English History
from Anglo-Saxon Times to c. 1400



      Professor Hyams     

STM 206  TR 11:40 am - 12:55 pm 

Please check this version of the syllabus periodically for update & additions;
it takes priority over the hard copy handout

Professor Hyams Eliza Buhrer (TA)
Phone: 5-2076 -- Office
257-3168 -- Home
Net-ID: prh3@cornell.edu emb75@cornell.edu
Office Hours: MG 307
Wed 11 – 12 noon; Thurs 2-3 pm ,
or by arrangement
Tues 1-2 pm, or by arrangement

A survey of the government, social organization, cultural and religious experience of the English people. Particular stress is laid on land settlement, the unification of the realm, the emergence of state institutions such as Parliament and changes in economic organization (manors, towns and commerce). The approach will be  comparative within a context of contemporary European developments. Sponsored by the Knight Writing program, this “Writing in the Majors” course offers all students who wish to work on their academic writing skills an opportunity to do so.

REQUIRED (available from the Campus Store):

C.W. Hollister et al., The Making of England     (8th edn., 2001)          
J. Campbell (ed.), The Anglo-Saxons             
M.T. Clanchy, England and its Rulers, 1066-1272   (3rd edn.)
George Holmes, The Later Middle Ages, 1272-1485 (Norton History of England, 3)


D. Baker, The Early Middle Ages, 871-1216 & The Later Middle Ages, 1216-1485 [Sourcebook, online via Google Books]
D.A. Hinton, Archaeology, Economy and Society: England from the 5th to the 15thCentury
W.G. Hoskins , The Making of the English Landscape
Maurice Keen, English Society in the Later Middle Ages (1990) online via Library Catalog, http://catalog.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=6281562&DB=local

URIS RESERVE:               To pursue points made in the lectures or assigned readings, consult first the following books on the period. There may be in addition some xerox copies of other relevant materials. Please ask.

DA 175 .O981 1997 +                        SAUL, N. (ed.)                     OXFORD ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF MED. ENGLAND
DA130 .H56x 1990                             HINTON                              ARCHAEOLOGY, ECONOMY & SOCIETY
DA130. B16                                        BAKER, D.                           ENGLAND IN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES              
DA152. C18 1982 +                           CAMPBELL, J. (ed.)             THE ANGLO-SAXONS
DA175. B16                                        BAKER, D.                           ENGLAND IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES
DA175. C58                                        CLANCHY, M.T.                 ENGLAND & ITS RULERS, 1066-1272                         
DA175. H75                                        HOLMES, GA.                     THE LATER MIDDLE AGES
DA185 .C64x 1993 +                          COSS                                   THE KNIGHT IN MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
DA235. D63 1983                               DOBSON, R.B. (ed.)            THE PEASANTS REVOLT OF 1381
DA630. H82 M2 +                              HOSKINS, W.G.                  THE MAKING OF THE ENGLISH LANDSCAPE
GF551. T23 +                                      TAYLOR, C.                        VILLAGE AND FARMSTEAD
HD604 .J66 2006                `               JONES & PAGE                   MEDIEVAL VILLAGES IN …LANDSCAPE
NK3049. B3 S82                                STENTON, F.M.                   THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY                             
NK3049. B3 W74 ++                         WILSON, D.                         THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY
NK3049.B3 F68x 2003                       FOYS                                    THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY (CD)
QH137 .R12                                        RACKHAM                          HISTORY OF THE COUNTRYSIDE



                 1. Short Answer Quiz. A weekend take-home due Tuesday, March 10**. It will consist mostly of short questions, to test the assimilation of lectures and readings (including sourcebooks) for the Anglo-Saxon period including Week I classes on Geography. [15% of final grade]

                2. Short Paper I (about 5 pp.) on the Bayeux Tapestry will be due Friday, February 27** You should set yourself a question on the BT, and clear it with me.
An alternative is to tackle this:
-- What does the Bayeux Tapestry tell us about the Norman Conquest and its impact? [10% of final grade]

The Animated Bayeux Tapestry is not to be missed, though it may not help much with the paper.

** NB The due dates for these first 2 assignments have been switched in order to keep the Bayeux Tapestry Paper close to the relevant lectures

                3. Term Paper (about 15 pp.) will be on one of a small number of questions to be announced in advance. Two separate drafts are expected. A first draft will be due on Thursday, April 9. We shall then grade and comment on each of the papers and return them to you, without telling you the provisional grade. We shall then hold  a discussion class for each question group. These will not simply review the issues raised by the specific questions; they will also canvas some of the ways to improve skills in writing papers. I may also hold extra office hours early in this period, if there is any demand. The Final Version of the paper is due in the final class, Thursday, April 30 [45% of final grade]

                4. Short Paper II. You may choose either of these 2 options, c. 5 pages for 10% of final grade,due Friday, March 27.

A. Academic Writing. Select from the list linked here one learned article, summarize its argument, and add an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of its writing.

