The three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, were, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, home to four, even five, independent regions, seven languages and a number of peoples with vastly different cultures.
The approach of this module is a little like looking through a microscope at a slide. We begin with the largest social and cultural levels, with fundamental cultural divisions between societies that were based on an oral heritage and societies reliant on written records and we look at the different methods of governance and the different legal systems of these societies. Then the module examines the different languages in the three kingdoms in 1500 (English, Cornish, Welsh, Manx, Gaelic, Norn and French) and looks at when and why some these languages became extinct, while English prospered
Lowering the microscope a little, we then examine, the hierarchical divisions with each society, examining from where authority was derived and the maintenance of order. We will also examine varying concepts of individual social behaviours covering varying conceptions of status, honour, criminality, dishonour and shame. The last half of the module lowers the microscope to the most fundamental level, analysing the variant forms of the most basic social unit across the three kingdoms: the family. We will be discussing both the idea and practice of patriarchy within Britain and Ireland. We will be comparing different ideas of courtship, marriage and divorce in the three kingdoms and how they evolved over time. We also discuss ideas of kinship, including fictional kinship. Finally this module will look at concepts of age, parenting and infancy.
- Jane Dawson, Scotland Re-formed 1488-1587 (Edinburgh, 2007).
- Steven G. Ellis, The Making of the British Isles: The State of Britain and Ireland, 1450-1660 (Harlow, 2007).
- Keith Wrightson, English Society, 1580-1680 (London and New York, 2003).