My research looks into urban society across the traditional medieval and early modern divide, covering the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. My first monograph, under contract with Boydell & Brewer, examines the power of the monasteries through their lordship over English towns. These towns have traditionally been associated with particularly robust lordship and violent town–abbey relations. Yet Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries heralded the sudden removal of this exceptionally powerful lord and my book considers how urban society adapted to the post-Dissolution era. My work combines traditional research methods with the digital humanities through its use of social network analysis, a method with roots in the social sciences that is currently emerging within pre-modern history.
Before joining the University of Warwick, I studied Modern History at Corpus Christi College, Oxford in 2004 to 2007. I then undertook the MRes Medieval Studies course at Reading, in which I pursued my interest in historical social relations through a dissertation on the 1381 revolt in western Suffolk. After completing my PhD, I held an early career fellow in Warwick’s Institute of Advanced Study and undertook an internship on public engagement at the Institute of Historical Research. I currently teach at the University of Warwick, alongside being a research assistant on the Wellcome-Trust funded project Addressing Health at Kings College London.
Academic & Professional Pathways (PGR)
University of Warwick, 2016-2020
Associate Fellowship of the HEA awarded
PhD in History
University of Warwick, 2016-2020
ESRC Doctoral Studentship
Thesis: Cloisters and Clothiers: The Social Impact of Reading’s Transition from Monastic Lordship to Self-Governance, 1350-1600 (80,000 words)
Postgraduate Certificate in Social Sciences Research
University of Warwick, 2016-2018, Merit
Award undertaken as part of a PhD studentship from the ESRC
Units: Research Design, Quantitative Methods, Social Science Philosophies, Qualitative Methods
MRes in Medieval Studies
University of Reading, 2014-2016, 82.5%
Dissertation: Reassessing the 1381 Rising in West Suffolk: Coordinated Revolt or Localised Events? (20,000 words)
Other Units: Latin & Paleography, Books of Hours, Chaucer, early rebellions in Bury St Edmunds
Professional Graduate Certificate in Education
University of Winchester, 2010-2011, Pass
Course comprised: four 4000 word assignments and two school placements
BA (Hons) in Modern History
University of Oxford, 2004-2007, 2:1
Dissertation: Miners' Strike in South Wales 1984-85 (12,000 words)
Other Units: Britain 1042-1330, Wars of the Roses, Reformation Europe, Britain 1685-1830, Imperialism in Africa
Four years' teaching experience, including convening a new module on the folklore of the British Isles. I have given seminars on topics across the period 800 to the present day through the following modules:
- The Medieval World
- Europe in the Making 1450-1800
- Crossing Boundaries and Breaking Norms in the Medieval World
- From Fireplace to Cyberspace: The Folklore of the British Isles from Prehistory to the Present
Awards and Funding
Early Career Fellowship,
2020-2021, Institute of Advanced Study (University of Warwick)
ESRC Doctoral Studentship
2016-2020, University of Warwick
'Urban Identities: Past and Present' conference funding
2019, Humanities Research Council, Connecting Cultures GRP, and Warwick History Department
Best Postgraduate Paper Prize, runner-up
Social History Society, 2018
Pickering Prize for highest mark in a medieval dissertation
2016, University of Reading
Monastic Lordship and Urban Society in Reading, 1350-1600 (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, monograph under contract, forthcoming in 2023).
Articles and Book Chapters
‘Reading: The Reformations’, in Anna French (ed.), Reading the Reformations: Theologies, Cultures and Beliefs in an Age of Change (Leiden: Brill, under contract, forthcoming in 2022).
‘Urban Oligarchy and Dissolutioned Voters: The End of Monastic Rule in Reading, 1350-1600Link opens in a new window’, Cultural and Social History, 16 (2019), pp. 387-411.
‘Leaders and Rebels: John Wrawe’s Role in the Suffolk Rising of 1381Link opens in a new window’, Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute for Archaeology & History, 44 (2018), pp. 214-234.
‘The 1381 Rising in Bury St Edmunds: The Role of Leaders and the Community in Shaping the Rebellion’, Pons Aelius 13 (2016), pp. 35-47.
Review of Maarten Prak and Patrick Wallis (eds.), Apprenticeship in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, 2020), Urban History, forthcoming in 2022.
Review of Joan Dils, Reading: A History (Lancaster, 2019), Southern History, forthcoming in 2022.
Review of Gary G. GibbsLink opens in a new window, Five Parishes in Late Medieval and Tudor London: Communities and Reforms (Abingdon, 2019), London Journal (published online, 2021).
Review of Richard Goddard and Teresa Phipps (eds.)Link opens in a new window, Town Courts and Urban Society in Late Medieval England, 1250-1500 (Woodbridge, 2019), Journal of British Studies, 59 (2020), pp. 661-63.
Review of Clive BurgessLink opens in a new window, 'The Right Ordering of Souls': The Parish of All Saints' Bristol on the Eve of the Reformation (Woodbridge, 2018), Urban History, 46 (2019), pp. 770-71.
'Networks in Reading Economic Expansion and the Dissolution', Economic and Social History of the Early Modern World series (Institute of Historical Research, 2021).
'A History of English Places', People, Place, and Community series (Institute of Historical Research, 2021).
