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Matthew Jackson



  • Nov 2014: The thesis is coming together and I am due to submit by early November 2014. I also have two articles that, while they did not make the cut for the thesis, will hopefully be published in the near future. Respectively, the articles explore 'Drinking Games in Early Modern Bristol' and 'Negotiating the Night in Eighteenth-Century Bordeaux'.
  • Sep 2014: My chapter on the regulation/prohibition of alcohol in early modern Europe will feature as part of a major multivolume work, A Cultural History of Alcohol (Bloomsbury, c.2016). The work will consist of six volumes covering the production, consumption, regulation and prohbition, commerce, medicine and health, gender and sexuality, religion and ideology and cultural representations of alcohol from 7,000BC-2000+.

My Research


Cultures of Drink: A Comparative Case Study of Early Modern Bristol and Bordeaux is an unprecedented examination of drinking culture in early modern England and France (c. 1550-1750), which significantly contributes to the expanding field of comparative ‘Drinking Studies’ in early modern Europe. My research questions the validity of an existing comparative literature that describes national generalisations, and explains the differences in English and French drinking culture almost exclusively in terms of religious change and conflict. Based on an intensive study of the archival sources for two port cities, my thesis emphasizes the centrality of economic contexts to the identity of drinking culture within the urban landscape, and underlines the importance of understanding drinking culture as a locally defined experience. My thesis is divided into three chapters:

Chapter 1: The Regulation of Drink

Historians traditionally characterised drinking house regulation as one of the largest 'social dramas' in early modern society; a struggle that saw the governing elite, a rising 'middling sort', and militant moralistic attitudes combine in an assault against popular culture and drinking house disorders. Historians also typically identified two different regulatory regimes of drinking culture across England and France – an ascetic Protestantism that excoriated the drinking of alcohol in England, compared to the relative tolerance of Catholics to the issue in France. More recent enquiry, however, has moved away from an insistence on cultural conflict and morality to stress the important ambivalence in drinking house regulation, its varied geographical successes and failures, and the importance of market forces in dictating its nature. The first chapter of my thesis engages with this contested field of interpretations through the ideal case study of Bristol and Bordeaux - both influential urban and market centres, yet differing substantially in their religious denominations. I examine municipal ordinances and prosecutional court evidence to determine the impact of religious differences upon the nature and frequency of drinking house regulation, and to comparatively interrogate the balance between moral and market concerns in this process.

Chapter 2: Religious Experience

If chapter 1 questions the influence of religious differences on the regulation of drinking culture, chapter 2 examines the relationship between drink and religion in a broader sense. Historians typically characterise ‘Tavern’ and ‘Church’ as social institutions working at the opposite ends of early modern life - the tavern representing the worldly and profane on the one hand; the church representing piety and sacredness, on the other. Scholars have also described the relationship between drink and religion, based on a reading of moralistic literature, as operating differently in England and France. Protestants are usually credited with the fiercest opposition to drinking culture, while Catholics exhibited greater toleration. In this chapter, I move beyond a reliance on inflammatory religious rhetoric to describe the precise nature of the cultural, as well as the economic, overlaps between drink and religion. Church Court Records in particular are used to examine the range of religious exchanges that occured in drinking houses, the nature of the polarity between ‘Tavern’ and ‘Church’ across comparative religious contexts, and interrogate the potential harmonious dialogues that existing between these two social institutions.

Chapter 3: Drink and Sociability

The final chapter shifts focus onto the customers that visited drinking houses and explores the meanings they attached to drinking house sociability, the types of drinking behaviours practiced, and the cultural codes that governed drinking social exchange. I dedicate particular attention to the concepts of ‘Company’ and ‘Good-Fellowship’ that have recently been used to describe alehouse sociability in early modern England, and interrogate their prevalence and usefulness as concepts to describe the nature of drinking culture taking place in Bordelais establishments. I am also interested in profiling the gender and social identities of customers to test, on the one hand, claims that women were largely rejected from drinking culture in France, while, on the other, exploring how larger historical debates of cultural reform in Europe specifically played out within two geographically defined contexts. Common forms of evidence, such as deposition court material, are supplemented by the analysis of popular literature - ballads, plays, poems, short stories and travel guides – to capture the widest range of lived and literary experiences of drinking house sociability.

