Wicked Kings and Queens of Medieval England Reconsidered

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Wicked Kings and Queens of Medieval England Reconsidered

<p>This course takes another look at the reigns of the so-called wicked medieval and early-modern monarchs of England to consider the extent to which they deserve these labels. Four ‘wicked’ monarchs

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This course takes another look at the reigns of the so-called wicked medieval and early-modern monarchs of England to consider the extent to which they deserve these labels. Four ‘wicked’ monarchs shall be discussed: Bad King John, Richard III, Henry VIII, and Bloody Mary. The policies, politics, and personalities of these notorious monarchs shall be examined, in order to reconsider whether they deserve their reputations.


SUGGESTED READING

  • 1215: The Year of the Magna Carta, Danny Danziger and John Gillingham
  • Here Be Dragons, Sharon Kay Penman
  • Richard the Third, Paul Murray Kendall
  • The Trial of Richard III, BBC
  • 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII, Suzannah Lipscomb
  • Tudors: The History of England from Henry VIII to Elizabeth I (sections pertaining to Henry VIII and Mary), Peter Ackroyd
  • The Myth of Bloody Mary: A Biography of Queen Mary I of England, Linda Porter


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Bad King John? Overview of life and reign. Popular images and ideas. Inheritance of Richard the Lionheart’s empire – and problems. Personal life and relationships. Administration and governance. The First Barons' War, 1215-1216. Overall conclusions – the good and the bad.
  • Richard III – Overview of life and reign. Popular images and legends. Loyalty and service to his brother, Edward IV. Deaths of his brother and wife. Usurpation of the throne. Administration and governance. The Princes in the Tower. Proposed marriage to his niece. Treatment by Tudor historians. Overall conclusions – the good and the bad.
  • Henry VIII – Overview of life and reign. Popular images and ideas. Administration and governance. Quest for a son and the divorce from Katherine of Aragon. The 1536 joust and theories and his health. Politics and the execution of Anne Boleyn. The Reformation. Treatment his daughters. Overall conclusions – the good and the bad.
  • Bloody Mary – Overview of life and reign. Popular images and ideas. Administration and governance. Support of exploration – the Muscovy Company. Religious policies. Effective military responsiveness. Policy and Politics. Overall conclusions – the good and the bad.



PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Describe the popular view of the reign of each ruler.
  2. Discuss some of the positive aspects and achievements of each ruler and reign.
  3. Discuss some of the reasons for each ruler’s negative reputation.
  4. Assess the extent to which their reputations have been earned.