The Life and Times of Edward III

Ref: C2338117

This course will commence by examining the circumstances of the later reign of Edward II, and provide an outline for the circumstances surrounding his downfall. We will go onto consider the circumstances of Edward's minority in power, and his relationship with the Mortimer family, before considering Edward's own assumption of power by 1330, and his subsequent involvement in political and economic affairs in England. We will then look at the circumstances surrounding his dynastic claims against the French monarchy, and other factors leading to the outbreak of The Hundred Years' War. We will examine Edward's strategy during the early years of the war, and his involvement in Flanders and the Holy Roman Empire, before looking more deeply at the reasons for the engagement at Sluys in 1340. We will then go on to look at Edward's changing strategic considerations in the wake of the Breton War of Succession, and the circumstances that finally led to the battle at Crecy and the siege of Calais.

Course aim

This course will look in detail at the life and times of Edward III, and consider his achievements as arguably the greatest of all he Plantagenet monarchs of England.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Evaluate the character of Edward's assumption of power in 1327
  • Assess the nature of King Edward's dynastic claims at the commencement of The Hundred Years' War
  • Provide an outline of the key political and economic developments in England up to 1346
  • Provide some reasons for the nature of the English victory at Crecy

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

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you

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
  • "Edward III: The Perfect King" Ian Mortimer Vintage 2008 "The Plantagenets" Dan Jones, Collins 2013

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

The Life and Times of Edward III


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 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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