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Laura Branch

About my Research

Faith and Fraternity: The London Livery Companies and the Reformation c.1510-c.1600

My research explores the construction and expression of religious identities in Reformation England. I focus on the reaction of the London livery companies to religious change – specifically the Grocers and Drapers. Although livery companies had strong religious elements to their corporate identity, their reaction to the Reformation has to date been only lightly explored, appearing either in the context of broad institutional histories (Sutton 2005), or general surveys of religious change (Jones 2002). This study, operating at the level of both institution and individual, will not only illuminate how merchants reconciled competing loyalties to Church, Crown and Company, but will also shed important light on how the transition from a Catholic to a Protestant society was mediated and negotiated by elite groups in England’s only major city.

Supervisor: Professor Peter Marshall

Department: History

Awards and Funding

Academic Profile

  • 2008-2011: PhD History - University of Warwick
  • 2005-2006: MA Reformation and Early Modern History (Distinction) - University of Birmingham
  • 2001-2004: BA (hons) Modern History - Hertford College, Oxford University

Conference Papers

  • July 2011: 'Evangelical Exchange: The Letters of John Johnson, c. 1542-1552', Reading Conference in Early Modern Studies, University of Reading.
  • June 2011: 'Constancy as Conversion: The Spiritual Narrative of Rose Throckmorton (c.1526-1613)', Conversion Narratives in the Early Modern World Conference, University of York.
  • May 2011: 'Reforming the self: The Religious Identities of London's Merchants c.1510-1600', Postgraduate Symposium, University of London.
  • October 2010: 'Christian Government: The London Livery Companies and the Reformation c.1510-1600', Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Montreal.
  • September 2010: 'A Spiritual Soldier:The Recollections of Rose Throckmorton (c.1526-1613)', Women's History Network 19th Annual Conference, University of Warwick.
  • September 2010: 'The London Livery Companies as Ecclesiastical Patrons c.1510-1600', Reformation Studies Colloquium, University of St Andrews.
  • June 2010: 'Mercantile Religious Identities during the Reformation', English Reformation Postgraduate Workshop, University of Liverpool.
  • January 2010: 'Christian Brotherhood: The London Livery Companies and the Reformation c.1510-1603', Newberry Library Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference, Chicago.
  • September 2009: 'The Reformation of Ritual at the London Livery Companies c.1510-1603', History Postgraduate Forum Conference, University of Birmingham.
  • September 2009: 'Faith and Fraternity: The London Livery Companies and the Reformation c.1510-1603', European Reformation Research Group, University of Plymouth.
  • September 2007: 'Practical Piety: The Spiritual Autobiography of Rose Throckmorton (c.1526-1613)', European Reformation Research Group Annual Conference, University of St Andrews.

Organisational Responsibilities

  • 2009/10: Co-organise the Early Modern Seminar alongside James Tucker, Mark Knights and Humfrey Butters.


  • 2009 onwards : University of Warwick, Seminar tutor for The European World, 1500-1750 - a core module for second year undergraduates.
  • 2011: University of Leicester, University Tutor for HS1005 - From Renaissance to Enlightenment, 1485-1715 - a core survey course for first year undergraduates
  • 2011: University of Leicester, Module Co-ordinator for HS2232 - Religious History - a thematic module for second years. I will deliver lectures and lead seminars for the Reformation England component.



Contact Me

laura dot branch at warwick dot ac dot uk

Department of History
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom