A consistent stratigraphic study of the western European Carboniferous Basin has allowed the generation of eight palaeogeographic timeslices. These illustrate a model of large scale eastern (dextral) tectonic escape on the northern side of a convergent margin and integrate the diverse tectonic and sedimentary settings observed within the basin as a whole. This model can be compared to the present day eastern Mediterranean, where a similar range of diverse tectonic settings are observed. Reservoir and source distribution is discussed for each time-slice along with the present distribution of Carboniferous oil and gas fields. Due to the diversity observed no unique play type can be distilled from the data to explain the distribution of hydrocarbons within the studied area.