B. The value to the historian of Landscape History and Setttlement Studies: Compose a funding application for the support of this kind of study. Take your materials and examples from the Whittlewood Project as described at http://www.le.ac.uk/elh/whittlewood/index.htm. You could find further material or inspiration from Jones and Page, Medieval Villages in an English Landscape.

                5. Short Paper III on Heraldry (max. of 5 pp.). Design yourself a shield (escutcheon), and explain the point of it all, not forgetting some kind of female perspective. (You can read Coss, The Knight in Medieval England, chap. 4.) Due Friday, April 17.  [10% of final grade]

                6. Attendance at all classes and participation in all discussions. Office Hours, too, are a full part of the course; you are expected to use them to clarify difficulties, pursue interesting side-issues and, simply, to let us get to know you. There will be some credit [10%] for asking good questions and otherwise displaying intellectual effort informally on these occasions.


Lectures aim to complement rather than repeat the information and arguments in the readings. So you absolutely must complete readings early in the week to which they refer. Aim to read at least the first text (usually Hollister) for the Tuesday class.

You should bring in to class on Thursday a written question on some aspect of the week’s readings.  I shall generally call on some of you to read your question out so that we can use discussion time to canvas the questions that puzzle or worry you. We shall also read and discuss source texts from the Baker sourcebooks. The weekly selections from Hinton, on the other hand, are optional except for Week XIII.

                Source readings from the Baker Sourcebooks (online Google Books "preview" version) will be required and additional to the readings noted below. I shall try to announce selections for discussion the preceding week. But you would do well to work right through both books over the semester at your own pace. Let us discuss problems in Office Hours.

                You will, of course, find it impossible to conflate into a single "correct" view of the period from the information and arguments even of the Assigned Readings. Your job is to construct a view for yourself with all help from Eliza and me (including Office Hours) and from the rest of the class. To consult, you can also use E-Mail. The procedure of Paper II (3. above) is designed to assist. But the key is careful reading and re-reading. The best approach is to look out for differences of opinion between different readings or between them and the lectures. If you bring these to the notice of the Class, you can gain bonus credit towards the Final Grade.

Week I                   INTRODUCTION - Geography: Men Women and the Land                 Jan 20, 22

                 C. Taylor, Village & Farmstead (extracts).
                Campbell, The Anglo-Saxons, picture essays 7, 8, 10, 12, 15 = pp. 102-3, 120-1, 152-3, 162-3, 174-5
                Opt: W.G. Hoskins, The Making of the English Landscape                                                                                           words
                         Jones and Page, Medieval Villages, Chaps. 1, 10

The Whittlewood Project was the focus of Jones and Page's book.
Laxton, Notts. is the last village to retain its common field system, documented by old photos as well as maps etc..

                               You will probably need to familiarise yourself with the simple facts of physical geography with the help of a map or two. Many can be found online.
                                But you can also click here for a menu of maps  which I may add to as I am able.

Week II                 Celtic & Roman Britain                                                                                Jan 27, 29 

                Hollister, chap. 1
                Campbell, chap. 1                                                                                                                                                         words                                          

The London Hadrian Exhibition . And Hadrians Wall and its Roman Fort at Vindolanda still remain must-see sights in Northern England, and then there is Roman Wall Blues.
Other Roman material remains include the villas at Chedworth, and Fishbourne,with paintings etc. at Lulllingstone, and mosaics etc. at Hinton St. Mary

One aspect of the period of the Anglo-Saxon Invasions and Settlements that always attracts attention is the career of King Arthur. In the form that most of us hear the story, it belongs to the fiction writers of the twelfth century and later. But  some kind of facts do lie somewhere behind the myths, and there is no lack of people who think they know what that is. (When talking to these people keep your hand on your wallet.) There are a myriad web sites devoted to Arthur, and some of them may be reliable!      One available source is Nennius

Week III               Conversion & Unification to 899                                                                   Feb 3, 5

                Hollister, chap. 2
                Campbell, chaps. 3-5, picture essays 1- 6, 11 = pp. 24-5, 32-3, 48-9, 62-3, 74-5, 80-1, 158-9                                      words

Opt: Hinton, Chap. III

The Yeavering site has links to other material from its home page.
Tribal Hidage text (in Old English!)

Gregory the Great and the Angelic Angles
Bede on the Conversion 
Iona and the Book of Kells 
Offa's Dyke
Burghal Hidage

Ruthwell Cross
"The Dream of the Rood"


Week IV                The Late Anglo-Saxon "State" ?                                                                   Feb 10, 12

                Hollister, chap. 3
                Campbell, chaps., 6-8, picture essays 9, 13-17 = pp. 130-1, 166-7, 170-1, 174-5, 198-9, 204-5

Opt.: Hinton, chaps. IV-V.
Anglo-Saxon Coins

Deerhurst Church

Regularis Concordia contains (int. al.) an early Easter Play
Aelfric's "Colloquy"

And a Happy Valentine's Day!