'Monks, Merchants, and Matrices: Social Networks and Urban Politics in Reading, 1350-1600', Medieval Economic and Social History series (University of Cambridge, 2021).
'Church versus Monarchy: Power Struggles in Medieval Europe', Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society (Kenilworth, 2021).
'The Medieval Church', Arkesden Local History Society (Arkesden, 2021).
'Reading in the Late Fifteenth Century', Friends of Reading Abbey (Reading, 2021).
'The Impact of the Dissolution of 1539 on the Town of Reading', Friends of Reading Abbey (Reading, 2019).
'Publishing and Promoting Early Career Research in Reformation Studies', Reformation Studies Colloquium (University of Birmingham, 2021).
'Network Analysis for Medievalists, II: Opportunities and Challenges', International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds, 2021).
'Blessings and 'Cursus': Officeholding and Social Mobility in the Monastic Town of Reading, 1350-1600', European Association of Urban History Conference (University of Antwerp, 2022).
'Quantifying Interaction between Social Groups', International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds, 2022).
'Rowdy Godiva: Medieval Parish Festivities and the Impact of the Reformation', Celebrations, Communities and Performances Conference (Coventry City of Culture Project, 2022).
'The Dramatic and the Pragmatic: The Reception of the Reformation by Reading’s Inhabitants', Reformation Studies Colloquium (University of Birmingham, 2021).
'Religious and Cultural Change at a Time of Disruption: Reading in the Late Fifteenth Century', The Fifteenth Century Conference (University of Bristol, 2021).
'Holding all the Courts: Obtaining Justice under Monastic Lords', International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds, 2021).
'Reading and the End of Monastic Lordship', Reading and its Royal Abbey: A Celebration on the 900th Anniversary of the Abbey’s Foundation (University of Reading, 2021).
'The Impact of Missing Data on Network Centrality Measures', Economic History Society Annual Conference (University of Warwick, 2021).
'Ceremony, Guilds, and Government: Image and Authority in English Monastic Towns', Media and Public (Dis)order Virtual Workshop (Technische Universität Dresden & University of Warwick, March 2021).
'Reading: The Reformation', European Reformation Research Group (Newman University, 2019).
'Dealing with Data Loss: Network Analysis with Incomplete Datasets', International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds, 2019).
'Projected Image versus Day-to-Day Life: The Governing Class of Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Reading', Urban Identities: Past and Present (University of Warwick, 2019).
'Take No Parishioners: Poverty Management in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Parishes', The Warwick History Postgraduate Conference (University of Warwick, 2019).
'Chronic Relief: Parishioners and Poverty in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Reading', Warwick Symposium on Parish Research (University of Warwick, 2019).
'Identity as a Political Tool: The Pursuit of Independence in Late Medieval Reading', International Congress on Medieval Studies (Western Michigan University, 2019).
'Industry and Independence: Reading’s Transformation of 1470-1510', The Fifteenth Century Conference (University of Reading, 2018).
'Memory, Identity, and Power: The Pursuit of Self-Government in the Monastic Town of Reading, 1253-1539', International Medieval Congress (University of Leeds, 2018).
'Monks, Merchants, and Matrices: A Social Network Analysis of Reading in 1350-1600', Negotiating Networks Conference (Institute of Historical Research, 2018).
'Inclusion, Exclusion, and the Pursuit of Identity: Town–Abbey Relations in Late Medieval Reading', Social History Society Conference (Keele University, 2018).
'Experiencing Network Issues: Using Network Analysis with Medieval Sources', The Warwick History Postgraduate Conference (University of Warwick, 2018).
'The Dissolution of Reading Abbey: The Power Vacuum and its Impact on the Town', European Reformation Research Group: The Reformation: 500 Years On (University of Liverpool, 2017).
'The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381: Leadership in the Suffolk Rising', The Warwick History Postgraduate Conference (University of Warwick, 2017).
'Marxism and the Peasants’ Revolt: The Class Struggle Interpretation and its ProblemsLink opens in a new window', Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies Workshop (University of Reading, 2016).
University Teaching Employment
From Fireplace to Cyberspace: The Folklore of the British Isles from Prehistory to the Present, convened a new module at the University of Warwick, 2021
Crossing Boundaries, undergraduate seminar tuition at the University of Warwick, 2020-22
Europe in the Making 1450-1800, undergraduate seminar tuition at the University of Warwick, 2019-20
The Medieval World, undergraduate seminar tuition at the University of Warwick, 2018-19
Medieval Latin, assisted with teaching and led one session at the University of Reading, 2015-16
Public Engagement and Outreach
In August and September 2021, I undertook an internship with the Victoria County History Project, developing content linked to a new VCH smartphone appLink opens in a new window and promoting this to interest groups such as local history societies and museums.
I have delivered four public lectures to local history groups: the Friends of Reading Abbey, the Arkesden local history society in Essex, and the Kenilworth History & Archaeology Society. These have had audiences of up to 100.
I have twice given classes to sixth-form students at King Edward VI College in Nuneaton. These talked about studying at university and gave the students an opportunity to engage with primary source analysis.
Webmaster for the My ParishLink opens in a new window website, an online resource that brings together researchers from a variety of areas of study who use parish sources. My responsibilities are writing reports for the group's annual symposium, answering enquiries from members, and general website updating and maintenance.
joseph dot chick at warwick dot ac dot uk