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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: 'The Blessed Union' (James VI and I): The Uniting of the Kingdoms (HIST10200)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will explore the 'Union of the Crowns' of 1603, which came about on the succession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne. It will look first at the individual component parts of the British Isles in the sixteenth century, their union under James VI and I in 1603, and then consider how they interacted. This is not so much a matter of embarking on a 'new British History', that new and fashionable historiographical concept; rather, it is discussion of what was very obviously a major British Problem. It will end by assessing how far the experience of James's reign was relevant to future survival or collapse of the Union.

Course description When the regal Anglo-Scottish Union came about on the succession of James VI to the English throne, it also brought with it the crown of Ireland, and the principality of Wales. James VI thus became James VI and I, king of the 'Three Kingdoms' of England, Ireland and Scotland. While James's succession was unchallenged, the resulting 'Union of the Crowns' proved more difficult to manage, and James's great Union project for fuller political union never came to pass. This course explores the reasons for that, in the individual histories of the component parts of the British Isles during the sixteenth century, and then sees how these affected what happened after the regal union.
Weekly topics are:
1. Introduction: The Blessed Union
2. The first king of Britain: personality and style of kingship
3. The Scottish experience: how to restore traditional kingship after Mary Queen of Scots
4. Late sixteenth century Tudor monarchy: England and Wales (why did people like it?) and Ireland (why did people dislike it?):
5. The Jacobean kirk before 1603: the 'purest kirk under heaven'?
6. The Tudor churches: England and Wales, and Ireland
7. The Great Event: the union of the crowns
8. The Great Mess: who wanted a Scottish king?
9. The Jacobean church(es): conformity, congruity or schizophrenia?
10. Multiple kingship and foreign relations: why go for Spain?
11. Conclusion: why had the union become apparently acceptable?
This course looks more closely at the beginnings of the British history covered in British History One, and places the Scottish history covered in Early Modern Scottish History within its wider British context.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, PTs are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503767).
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, an ability to understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. demonstrate, by way of coursework and examination as required, the ability to develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
B.R. Galloway, The Union of England and Scotland, 1603-1608 (1986)
M. Lee Jr, The 'Inevitable' Union and other essays on early modern Scotland (2003)
B.P. Levack, The formation of the British state (1987)
B. Bradshaw and J. Morrill, eds, The British Problem, c.1534-1707: state formation in the Atlantic archipelago (1996)
G. Burgess, ed, The New British History: founding a modern state, 1603-1715 (1999)
S. Ellis and S. Barber, eds. Conquest and Union (1995)
R. Tittler and N. Jones eds, A companion to Tudor Britain (2009)
J.E.A. Dawson, Scotland Re-formed, 1488-1587 (2007)
J. Goodare and A.A. MacDonald, eds, Sixteenth-Century Scotland: essays in
honour of Michael Lynch (2008)
J.G. Jones, Early Modern Wales, c.1525-1640 (1994)
N. Canny, Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (2001)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsThe Blessed Union
Course organiserDr Anna Groundwater
Tel: 0131 (6)50 2553
Course secretaryMrs Diane Knowles
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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