeks and concentrate on the material at the point where you join the course, but unfortunately we cannot offer fee reductions or course extensions for late entrants.
Recommended Reading**: A list of suggested books is provided within the course.
Required Reading**: There are no required texts for this course.

**Please note: All courses are subject to sufficient numbers of students registering before they are confirmed as running. Therefore, after booking your place you are advised not to purchase any texts until you have received confirmation that the course is running.

This course was previously taught by Lynne Thompson when it was offered by the University of Exeter*. If you studied it with the University of Exeter* you might not wish to study it again with Learn for Pleasure as although we have revised and updated our courses where necessary, it will likely be substantively the same.


There was probably no worse crime in late medieval England than usurping an anointed king’s right to rule. It was an offence against God and the hierarchical nature of society, upon which the feudal structure depended. Yet the first Tudor to become king, Henry VII, challenged Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth, defeated him, and took the crown.

A century later, his granddaughter, Elizabeth I, became one of the most popular monarchs to occupy the English throne.

The Tudors achieved much in their rule between 1485 and 1603, and it is perhaps not coincidental that their rule covered a time which many historians have described as being the transition between feudal and more modern times.

This course considers the Tudor court as archetypal in the history of the English monarchy.

We will study the culture of this period through a blend of archaeology, art, history, and literature – analysing its evolution, function and impact in a period of formative change for English society.

Syllabus Plan

Week 01: The Tudor dynasty and the Tudor court
Week 02: The court of Henry VII: laying down dynastic roots
Week 03: Henry VIII: The cult of magnificence / the royal palaces of Henry VIII
Week 04: Religion, literature and music at the court of Henry VIII
Week 05: The six wives of Henry VIII
Week 06: Edward VI
Week 07: Mary I
Week 08: The image of the Queen
Week 09: Elizabeth I and her court
Week 10: Factions and favourites: the royal progresses
Week 11: Music, art and literature at the court of Elizabeth I
Week 12: Ceremony and ritual: the Tudor court assessed

Learning Outcomes

This course will help students to acquire:

  • Knowledge of the evolution of the Tudor court, and the relevant historical, political and cultural context in which that development took place;
  • An awareness of the underlying concepts, issues and debates relating to this subject area;
  • Experience of analysing primary source material