Academic CV

PhD History, University of Warwick (2010-14)

Cultures of Drink: A Comparative Case Study of Early Modern Bristol and Bordeaux (AHRC Funded)

Supervisors: Prof. Beat Kümin and Dr. Penny Roberts

MA Religious and Social History, 1500-1700, University of Warwick (2009-10)

Dissertation: Women, Drink and Agency in Early Modern England and France

Supervisor: Prof. Beat Kümin

Class: Distinction (awarded Sir John Elliot Prize for Most Outstanding Performance)

Diplôme d'Etudes Universitaires Françaises, Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III (2007-8)

Class: Mention Très-Bien

BA History and Modern Languages, University of Essex (2004-9)

Class: First

Scholarships and Awards

The French Embassy, Entente Cordiale Scholarship (2012).

The University of Warwick, AHRC Research Training Support Grant (2012).

The Society for the Study of French History, Research Award (2011). For a summary of the study visit I made to Bordeaux with this bursary, see 'SSFH Society News' in French History, 26:1 (2012).

The University of Warwick, Dr Joan Lane Memorial Annual Bursary in Social History (2010-11).

The University of Warwick, Research Student Skills Programme Conference Award (2010).

The University of Warwick, The Sir John Elliot Prize for Most Outstanding MA performance (2009-10).

The University of Warwick, AHRC Doctoral Scholarship (2010-13).


Review: Mark Hailwood, Alehouses and Good Fellowship in Early Modern England (Boydell & Brewer, 2014) (forthcoming).

'The Regulation of Alcohol in the Early Modern World, 1500-1750' in Rod Phillips (ed.), A Cultural History of Alcohol (Bloomsbury Publishing, forthcoming, 2016)

'A Contested Character: The Female Publican in Early Modern England and France', in Brewery History, 150 (2013), 16-27.

Review: Matthieu Lectoure, Ivresse et Ivrognerie dans La France Moderne (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes/Presses Universitaires François Rabelais de Tours, 2011), in French History (2013).

Review: Lotte van de Pol, The Burgher and the Whore: Prostitution in Early Modern Amsterdam (OUP, 2011), in Seventeenth Century Journal, 28:1 (2013).

Co-authored (with Dr. James Tucker) the English section of B. Faguer (ed.), Bibliographie Internationale de l'Humanisme et de la Renaissance. Tome XLIII, Travaux parus en 2007 (Geneva: Droz, 2011).

Review of Angela J. McShane, Political Broadside Ballads of Seventeenth-Century England: A Critical Bibliography (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), in Cultural and Social History, 11:1 (2014).

'Fabric of Community: Parish Material Cultures in Perspective', a conference report co-written by myself and Agata Gomolka (H-SOZ-U-KULT, July 2011).


'Biographies of Drink', the Third Annual Symposium of the Warwick Drinking Studies Network (Feb 2013, co-organised with Dr. Mark Hailwood and Dr. Deborah Toner)

Co-organiser for the Postgraduate Study Day at the University of Sheffield in conjunction with the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande, the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France and the Society for the Study of French History (March 2012).

Warwick Drinking Studies Network research seminar on the 'Meanings and Materials of Intoxication' (University of Warwick, 25 Jan 2012). For more information (PDF Document)

‘Drink and the Life Cycle: The Second Annual Symposium of the Warwick Drinking Studies Network’ (Sep 2011, co-organised with Dr. Mark Hailwood and Dr. Deborah Toner).

Conference Papers

'The Regulation of Alcohol in Early Modern Europe', presented at The Cultural History of Alcohol workshop at Bucknell University, Pennsylvania (11 Sep 2014)

'The Social and Cultural Reception of Strangers: Evidence from Bristol and Bordeaux's archives', presented at a workshop for the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, Arriving in the Renaissance: Migration, Mobility and Hospitality in Europe and the Mediterranean (5 June 2014)

'The Boundaries of Intoxication: Tavern Drinking in Early Modern Bordeaux’ presented at the University of Warwick (20 May 2014)

"Drinking House Regulation in Early Modern Bristol", presented at the Early Modern France in New Contexts workshop at the University of Warwick (16 May 2013).

