A Level History Students attend the Early Tudor Conference in London

Wednesday 1st March 2017

Despite London’s early morning traffic, the L6 and U6 history students successfully made it to the London Irish Centre in Camden for an Early Tudor Conference accompanied by Dr Ingram and Dr Smith.

The conference, whilst focusing on the earlier part of the Tudor era covered a range of topics including Foreign Policy under Henry VIII and the reign of Mary I as well as a fascinating revaluation of Henry VII’s reign. Professors Steven Gunn and John Guy, both professors at Oxford and Cambridge respectively, were the invited speakers for the day and both evoked many questions, some of which were answered in the question and answer segments and the others, we are taking back to the classroom to discuss further.

The morning session consisted of Professor Guy discussing the role of Thomas Cromwell in Henry VIII’s court and the effect this had on the running of the country, providing us with valuable insight into this area of our A level syllabus. Professor Gunn’s reassessment of Henry VII followed. This was a topic which was particularly captivating as Henry is viewed as somewhat boring compared to his son, Henry VIII, and it was invaluable to have a leading historian’s insight on the King’s time in power.

Following the morning session, and a short question and answer session which predominantly discussed the prominence of pretenders to Henry VII’s throne, there was a short break for lunch and we set out to explore Camden for an hour or so in order to prepare for the afternoon session. The afternoon session began and the speakers continued, firstly with Professor Gunn discussing Tudor foreign policy between 1509 and 1547. This area is a large part of our exam material and once again, listening to a new perspective will allow us to enhance our essays and allowed us further valuable insight into the often-confusing ways of Tudor England. The final talk of the day was held by Professor Guy and discussed the reign of Mary I. This was particularly enlightening as Mary was the first female queen of England and had to deal with issues such as the fact that her rank did not overrule her gender, meaning she was subordinate to her husband, Philip of Spain, and was forced to rule England under a duel monarchy, the success of which shaped history for following female monarchs such as her sister Elizabeth I. Another short question and answer session followed this before we returned to the bus and made our way home, once again through rush hour traffic!

Overall, the day wholly added and enriched to our understanding of the Tudors and allowed us to appreciate the more intricate aspects of life in Tudor England. Being able to listen to university professors speak has also allowed us valuable insight into university lecturing and the manner in which content is taught as we progress to university.