Valuable Reading on Henry VII and the Early Tudors

 A Level, Tudor  Comments Off on Valuable Reading on Henry VII and the Early Tudors
Jun 052017

The Institute of Historical Research have published a very helpful review essay on their website by Professor Christine Carpenter of Steven Gunn’s book, Henry VII’s New Men and the Making of Tudor England (OUP, 2106) and you can find it HERE …

The core of the five-page essay is a discussion of the structure and conclusions of Steven Gunn’s book but in addition A level teachers and their students will be helped by Professor Carpenter’s summary of changing interpretations since the 1980s of Henry VII and his reign and of how these changes relate to the perspectives of historians – whether they are approaching the reign from the understandings gained in research on fifteenth century politics and society or from work on the sixteenth century. There’s much else here too (some of which is relevant to later Tudor history too) but I’ll leave you to read it for yourselves! It’s also worth following the links on the first page to other book reviews on this period.

And while on Henry VII, is a website in development that will be very useful.

The site will publish the content of the expense and receipt books of the King’s Chamber covering 1485 to 1521. You can follow progress and see items from these records on their twitter feed @tudorkingship and their Facebook page. Initial discussions are under way to develop teaching material linked to these resources.

For further information on this project see How did Henry VII spend his money? by Dr James Ross HERE …

New to teaching Henry VII?

For anyone new to teaching about Henry VII the following may well be useful:

Dictionary of National Biography On-line – available free to holders of local library cards if your local authority has a subscription, which many or most seem to do. The articles are excellent and lengthy (Steven Gunn on Henry VII runs to 18 A4 pages) and by leading historians HERE …

Sean Cunningham, Henry VII, Routledge, 2007 – 315 pages, HERE … the most authoritative recent biography.

Also keep an eye out for Sean Cunningham’s book on Henry in the Penguin English Monarchs series, due out in Spring 2018 – this will suit students as well as teachers.

Other detailed books worth reading:

  • Steven Gunn, Early Tudor Government, 1995.
  • Christine Carpenter, The Wars of the Roses, 1997 – chapter 11 on Henry VII.
  • Ian Arthurson, The Perkin Warbeck Conspiracy 1491-1499, 1994.
  • Ralph Griffiths and Roger Thomas, The Making of the Tudor Dynasty, 1985.
  • Thomas Penn, Winter King, 2011 – I really must read this again! I didn’t get on with it at all first time round, probably because I was expecting a different kind of book with much more on Henry’s early life to contextualize his reign.

And finally, if you haven’t found them yet, there’s a range of teaching resources on Henry VII and much else on this website HERE …


 Posted by at 12:00 pm

William Cecil’s Dilemmas 1547-1558

 A Level, Activities, Tudor  Comments Off on William Cecil’s Dilemmas 1547-1558
Sep 052014

Unlike some of the other decision-making activities from my book The Tudor Century, this one is short, just three decisions to take in role as William Cecil. The activity introduces A level students to the main changes taking place between 1547 and 1558. Hopefully Cecil’s dilemmas provide a more personal way into events, building interest and that vital first outline layer of knowledge.

See the activity here


 Posted by at 2:45 pm

New Activity: Elizabeth I Survival Game

 A Level, Activities, Tudor  Comments Off on New Activity: Elizabeth I Survival Game
Aug 272014

This activity is identical to the Survival Game on Henry VII. It’s for use in class as an introduction to Elizabeth’s reign. It’s enjoyable but more importantly it’s effective in a number of ways:

1. It provides a first layer of knowledge about Elizabeth’s reign, introducing names, events and the range of problems that Elizabeth faced and how she reacted to those problems.

2. That involving introduction helps students read with more confidence. They’ve gained an initial familiarity with the topic. Even if the details haven’t been memorised or understood completely students have taken in enough to read more confidently – they recognize names and situations they’ve thought about in the activity and it’s that recognition ‘I remember when we discussed that’ that’s great for encouraging reading.

3. It develops constructive discussion and group rapport, especially important if the members of the group are new to each other. The structure also helps build the sense that discussion is part of history lessons.

4. Putting students ‘inside a past situation’ by asking them to think from a contemporary standpoint reveals their misunderstandings. The wrong answers can be most revealing to you as the teacher.

See the activity here …


 Posted by at 3:21 pm

New Activity: Henry VII Survival Game

 A Level, Activities, Tudor  Comments Off on New Activity: Henry VII Survival Game
Aug 122014

I’ve always been very fond of this activity – Henry VII’s Survival Game.

It’s now over 20 years since I created it for my A level book The Tudor Century (1993), one of the first purely A level books to provide activities as well as ‘the history’. So why has it taken so long to put this activity on the site? When I first thought about it I tried to be too fancy, starting on an inter-active version that could be used for revision by individual students. However I’ve now gone back to my original intention – and what I know works – an activity for use in class as an introduction to the reign of Henry VII, with groups of students working in conjunction with their teacher. It’s enjoyable and it works very effectively in a number of ways.

See the activity here…


 Posted by at 2:33 pm