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Early Modern History Research Group

Early modern history is a flourishing area of research in the History Department, with staff members working on a wide variety of overlapping themes in the religious, political, social, economic and medical history of the period c. 1500-1750. We have particular strength in British and Irish history, as well as expertise in European history, in particularItaly and Denmark. We also have shared interests in themes such as:

  • The history of medicine (De Renzi, Grell)
  • The European Reformation (Grell, Younger)
  • Politics and political culture in early modern Britain (Allen, Forbes, Younger)
  • The history of gender (Allen, Laurence)

Members of the group

Gemma Allen researches the political, religious and cultural history of later sixteenth and early seventeenth-century England and particularly the study of early modern women.

Suzanne Forbes is an expert on Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in particular on print and politics in Ireland from 1689 - 1715.

Ole Peter Grell works on European social and cultural history in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the history of the Reformation and of medicine.

Anne Laurence is a specialist on early modern Britain, and is currently working on a comparative study of women in England, Scotland Ireland and Wales in the seventeenth century.

Silvia De Renzi works on medical knowledge and practice, primarily in early modern Italy. Her current interest is a social and cultural history of physicians and the early modern uses of post mortems.

Neil Younger works on the political history of Tudor England, with a particular interest in the impact of religious change on government at the centre and in the localities.

We also work with colleagues from across the Faculty of Arts with specialisms in early modern art, literature and music. See the Medieval and Early Modern Research Group.

Publications, papers, conferences

New members of staff

Welcome to Dr Suzanne Forbes and Dr Victoria Jackson, who joined the department in May 2015.

Can you survive life in early modern Europe?

As part of the production of a new module on early modern European history, Dr Deborah Brunton has created an interactive game based around the life stories of early modern people. Why not have a go?

Neil Younger on Drama, politics, and news in the Earl of Sussex's entertainment of Elizabeth I

Neil Younger has recently published an article on a previously unknown entertainment of Elizabeth I at New Hall in Essex, and the political and cultural contexts surrounding this event. Drama, politics, and news in the Earl of Sussex's entertainment of Elizabeth I at New Hall, 1579 appears in The Historical Journal, Volume 58, Issue 02, June 2015. Listen to Neil talking about this event on BBC Radio 4's 'Making History'.


In 20 September 2014, Neil Younger co-organised a conference on ‘Catholicism in Court and Country, c. 1558-1625’ at the University of Essex.

Postgraduate study

Members of the group are happy to supervise postgraduate research on a wide range of topics. You can find out more about our research interests on our individual profile pages. We would be especially keen to offer joint supervision on the key themes listed above.

Current Research Students

Holly Harrod: Religion, Education and Charity in Early Modern England: Archdeacon Robert Johnson and his Grammar Schools, 1575-1630.


Postgraduate enquiries:
General enquiries:

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