The Sceptred Isle

Ref: C3677077

The course will examine firstly the development of the Plantagenet dynasty under the reign of Edward II. We will look carefully at the difficult circumstances faced by Edward at the beginning of his reign and make some assessment of his character; in particular, we will make some assessment his relationship with Piers Gaveston, and what impact this had upon the stability of government in England, as well as his relationship with Thomas Earl of Lancaster. We will also go on to look at Edward's involvement with affairs in Scotland, and how this policy led to King Robert's bid for independence. We will then go on to look at the political crisis that provoked the Dispenser War, before considering its key consequences and its role in undermining the authority of the king. Finally we will conclude with an analysis the circumstances that led to the overthrow of Edward II, before considering how Edward III's minority was controlled by the ambitions of the Dispenser family.

Course aim

The course will examine how the hardships and challenges faced by Edward II as king of England culminated in a series of crises and unstable government, before looking carefully at the early years and emergence of the reign of Edward III.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Provide an outline of the course of English affairs in Scotland 1311-1328
  • Provide at least two consequences of the Ordinances of 1311
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the circumstances leading to the Dispenser War
  • Outline the key circumstances that led to the overthrow of Edward II

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • The Plantagenets Dan Jones, Collins Press 2013

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

The Sceptred Isle

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course has started and there are no online enrolment places available.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing