We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Law & Society in Early Modern England: A Conference in Memory of Chris Brooks

19th March 2016, 10:00, Pemberton Building, Palace Green, Durham

Please note that places for this event will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. to book your place contact Kelly Guy at

Organised by Durham University’s Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. We are grateful for the support of Durham University History Department, Joanna Barker, the Selden Society and the Huntington Library.

Please click here to view the full programme

This conference brings together friends and colleagues of Chris to celebrate his contribution to early modern history, and to reflect on the important issues in legal history and social history which his work illuminated. The conference focuses on asking and answering questions about the role of the law in early modern English society and culture from the perspective of legal history and social history – the two fields which his scholarship investigated.

Chris Brooks was a leading scholar of the English common law and the role of law in early modern English politics and society. In a series of works, Brooks demonstrated the extensive role of the law in the lives not only of the wealthy and politically powerful, but also in commercial, craft and farming households, and in the lives of servants and the poor. Chris also contributed to the paradigm shift whereby English society was no longer regarded as split between the elite and the rest, but as possessing a significant ‘middling sort’, encompassing both the upper middling sort professionals who practised the law and the commercial households with craft and farming enterprises who relied on the law to enforce contract and acquire credit.

Christopher W. Brooks was Professor of History at Durham University until his death in August 2014, shortly before his retirement.

Contact for more information about this event.