"Religion and Drinking Culture in Early Modern Bristol and Bordeaux", presented at the seventh Reform and Reformation colloquium at the University of Cambridge (14 May 2013).

'"A Pox on your Bourdeaux, get me some ale": Popular Consumption and Drink in Early Modern England", presented at a Global History and Culture Centre seminar in partnership between Monash University and the University of Warwick (1 Jun 2012).

'"Come all ye tribes of hostises: Representations and Realities of the Female Publican in Early Modern England', presented at a conference on Whores and Virgins, Heroes and Villains at the University of Birmingham (16 Mar 2012).

‘Popular Culture in Early Modern Bordeaux: Evidence from the Archives Départmentales de la Gironde’, presented at the ASMCF, ADEFFI & SSFH Postgraduate Study Day at the University of Sheffield (3 Mar 2012).

'The Life Cycle in Print: Old Age Drinkers in Early Modern Ballads', to be presented at Drink and the Life Cycle: The Second Annual Symposium of the Warwick Drinking Studies Network at the University of Warwick (23 Sep 2011).

‘Pleading drunkenness in seventeenth-century England’, presented at a conference on the Historical Concepts of Drunkenness at the Institute of Historical Research (Dec 2010).

‘Female Honour in Early Modern Drinking Houses: A Reconsideration’, presented at a conference on Drinking Studies at Warwick: Research Perspectives at The University of Warwick (Sep 2010).

‘Women, Drink and Agency in Early Modern England and France, c.1650-1750’, presented at the Warwick History Postgraduate Conference at the University of Warwick (May 2010).

Academic Responsibilities and Posts

Consultant for the V&A and their forthcoming exhibition showcasing the cultural and geographical variation of 'Drinking Rituals' (May 2013)

Head organiser of the Cultures of Excess: Research, Policy and Practice in Comparative Perspective initiative led by Professor Beat Kümin (History), Professor Rebecca Earle (School of Comparative American Studies, History), Professor Dieter Wolke (Psychology Department/Health Sciences Research Institute, Warwick Medical School) (2011-).

Assistant for 'Fabric of Community: Parish Material Cultures in Perspective', a symposium held by the Warwick Network for Parish Research at the University of Warwick (21 May 2011). I have written a Conference Report for this event, available here (PDF Document)

Member and co-organiser of the Warwick Drinking Studies Network (2010-).

‘Nicolas Delamare: A Brief Biography’, an essay and podcast for the Brief Lives: Biographies from Early Modernity project at The University of Warwick (Jan 2011).

Co-ordinator of the Early Modern Forum at the University of Warwick (2010-11).

Member of the Student and Staff Liaison Committee at the University of Warwick (2009-).

Member of the Warwick Postgraduate Conference organisation committee (2009).


Seminar tutor for two groups on the second-year core module The European World, 1500-1750 at the University of Warwick (2011-).

Lecturer for a 'Quantitative Research Skills Essay' session for MA Warwick History students, as part of the Theory, Skills and Methods course (28 Nov 2011).

Co-lectured a session on Essay writing skills for second-year undergraduate Warwick History students (27 Oct 2011-).

Professional Development

I took part in a live virtual discussion on student alcoholism with Chris Hackley (Professor of Alcohol Marketing and Advertising, Royal Holloway) and Laura Doherty (PhD on Youth and Alcohol, Canterbury Christ Church). The event was entitled 'Is there such a thing as 'moderate drinking' and is it possible to address the alcohol 'problem'?' (24 Oct 2011).

Intensive One-Week Language Course in Advanced French – an AHRC funded doctoral training session at Oxford University (28 Mar-1 Apr, 2011).

‘Palaeography: from Manuscript to Print’ - bespoke Elizabethan palaeographic training with the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick (2009-10).