Right of Blood - the English Crown and Inheritance

Ref: C2337813

Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots- royal cousins. Catholic versus Protestant. Follow the rivalry of national importance through Yorkshire and Derbyshire concluding with Mary’s execution at Fotheringay. Compare the politics of the Tudor dynasty with medieval concepts of monarchy, precedence and power in the run up to the Wars of the Roses.

Course aim

Explore the relationship between England’s royal claimants to the throne between the Wars of the Roses and the end of Tudor period on the long journey towards constitutional monarchy.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

We will begin with an introduction to the rivalry between Elizabeth and Mary before following Mary on her nineteen year journey around the north of England. We will explore the political ferment and physical rebellion caused by the presence of two queens in one country. We will be considering how Henry VIII's will, the 1544 Act of Parliament and Mary's own perception of her right to inherit coloured the views of the power makers around her as well as the way politics and intrigue sought to keep Mary out of power. We will also explore Mary's suitors while she was imprisoned; Mary's attempts to escape and her involvement with plots against Elizabeth; Mary's life during imprisonment; her relationship with Bess of Hardwick; the casket letters; the Babbington Plot; her trial and Elizabeth's view of her cousin and fellow monarch and her journey from Workington to Fotheringay. We will compare the end of the Tudor period with an Introduction to the Wars of the Roses. On the second day we will consider how Plantagenets dealt with the concept of monarchy, power and inheritance; we will meet the Plantagenet sons of King Edward III and their heirs; we will consider how two of Edward's grandsons became king, define the concept of legitimacy and the role of parliament as well as the family intrigues that ended on the battlefield. We will be focus on Henry VI, king by descent but unfit for the role of monarch in person and politics.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

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

1.list the ways in which a monarch could inherit the throne and give examples in each case. 2.list some of the reasons why Elizabeth kept Mary a prisoner and identify three locations where Mary was imprisoned. 3.discuss some of the different motivations behind the plots to free Mary and the Elizabethan secret service's role in incriminating Mary. 4.outline the main claims made to the throne by the Houses of York and Lancaster giving some of the reasons that invalidated individual claims. 5Identify three ways in which the accession of monarchs changed between 1421 and 1603.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Informal discussion and feedback, question and answer, wider reading. This is very much a course of starting points - everyone will bring something different to the discussion and develop their understanding of the concept of constitutional monarchy.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

There will be half an hour for lunch each day. Please bring a packed lunch. A pen would be useful. Handouts will be provided.

Reading and information sources

Handouts will be provided during the day schools. There are many books about both the Wars of the Roses and also Mary Queen of Scots. If you wish to do some wider reading around the topics- Royle, Trevor. The Wars of the Roses Fraser, Antonia Mary Queen of Scots. (the standard text on the queen, but not always a light read)

What could the course lead to?

Further courses with the WEA. In October 2017 Julia will be offering a ten week course exploring the Wars of the Roses in more detail.

Download full course outline

Right of Blood - the English Crown and Inheritance Course Outline

Enrolment Conditions

You can enrol online if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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