English Radicals - Wat Tyler to Orwell

Ref: C2423255

This broad survey of English Radicalism will start in the middle ages with the Peasant's Revolt, Wat Tyler, John Ball and Jack Straw. It will consider the radical political and religious ideas of the English Civil War including the Levellers, the Diggers, The Quakers, the Baptists and the Fifth Monarchists before moving on to the English Jacobins and the Romantics of the Eighteenth Century. In particular we will look at the contributions of Fox, Wilkes, Coleridge, Spence, Godwin, Blake, the London Corresponding Society and Wollstonecraft. The great campaigns of the Nineteenth century for parliamentary reform and other freedoms will be examined as well as the growth of the labour and non-conformist movements. Henry Hunt, the Chartists and Robert Owen will all feature amongst many others. We will conclude in the Twentieth Century with English radicalism continuing to manifest itself in the work of Keir Hardie, the Pankhursts, Orwell, Michael Foot and E.P. Thompson amongst others.

Course aim

We will explore English Radicalism from the Peasants Revolt to the Twentieth Century. En route we will consider the radicalism of the English Civil War, the Romantics, campaigns for parliamentary reform and the non-conformist and labour movements

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

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

  • display knowledge and understanding of this strand of English history
  • interrogate a range of historical sources to reach supported judgements
  • identify links between cause and consequence, change and continuity and parallels with our own times
  • make judgements on the significance and legacy of the movement

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

The course is entirely self-contained but I will provide a reading list for those who want to pursue it further

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

English Radicals - Wat Tyler to Orwell


This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • 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 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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