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Professor Mark Knights, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies

Mark Knights  

Contact Information

Room: 3.20, third floor, Faculty of Arts Building
Tel: 024 76574690

Office Hours: Mondays 2-3, Thursdays 4-5.

and at other times by appointment - please email

Click here to read my blog about Corruption past and presentLink opens in a new window

Click here for my latest book Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and its Empire, 1600-1850Link opens in a new window

Click here for a lectureLink opens in a new window that asks the audience to decide whether or not Samuel Pepys was corrupt.

Academic Profile

Public Engagement:

I have appeared in a number of TV programmes, including Who Do You Think You AreLink opens in a new window?, and three times on BBC Radio 4's In Our Time (In Our Time - Titus Oates and his 'Popish Plot' - BBC Sounds, In Our Time - The Gordon Riots - BBC Sounds and In Our Time - John Bull - BBC Sounds), as well as BBC History Extra (Shady deals & rigged elections: the changing face of corruption | History Extra podcast on Acast). I have also written for History Today, BBC History Magazine, History and Policy (‘Old Corruption’ revived? Lessons from the Past | History and Policy) and The Conversation (Impeachment: a political weapon that went out of fashion in England just as it was adopted in the US ( My Twitter is @MarkKnightsProf.

Undergraduate Modules Currently Taught
Modules Taught in the Past
  • Making History (HI175)
  • The Enlightenment (HI174)
  • Georgian Britain (HI284)
Postgraduate Modules Taught
  • I have convened the early modern pathway through the MA. For details click hereLink opens in a new window.
  • In 2012 I was voted 'Best Postgraduate Tutor' by students - nominations for their 'Stars of Warwick' Link opens in a new windowcame from across the whole University. I was again nominated and shortlisted for this award in 2024, one of three members of staff from across the university.
  • In the past I have taught 'Corruption: Concept and Practice in Britain and its Empire, c.1600-1835' (HI979)
Selected Publications
  • Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and its Empire 1600-1850 (OUP, 2021). For details click hereLink opens in a new window.Link opens in a new window
  • The Devil in Disguise: Delusion, Deception and Fanaticism in the Early English Enlightenment (OUP, 2011). For details click hereLink opens in a new window
  • Representation and Misrepresentation in Later Stuart Britain: Partisanship and Political Culture (OUP, 2005 hardback, 2006 paperback)
  • The Entring Book of Roger Morrice 1677-1691 vol 5 (Boydell and Brewer, 6 vols, vol. 6 2007)
  • many entries in The House of Commons 1690-1715 (eds. Hayton, Cruickshanks and Handley, CUP 2002)
  • Politics and Opinion in Crisis, 1678-1681 (CUP, 1994)

I work on the political culture of early modern Britain and its empire c.1550 - c.1850, with particular interests in the history of corruption in Britain and its empire; the integration of political and social history; the nature of public discourse; the role of print; and the interaction of politics, literature and ideas. For recent publications please see research. I am currently researching:

  • Corruption in Britain and its colonies, from the Reformation to Reform
  • Officeholding and accountability
  • The history of early modern words and concepts - for more details about the project see
  • Early modern petitioning
  • The life and works of James Boevey, merchant philosopher
  • The memoirs of an early eighteenth century rake

I am also currently leading a project to create a collective biography of Coventry - details here Link opens in a new window- seeking to explore how to create historical memory when much of the material culture of the city was destroyed during the war and recording the lives of people currently living there, to explore their own memories and hopes for a city in transition.

Current Research Topics Supervised (PhD)
  • Maria Tauber (jointly with Beat Kumin), Parliament and the changing Media Landscape 1600-1800.
  • Anna Pravdica (jointly with Naomi Pullin and Kate Loveman), Sincerity and Deceit in Britain 1650-1750.
  • Brendan Tam (jointly with Mark Philp), Political Friendships in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain.
  • Kristi Flake (jointly with Peter Marshall and Beat Kumin), The Book of Homilies in the long Seventeenth century
  • Andrew Steels (jointly with Guido van Meresbergen), Merchant Families and the Organisation of Trade in the Levant, 1600-1750.
  • Gongchen Yang (jointly with Song-Chuan Chen). Corruption and governance in Qianlong China.
  • Jingyang Xu (jointly with Rebecca Earle), The food of the labouring classes in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain.
  • Connor Talbot (jointly with Naomi Pullin): The emotional and spatial journeys of the colonial British North Atlantic, c.1590-1640.
  • Recently completed:
    • David Fletcher (jointly with David Taylor, English): Religion on the Restoration Stage
    • Hannah Straw: The Court Wits in Restoration Britain
    • Qianwen Qing: Governance and malfeasance in the Caribbean, 1660-1720
    • Edward Taylor: Comment Serials in Later Stuart Britain
    • Martyn Cutmore: Samuel Clarke, the History of Emotions and the Affective Culture of Puritanism
    • Jake Halford: Dialogues in seventeenth and early eighteenth century Britain
    • Han Zhao: The emotion of Shame 1650-1750
    • Naomi Pullin (nee Wood): Quaker women and everyday life in Britain and New England
    • Dave Hitchcock: Vagrancy in England 1650-1750
    • David Beck: Natural Histories
    • Cherry Ann Knott: The building of Sudbury Hall
    • Numerous MA dissertations on aspects of early modern history, including 'the self in the eighteenth century', 'the eighteenth century rogue', 'early modern counsel', 'the political discourse of immigration' and 'early modern iconoclasm'.