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Stella Fletcher ~ Honorary Research Fellow


  • I have been associated with the University of Warwick throughout my academic career, as undergraduate (BA Hons, History, 1983–6), postgraduate (PhD, History, 1987–91, awarded 1992), research assistant to Prof. Michael Mallett (1991–3), and honorary research fellow of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance (2002–). My Warwick experiences were recorded for the oral history project Voices of the University; Memories of Warwick 1965-2015.
  • Between times I was a lecturer in History at King Alfred’s College, Winchester (1993–2001) and have taught undergraduate courses at the Universities of Liverpool (2005–9) and Manchester (2002, 2004, 2007–12), together with continuing education courses for the Universities of Bath, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, and Alston Hall College, Lancashire (all between 2002 and 2005). Although my teaching has ranged across the medieval, early modern and modern periods, Renaissance Italy has been a recurring theme. The inspiration provided by Warwick was most apparent when I organised and taught a study tour of Venice for my Birmingham and Liverpool students.
  • At Manchester I was also an honorary research fellow (2009–12) and honorary researcher (2012–16).

Interests include

  • Renaissance cardinals; Papal elections; Anglo-Italian connections; Clerics on stage and screen


Fellowships and memberships



I have extensive experience of broadcasting, particularly on Vatican Radio and BBC Radio and Television, writing and presenting programmes on ecclesiastical history for the former and specialising in papal elections for the latter. I am on the BBC list of conclave experts and in 2013 recorded a podcast on the history of conclaves for the BBC History Magazine.



  • Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies XIII, 2 (May 1996)–XXIII, 1 (October 2005).
  • Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society 50–1 (1994–5): local history editor.


Conferences organised

  • Ecclesiastical History Society postgraduate colloquium, John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, 2013
  • Roscoe and Italy, Liverpool Athenaeum and Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2008



  • 'Hugh Edmund Ford: teacher, builder, abbot spy', a lecture for Downside Abbey (6 July 2021), is available at 

  • Outside my places of employment, I have lectured at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, Downside Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Manchester Metropolitan University, for the Circolo Italo-Britannico (Venice), Northern Catholic Writers’ Guild (Manchester), William Morris Society, Wilmslow Guild, Winchester Catholic History Society, and various branches of the Historical Association.
  • Subjects included: the history of conclaves; the Borgia in English literature; Renaissance Rome; Renaissance cardinals; Florence and the Medici; Machiavelli; Republican Venice; Venetian palaces; Princely states of Renaissance Italy; Friar Thomas Penketh; Caxton, Jenson and the Kelmscott Press; Thomas More; Wolsey and the Italian Wars; Wolsey on stage and screen; recusants in the English Midlands; A. W. N. Pugin; Renaissance Italy and the British imagination; Julia Cartwright; Stephen Remarx, a Christian Socialist novel; Art Nouveau architecture in Turin; Edwin Reynolds, a Birmingham Arts and Crafts architect.



Authored and co-authored books

  • The Popes and Britain: a History (I. B. Tauris, 2017).
  • A Very Agreeable Society: The Ecclesiastical History Society, 1961–2011 (EHS, 2011).
  • Cardinal Wolsey: A Life in Renaissance Europe (Continuum, 2009).
  • With Dominic Aidan Bellenger, The Mitre and the Crown: A History of the Archbishops of Canterbury (Sutton Publishing, 2005).
  • With Dominic Aidan Bellenger, Princes of the Church: A History of the English Cardinals (Sutton Publishing, 2001).
  • The Longman Companion to Renaissance Europe, 1390-1530 (Longman, 1999).

Edited and co-edited books

  • Roscoe and Italy: The Reception of Italian Renaissance History and Culture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Ashgate, 2012).
  • With Christine Shaw, The World of Savonarola: Italian Elites and Perceptions of Crisis (Ashgate, 2000).

Chapters in books

    • ‘Renaissance cities through Ruskinian eyes: an English architect in Italy in 1902’, in Humfrey Butters and Gabriele Neher, eds, Government and Warfare in Renaissance Tuscany and Venice: Civic Identities and Urban Transformations, (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), 365–84.
    • ‘Caught between fact and fantasy: the Borgia in English literature’, in The Borgia Family: Rumor and Representation, ed. Jennifer Mara DeSilva (Routledge, 2019).
    • ‘Religion’, in Gordon Campbell, ed., Oxford Illustrated History of the Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2019), 82–116.


    • ‘Abbot Edmund Ford, secret agent’, British Catholic History (forthcoming, 2021)

    • ‘The Borgia: from fact to fiction’, The Historian, 137 (2018), 26–9.
    • ‘Cardinals and the War of Ferrara’, Royal Studies Journal 4, 2 (2017)
    • ‘Cardinal Marco Barbo as protector of English interests at the Roman Curia in the late fifteenth century’, The Downside Review 410 (2000), 27–44.
    • ‘The making of a fifteenth-century Venetian cardinal’, Studi Veneziani n.s. 31 (1996), pp 27–49.
    • ‘An Edwardian architect in Italy’, Tuttitalia 8 (1993), 3–7.

    Online resources

    Pope Nicholas V, Pope Sixtus IV, Pope Alexander VI

    Cesare Borgia, Lucrezia Borgia, Cardinals

    Bishops, 1400–1550 Bishops, 1550–1700 Medici Family

    Cosimo de’ Medici, Lorenzo de’ Medici, Savonarola

    Francesco Guicciardini, The Italian Wars, Italian Visitors, King Edward IV

    King Richard III, Margaret Beaufort, King Henry VII

    Thomas Wolsey, English Reformation

    Edmund Campion, Margaret Clitherow, Nineteenth-century concepts of the Renaissance

    Editorial work, Festschrift for Abbot Geoffrey Scott (forthcoming, 2022)


    I have contributed numerous reviews to the Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, Downside Review, English Historical Review, European History Quarterly, History, H-Italy, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Journal of the Northern Renaissance, Literature and History, Recusant History, Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Studies, and the Times Literary Supplement.


    • 6 new entries, c. 250 revised entries, in A. Louth (ed.), Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 4th edn (forthcoming, 2021).
    • Obituary, Ray Forty, Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies, XXVIII, 1 (2011), 3–4
    • Obituary, Professor Michael Mallett, The Guardian (2008)
    • 12 articles on Italian history, Catholic Life (2006)
    • 1 entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004).
    • 97 entries in Michael J. Walsh, ed., Dictionary of Christian Biography (Continuum, 2001).
    • With Ruth Chavasse, ‘Renaissance studies past, present and future: a round-table discussion’, Bulletin of the Society for Renaissance Studies XV, 1 (1997), pp. 45–49
    • Bibliography of the works of Professor Sir John Hale in D. S. Chambers, C. H. Clough and M. E. Mallett, eds, War, Culture and Society in Renaissance Venice: Essays in honour of John Hale (Hambledon, 1993), xiii-xxiii.