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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3510 Pastors and Prelates: Bishops in England, France and Germany, 950-1100

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Professor Julia Barrow

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Bishops played a pivotal role in 10th-11th century western Europe, responsible for the spiritual well-being of the inhabitants of their dioceses and also significant as political advisors and assistants to rulers. This module will look at both arenas of episcopal activity in Germany, France and England, examining the contribution made by bishops to political developments in all three kingdoms and also to social and cultural trends, including art and architecture. Study of primary sources in translation (especially biographies of bishops) will be an important part of the module.


The objectives of this module are:
(1) to give students insight into significant political, spiritual and cultural developments in 10th-11th century Germany, France and England through detailed examination of bishops and of sources written by and about them;
(2) to enable students, through analysis and interpretation of primary sources, to reflect on the agendas of authors and the views of contemporary audiences;
(3) to investigate current lines of historical research: the 10th-11th century episcopate is currently an active topic of research and there is plenty of scope for engaging with historical debate.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to demonstrate:
(1) an understanding of the many aspects of the role of the bishop in 10th-11th century western Europe and how bishops influenced political and social as well as religious and cultural developments;
(2) an understanding of how medieval authors of historical and biographical writings selected their material and developed their lines of narrative, and also how the audiences for these works are likely to have reacted to them;
(3) an awareness of how scholarship on the topic has developed over the last century.


Seminars topics will include: the Ottonian episcopate; the English episcopate in the reign of Edgar; writing about bishops; French bishops and the year 1000, political thought and heresy; canon law and secular law; cathedrals and clergy; art and architecture; pastoral care; Gregorian reform.

Teaching methods

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading to prepare for seminars and presentations; self-directed reading around the topic as a whole and in-depth reading for essays; researching, preparing and writing essays.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Student progress will be monitored through observation of class performance, including contributions to debate and class presentations. In addition, students will be expected to seek advice about reading and planning ahead for preparing presentations and essays.

Methods of assessment

Due to COVID-19, teaching and assessment activities are being kept under review - see module enrolment pages for information

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay1 x 2,000 word essay, due by 12 noon on Monday of teaching week 930.00
Essay1 x 4,000 word essay, due by 12 noon on Monday of revision week60.00
PresentationVerbal presentation, format to be determined by tutor10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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