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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Mr Gareth Townley

Member of the Department of History

Contact Mr Gareth Townley (email at


I am interested in the history of religion and ideas across all time periods, but particularly the early modern period. Research undertaken for my MA (by thesis) examined the puritan religion of the Harley family of Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire, and used their beliefs as a case study to identify common strands within puritanism in the early seventeenth century. 

For my PhD, my research is focused on those who were loyal to the Episcopalian church during the years of the English Civil Wars and the Interregnum. I am looking at how these people managed to adapt to the changing, chaotic religious landscape of the 1640s and 1650s, and to what extent they were able, or willing, to conform to the new regime and still retain their own religious identity.

Conference Papers

‘The Harley family and puritanism in the early seventeenth centuryDurham-PKU-Tsinghua Postgraduate Colloquium 2018. (6 November 2018) World Heritage Visitor Centre, Durham


Professor Stephen Taylor

Professor Alec Ryrie

Research Interests

  • Early Modern Britain and America
  • History of Christianity
  • History of ideas