Mary Rose wreckage at the Mary Rose Museum, Portsmouth

Early Modern History

Explore our work in early modern history, 1 of our 3 areas of expertise in History

Our early modern history research is re-examining the world in which Europeans lived between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries – and helping us to readdress basic assumptions about their history.

We're looking at how people in Europe experienced and responded to a time of significant change and upheaval, when traditional authority was disrupted and challenged. We're also exploring some key markers of identity, including religion and gender, and considering the complex ways in which people in the past made sense of their present.

Our work is frequently published in leading academic journals and publications within the field, including The Royal Historical Society’s New Perspectives in History series, and the journal of British Catholic History, which is edited by Dr Katy Gibbons, one of our senior lecturers in History and an active contributor to our research work in this topic.

Our research covers the following topics

  • Sixteenth and seventeenth century
  • Exile, diaspora migration
  • Religious history
  • Early modern England and France
  • Family and lifecycle history
  • Material culture
  • The Reformation
  • The British Civil War
  • Noble, gentry and clerical identity


We apply a number of qualitative research methods to our Early Modern History research, and draw on a wide range of source material – including State papers, legal records, material sources, correspondence, manuscripts and early printed books. 

Project highlights

  • Using the Future to Discover the Past: Genotyping the Mary Rose Archer

    A collaboration with our colleagues in the Science Faculty to contextualise the findings of DNA research related to the Mary Rose Collections. This project is currently being considered for University TRIF funding, and promises to have a number of different impacts for work in heritage, conservation, biological science, and the history of ‘difference’ in early modern Europe.

Discover our areas of expertise

Early modern history is 1 of 3 areas of expertise in our History research area – explore the others below.

British social and cultural history

We're exploring the lives of ordinary people in Britain, at all levels of society, and charts the formation and change of British culture through the experiences of its population.
Read more

Urban cultures

We're exploring the relationship between people and the urban environment of the city, and how living in a predominantly urban society affected – and continues to affect – those within it.
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Research groups

History Research Group

We're researching aspects of social and cultural history in European societies, and further afield.


Interested in a PhD in History?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our History postgraduate research degrees page.