Margaret Beaufort: Mother of a Dynasty

Ref: C3669301

Meet the greatest heiress of her age, her three husbands, her son and the people on whom she waged war. Find out what made Margaret Beaufort the mother of the dynasty that grew out of the Wars of the Roses.

Course aim

To provide an overview of the life, achievements and political role of Margaret Beaufort.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

We'll look briefly at Margaret's family and her claim to the throne, the disgrace of her father and the three marriages made before she was fifteen. We will explore the route that took Margaret from almost total powerlessness to one where she was the person of greatest influence in the kingdom. We will explore the relationship that Margaret had with her son Henry. We will consider the way that she used marriage and intrigue as well as an agreement with Elizabeth Woodville to secure Henry's future. We will look at Margaret's learning, her piety and what her contemporaries had to say about her as well as discussing the way that history perceives her.

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:

Identify some of the factors which made Margaret Beaufort important to the Lancastrian succession. Discuss with at least three different examples the way in which Margaret made herself the mistress of political intrigue in order to further advance her son. Identify some of the ways in which Margaret influenced the court of Henry Tudor using examples. Draw on primary sources to identify Margaret as a person rather than a politician. Explain what is meant by temporal responsibility and discuss the ways in which Margaret sought to fulfil that responsibility.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Discussion, question and answer, self assessment and through individual learning goals identified at the end of the day for individual study.

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

Handouts will be provided on the day. You may wish to bring sandwiches and a drink as there is only a short break for lunch.

Reading and information sources

There is no essential reading but the following texts are useful if you wish to know more about Margaret Beaufort: Carter, Alicia. The Women of the Wars of the Roses Gristwood, Sarah. Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses

What could the course lead to?

Other history courses provided by the WEA. There are a variety in Calderdale as well as membership of a number of local history organisations.

Download full course outline

Margaret Beaufort: Mother of a Dynasty Course Outline


You can 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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