As of April 2016, this page will no longer be updated.
Early modern flooding
My current research explores the financial costs of defending marshland from flooding in early modern England. Focusing on coastal south Lincolnshire, I am using financial accounts of flood defence expenditure to understand the specific environmental conditions and opportunity costs faced by early modern coastal communities. The exploitation of extensive coastal marshes and fertile reclaimed land required organized, communal flood defence strategies. By tracing levels of investment in flood defences across the early modern period, the project will assess the impact of flood risk on social and economic development. This research will be based at the IHR and the University of Exeter.
My previous research focussed more generally on interactions between people and water in early modern England. In my PhD thesis, I explored the ways in which floods and the memory and expectation of floods shaped social, cultural and political life in local communities. Looking at how communities managed every day flooding and coped catastrophic floods, my thesis argued that flooding could both strengthen and test local communities and their institutions. Looking in particular at parochial organisation and Commissions of Sewers, my thesis demonstrated the social, cultural and political importance of flooding in rural communities. It focussed in particular on the Severn Estuary Levels in Gloucestershire and South Holland in Lincolnshire. Some of this research has been published in The Journal of Historical Geography, where it was 'highly commended' in the journal's 2015 article prize..
Prior to researching flooding, I studied English urban fires in the period 1580-1640. Using the records of local administrative bodies assembled in the wake of significant blazes, alongside popular literature representations of fires, I looked at how 'great' town fires were represented and experienced. Popular literature evidence showed that printers and burnt towns used the popular press for their own financial ends in the wake of catastrophe, as printers sought to capitalise on the latest 'wonder', and towns sought charitable donations. Administrative records showed how money received by towns was rarely sufficient to cover even the most meagre losses, and that structural vulnerabilities, such as age or marital status, determined individuals' ability to recover. This research has been published in Historical Research.
I also have an interest in the history of 'counterfeit Egyptians' in the early modern period. I have researched how the Tudor state defined and pursued 'Egyptians', looking at the construction and implementation of punitive legislation. This research moved away from previous studies that have looked at literary representations of 'Egyptians', focussing instead on the actions of state agents. This research won the Marian Madison Gypsy Lore Society Young Scholar's Prize in Romani Studies, and is due to be published in Romani Studies.
The Clergy and the Elizabethan religious settlement
As a Graduate Student Associate on the Early Modern Conversions Project, I worked with Professor Peter Marshall researching clerical conformity and the Elizabethan Settlement. This project used the Clergy of the Church of England Database, Connected Histories, and other resources to analyse the reception of the Elizabethan religious settlement by the parish clergy. We were able to revise upwards the number of clergymen who refused to conform to the Settlement, challenging the historical orthodoxy set by Henry Gee in the late 1890s. This research has been published in The Historical Journal.
- Ruling Climate: The Theory and Practice of Environmental Governmentality, 1500-1800, 16 May 2015, University of Warwick.
- Geographies of Man: Environmental Influence from Antiquity to the Enlightenment, 16 May 2014, University of Warwick.
- Warwick History Postgraduate Conference 2013, 30-31 May 2013, University of Warwick.
- 'Financing flood security in eastern England, 1567-1826', The short and long-term responses of European societies to environmental shocks and hazards in the pre-industrial period: developing comparative research, Utrecht University, 26-27 November 2015.
- 'Water into warths', The Politics of Conversion, University of Warwick, 21-22 July 2015.
- 'Separating Sea from Land: Reclamation, Risk and Resilience in Renaissance England', The Renaissance Society of America, Sixty-First Annual Meeting, Berlin, 26-28 March 2015.
- 'Regulation and representation in early modern English Commissions of Sewers', Evolutions and revolutions in water management, Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, Den Haag, 19-20 March 2015.
- 'Flooding and politics in early modern England', Early Modern Seminar, University of Warwick, 8 January 2015. Listen to the paper here.
- 'Clerical Conformity and the Elizabethan Settlement Revisited', Reformation Studies Colloquium, Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, 10-12 September 2014. With Prof. Peter Marshall.
- 'Risk and Reward: Flooding and Rural Production in Early Modern England', Second World Congress of Environmental History, Guimarães, Portugal, 8-12 July 2014.
- 'Risk and Reward: Flooding and Rural Production in Early Modern England', Transforming Food and Fiber, Agricultural History Society Annual Meeting, Provo (UT), USA, 19-22 June 2014. Listen to the presentation
- '"Time hath taken such hold as the truth is now brought in question": boundary disputes and the uses of history on early modern English floodplains', Warwick History Postgraduate Conference, University of Warwick, 29-30 May 2014. Listen to the presentation
- '"Time hath taken such hold as the truth is now brought in question": boundary disputes and the uses of history on early modern English floodplains', Social History Society Annual Conference 2014, University of Northumbria, Newcastle 8-10 April 2014.
- '"By tempest or unusual overflowing of waters": flooding, state formation and catalytic catastrophe in early modern England', 20th Annual ACMRS Conference: Catastrophes and the Apocalyptic in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, Scottsdale (AZ), USA, 6-8 February 2014.
- 'Commissions of Sewers in early modern Gloucestershire and Lincolnshire: flood defence and state formation', Midland History Postgraduate Day Conference, Keele University, 16 November 2013.
- '"Do not seek thy penny in the water": regulating environmental exploitation in an early modern English waterscape', Social Water: an Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Workshop, University of York, 25 October 2013.
- '"Counterfeit Egyptians": the construction and implementation of a criminal identity', Formations and Representations of British National Identity, University of Warwick, 19-20 September 2013.
- '"True, but woful relations" and "memorable Recordes": remembering great floods in early modern England', Reading Early Modern Studies Conference, University of Reading, 9-11 July 2013.
- 'Wonderful overflowings and fearful inundations: coping with flooding in early modern England', 8th International Water History Association Conference, Montpellier, 24-29 June 2013.
- 'The great River Severn flood of 1607: responses and legacies', Disasters Wet and Dry: Rivers, Floods, and Droughts in World History, Renmin University of China (Co-Sponsored by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU Munich), 23-26 May 2013.
- 'Understanding natural disasters in early modern England', Warwick History Postgraduate Conference, University of Warwick, 1 June 2012.