Week V                 The Norman Conquest and “Feudalism”                                                         Feb 17, 19                                           

                Hollister, chap. 4
                Clanchy, chap. 2
                "Bayeux Tapestry"  Martin Foys' computer edition is in Olin, NK3049.B3 F68x 2003, also in Sibley

Opt: Hinton, chap,. VI
  Campbell, chap. 9, picture essays 18-19 = pp. 226-7, 234-5                                                                                       words

William's letter to Pope Gregory VII on Fidelity etc.
William's Deathbed (Orderic Vitalis in 12th c.)


Week VI                Anglo-Norman England                                                                                   Feb 24, 26        

                Hollister, chap. 5
                Clanchy, chaps. 3-4

                   Henry I's Coronation Charter, 1100
                   Domesday Book; if interested maneuver round the site via the Help Index

SHORT PAPER I (Bayeux Tapestry) due Fri

Week VII              Angevins to Magna Carta                                                                                Mar 3, 5

                Hollister, chap. 6
                Clanchy, chaps. 5-6                                                                                                                                                            words             

                Meet the Angevin Family at Rest!  
                Henry II: Peter of Blois' description   
                Constitutions of Clarendon, 1164
                Assize of Clarendon, 1166
                Magna Carta, 1215

                King John, Bishop Hugh of Lincoln & the Bible of the Poor
                Discovery of King Arthur's tomb, temp. Henry II

SHORT-ANSWER QUIZ  [Weekend Take-home]

Week VIII            Society in the High Middle Ages                                                                    Mar 10, 12 

                Hollister, chap. 7
                Clanchy, chap. 7

Opt: Hinton, chap. VII.

A Description of Life in Norman London from a Life of Becket

Walter of Henley on good farming practice
For Edward I's letters on his children, The English Historical Review, Vol. 77 (1962), pp. 79-86 (through online catalog)

Sample some Cathedral and Monastery sites, and don't forget the parish churches
Misericords  and another example. Recent NYT article!

SPRING BREAK    Sat Mar 14 – Mon Mar 23

Week IX                               Henry III (1216-72)                                                                        Mar 24, 26                                  

                Hollister, chap. 8
                Clanchy, chaps. 9-11                                                                                                                                                         words
                Westminster Hall and a virtual tour!
                Provisions of Oxford, 1258 (Stubbs Charters, p. 393) There are also usable translations of many of the major constitutional texts of 1258-67  online by Cornellian Carl Stephenson.

                "Song of Lewes" (the battle was 1264): English text, pp. 33-55.


WEEK X              Edward I, 1272-1307                                                                                        Mar 31; Apr 2   

                Hollister, chap. 9
                Holmes, chaps. 4-5 and pp. 102 sq.                                                                                                                                       words

                Notes on Wales & Scotland
  Edward's Welsh Castles

                Statute of Mortmain, 1279
A pope disapproves the Jewish Blood Libel

                But Edward did have a heart: the Eleanor Crosses


Week XI               Edward II                                                                                                            Apr 7, 9

                Hollister, chap. 10
                Holmes, chaps. 3, 11 and pp. 117 sq., 182-92.                                                                                                                       words

                Great European Famine, 1315-20    
                Walter of Henley & other Estate Management treatises     

                Norwich with map and archaeological pictures
                York and clickable map  with find images and a walk around
                But especially London and the London Museum for images etc. Also London guilds

                Coronation Oath, 1308
                Ordinances, 1311
                Statute of York, 1322
                Ordinance of the Staple, 1353 (Baker, 86-8)

TERM PAPER 1st DRAFT due Thurs class

Week XII              Edward III & the Hundred Years War  Society                                             Apr 14, 16

                Hollister, chap. 11
                Holmes, chaps. 2, 7

                      Opt: Hinton, chap. VIII                                                                                                                                                      words

                 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' & the Order of the Garter
                  Froissart on Hundred Years War Battles 

                   Thomas of Walsinhgham on the Good Parliament of 1376



Week XIII            Late Medieval Society                                                                                      Apr 21, 23
                Hollister, chap. 12               
                Holmes, chaps. 8, 11, 12 and pp. 192-6.
                Hinton, chap. IX.                                                                                                                                                                       words

                Black Death  and a picture
                Statute of Laborers, 1351 (extract) and full text  
               1381 Peasants' Revolt          'When Adam delved and Eve Span...'

                Paston Letters


Week XIV            England in the Middle Ages: Review                                                                Apr 28, 30                                                                                               

                Readings to be arranged [Baker Sourcebooks]



Sun 3 - Wed 6 May                       STUDY PERIOD

Wed 6 - Fri 15 May                        FINAL EXAMS

E&OE/prh 1-09