Civil Wars and Commonwealth 1640's and 1650's 'The best of Times and the Worst'

Ref: C3670916

To achieve a complete study of such a significant two decades would, of course, be impossible in just five sessions. The course will therefore focus on the following elements; the outbreak of hostilities (war), an overview of the course of hostilities, the Humberside region in the 1640s and 1650s, weapons, battles and the impact of war on the civilian population, and finally, the life, beliefs and significance of Oliver Cromwell. Each aim will be tackled each week. Questions and discussion will be encouraged throughout. Comparison is a fundamental history skill and some comparisons will be made with the French Revolution of the late 18th century and the Russian Revolution of the early 20th century. Some discussion of comparisons with the current high profile Syrian civil war will be encouraged.

Course aim

To study, to a comfortable level, what is a problematic era in British History. Reference to comparisons will help understanding of the general concept of a civil war.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • Targeting the themes of Health and Wellbeing and Culture.

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

  • Better understanding of the English Civil War and Republic.
  • Better understanding of the impacts of civil war.
  • Confidence to make comparisons between eras in the past and the past and present.

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
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • 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
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

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
  • There is much on-line relevant material, a particularly good start would be to print-out and study one of the time-line sites for the 1640s and '50s. A number of Cromwell biographies have been published, best to read one(s) written since the 1950s.

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
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here
  • Personal research.

Download full Course information sheet

Civil Wars and Commonwealth 1640's and 1650's 'The best of Times and the Worst'


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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