AQA GCSE History: Elizabethan England, c1568–1603

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BC Elizabethan England, c1568–1603

This option allows students to study in depth a specified period, the last 35 years of Elizabeth I's reign. The study will focus on major events of Elizabeth I’s reign considered from economic, religious, political, social and cultural standpoints, and arising contemporary and historical controversies.

Students will study a wide variety of topics compiled into four modules, namely:

Part one: Elizabethan Court and Parliament

Themes include:

  • Elizabeth I and her court: background and character of Elizabeth I; court life, including patronage; key ministers.
  • The difficulties of a female ruler: relations with Parliament; the problem of marriage and the succession; the strength of Elizabeth’s authority at the end of her reign, including Essex’s rebellion in 1601.

Part two: Life in Elizabethan England

Themes include:

  • A ‘Golden Age’: living standards and fashions; growing prosperity and the rise of the gentry; the Elizabethan theatre and its achievements; attitudes to the theatre.
  • The poor: reasons for the increase in poverty; attitudes and responses to poverty; the reasons for government action and the seriousness of the problem.
  • English sailors: Hawkins and Drake; circumnavigation 1577–1580, voyages and trade; the role of Raleigh.

Part three: Troubles at home and abroad

  • Religious matters: the question of religion, English Catholicism and Protestantism; the Northern Rebellion; Elizabeth's excommunication; the missionaries; Catholic plots and the threat to the Elizabethan settlement; the nature and ideas of the Puritans and Puritanism; Elizabeth and her government's responses and policies towards religious matters.
  • Mary Queen of Scots: background; Elizabeth and Parliament’s treatment of Mary; the challenge posed by Mary; plots; execution and its impact.
  • Conflict with Spain: reasons; events; naval warfare, including tactics and technology; the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

Part four: Historic environment

Themes include:

  • Function, structure and location of the historic site
  • How the site reflected the attitudes, beliefs and social structure of Elizabethan society
  • Notable people, organisations and events linked to the site.

Resource Examples

Click any of the example images below to view a larger version.

Historic Environment (2019, 2020, 2021) Resources:

Historic Environment 2022 Resources:

Historic Environment 2023 Resources:

This module download also includes the following teaching resources:

  • L5 Should Elizabeth I Allow Mary To Stay In England Copy (docx)
  • L5 Should Elizabeth I Allow Mary To Stay In England Copy (pdf)
  • L9 Female Education Market Place Information (docx)
  • L9 Educational Market Place Chart (pdf)
  • L9 Female Education Market Place Information (pdf)
  • L9 Market Place Material Education For The Middle Classes And The Poor (pdf)
  • L7 Drake Market Place Information (pdf)
  • L9 Market Place Activity Education For Tudor Nobility (pdf)
  • L9 Market Place Activity Education For Tudor Nobility (docx)
  • L9 Market Place Material Education For The Middle Classes And The Poor (docx)
  • L6 Elizabeth I And The Netherlands (pdf)
  • L9 Education Market Place Chart (pdf)
  • L7 Actions Of Sir Frances Drake Chart (pdf)
  • L12 Raleigh Facebook Template (pdf)
  • L9 Editable Education Market Place Chart (pptx)
  • L12 Establishment Of The Virginia Colony Snowballing Sheet (pdf)
  • L7 Actions Of Sir Frances Drake Chart (docx)
  • L4 Tudor Family Tree For Annotation (pdf)
  • L7 Drake Market Place Information (docx)
  • L5 Plots And Revolts Starter Activity (pdf)
  • L12 Raleigh Facebook Template (doc)
  • L9 Elizabethan Education Mind Map And Question (pdf)
  • L5 Should Elizabeth I Allow Mary To Stay In England (docx)
  • L5 Mary Queen Of Scots Source Sheet (docx)
  • L9 Editable Version Of Elizabethan Education Mind Map (pptx)
  • L5 Revolts Presentation Information (pdf)
  • L4 Tudor Family Tree For Annotation (docx)
  • L5 Mary Queen Of Scots Source Sheet (pdf)
  • L9 Elizabethan Education (pptx)
  • L9 Mini Afl Editable Ppt (pptx)
  • L8 English Luck Or Skill (pdf)
  • L9a -Tudor Leisure In Elizabethan Times (pdf)
  • L9 Mini Afl Boxes (pdf)
  • L12 Establishment Of The Virginia Colony Snowballing Sheet (docx)
  • L8 Spanish Armada Causes Diagram (pdf)
  • L6 Increasing Tension With Spain Chart (docx)
  • L2 Tudor Religion Comparison Chart (docx)
  • L6 Increasing Tension With Spain Chart (pdf)
  • L12 The Virginia Colony Apush Period 1 2 Chapter 1 2 (mp4)
  • L6 Elizabeth I And The Netherlands (docx)
  • L8 English Luck Or Skill (docx)
  • L4 Should Elizabeth I Allow Mary To Stay In England (pdf)
  • L11 Voyages Of Discovery Mind Map (pdf)
  • L2 Tudor Religion Comparison Chart (pdf)
  • L5 Revolts Presentation Information (docx)
  • L7 Sir Francis Drake (pptx)
  • L10 1601 Poor Law Information (pdf)
  • L1 Marketplace Chart (pdf)
  • L9a -Tudor Leisure In Elizabethan Times (docx)
  • L5 Plots And Revolts Starter Activity (docx)
  • L11 Where S My Pressie- Blackadder Bbc (mp4)
  • L2 Religious Settlement Information (pdf)
  • L2 Religious Settlement Information (docx)
  • L1 Marketplace Chart (pptx)
  • L10 1601 Poor Law Information (docx)
  • L11 Voyages Of Discovery Mind Map (pptx)
  • L12 Elizabeth Raleigh And Virginia (pptx)
  • L1 Market Place Information Sheets (docx)
  • L4 Threat Of Mary Queen Of Scots (pptx)
  • L5 Domestic Threats To Elizabeth I (pptx)
  • L8 Spanish Armada Causes Diagram (docx)
  • L6 Anglo-Spanish Relations 1569-88 (pptx)
  • L10 Elizabethan Poor (pptx)
  • L11 Elizabethan Exploration And The Voyages Of Discovery (pptx)
  • L2 Elizabeth I S Religious Settlement (pptx)
  • L1 Market Place Information Sheets (pdf)
  • L8 Spanish Armada (pptx)
  • L3 Challenges To Elizabeth S Religious Settlement (pptx)
  • L1 Elizabethan Government (pdf)
  • L1 Elizabethan Government (docx)
  • L1 England Upon Elizabeth I S Accession (pptx)
  • AQA GCSE History Exam Booklets (2020 & 2021 Syllabus) (zip)