I am a historian of early modern Britain, with particular research interests in memory, the experience of civil war and post-conflict societies, and social and cultural history. I have published on popular print and annotation practices, the experience of civil war widows, the memory and commemoration of regicide, and processes peace-building and reconciliation in post-civil war Britain.
I am currently working on my first book, Recollection in the Republics: Memories of the British Civil Wars in England, 1649-1660, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. This explores the ways the British Civil Wars were remembered in England between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660. While over the last decade the mental afterlife of Britain’s domestic conflicts has become an area of significant scholarly interest, existing studies have focused almost exclusively on the period after 1660. My research redresses this imbalance and argues that study of the memory of the wars during the Commonwealths and Protectorates has significant implications, not only for our understanding of the politics and society of England’s republican interval, but for our understanding of commemorative culture after the Restoration, the nature of early modern memory, and the experience of post-civil war states more generally. Uniquely, among studies of this kind, I consider successive governments’ attempts to frame the memory of Britain’s domestic conflicts alongside the recollections of diverse ordinary citizens. To do so, I make use of a varied and innovative source base that includes court records, petitions, diaries, civic records, and material culture as well as a wide range of printed texts. By bringing the voices of non-elites into the historical debate, and emphasising the sheer multiplicity of ways that the events of the bloody recent past were perpetuated in the present, my research presents a more complete and nuanced picture of the memory of catastrophic events in early modernity than has hitherto been articulated.
I am also in the early stages of two new research projects: one on civilian narratives of war in early modernity, exploring the ways civilians narrated and recalled experiences of conflict, from sieges and plundering to quartering and property destruction; the other on almanacs and their annotators in the Atlantic world, 1545-1775. Drawing on the fields of material culture, memory studies, and social and cultural history, this project will provide the first dedicated study of the extensive annotations and marginalia that the men and women of Britain and North America inscribed in their almanacs during the early modern period. By paying attention to this significant, but previously neglected, body of annotations – which range from interpretations of historical events to dance moves, recipes, and local gossip – this study will reframe how we understand: the agency of ordinary citizens as participants in history; the disparate ways temporalities were conceived; and the way a mass readership emerged, transformed, and grappled with their own place in historical time across three centuries.
Recollection in the Republics: Memories of the British Civil Wars in England, 1649-1660 (monograph, in preparation, under contract with Oxford University Press).
‘“A chronology of some Memorable Accidents”: The Representation of the Recent Past in English Almanacs, 1648-1660’, Historical Research, 92 (2019), 97-117.
‘The Great Unknown: The Negotiation and Narration of Death by English Civil War Widows, 1647-1660’, Northern History, 53 (2016), 220-235.
‘Collaborators not Cavaliers: Popular Politics in the Northern Counties of England, 1647-59’, Northern History, 50 (2013), 39-52.
‘Remembering – and Forgetting – Regicide: The Commemoration of the 30 January, 1649-1660’, in Remembering Queens and Kings in Early Modern England and France: Reputation, Reinterpretation, Reincarnation, ed. by Estelle Paranque (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming 2019).
‘Reconciliation and Oblivion in the English Republics’, in Reconciliation After War (Crimes): Historical Perspectives, ed. by James Gow and Rachel Kerr (Routledge, forthcoming 2019).
Selected Seminar and Conference Papers
‘Death, Desertion and Doubt: The Experience of Parliamentary War Widows in the North of England, 1648-1660’ (Religion and Society in Britain during the 1650s, University of Portsmouth, 15-16 July 2016).
‘Veterans’ Commemorations in Early Modern England’ (New Voices in the History of War, University of Oxford, 18 July 2018).
‘Reconciliation, Revenge and Royalism: The Memory of Civil Service in the English Republics’ (Remembering Revolutions, Institute of Historical Research, London, 17 June 2017).
‘The English Civil Wars in English Popular Memory, 1647-1660’ (Mortality, Care and Military Welfare Conference, University of Leicester/National Civil War Centre, Newark on Trent, 7-8 August 2015).
‘The Commemoration of the British Civil Wars in the English Republics’ (North American Conference of British Studies, Providence, Rhode Island, 25-28 October 2018).
‘Reconciliation in the British Republics’ (Reconciliation After War (Crimes): Historical Perspectives, King’s College, London, 29-31 January 2018).
‘“A City Assaulted by Man but saved by God”: Local Commemorations of the British Civil Wars’ (Memory and the Making of Knowledge in the Early Modern World, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, 17-23 September 2017).
‘Roundhead and Cavalier Rogues: Remembering Civil War Service, 1649-1660’ (British Commission for Military History British Civil Wars Conference, National Civil War Centre, Newark on Trent, 7-9 July 2017).
‘The Representation of the Recent Past in Printed Almanacs, 1648-1659’ (IHR Seminar Series, Institute of Historical Research, London, 1 June 2017).
‘“A chronology of some memorable accidents”: Representations of the British Civil Wars in Printed Almanacs, 1649-1660’ (North American Conference of British Studies, Washington DC, 10-13 November 2016).
‘The Great Unknown: The Negotiation and Narration of Death by English Civil War Widows, 1647-1660’ (Social History Society Annual Conference, University of Lancaster, 21-23 March 2016).