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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

Ushaw Lectures Series: 'A Monk’s Books: Windows on Religious Life in Early 16th-Century England'

22nd November 2016, 17:30, Exhibition Hall, Ushaw College, Professor Anne Thayer, (Lancaster Theological Seminary, PA)

Abstract: Thomas Swalwell was a member of the last generation of monks in the Durham Priory. Educated at Oxford, he held a number of responsible offices in the monastery. Swalwell is noteworthy for the substantial amount of marginalia he left behind, both in books that he identified as his own and books that belonged to the Priory library. This paper examines the marginalia in a sampling of books now housed at Ushaw and the Durham Cathedral Library which supported his wide-ranging tasks and revealed the concerns of this dutiful monk.

Professor Anne Thayer joined the faculty of Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1999. She is the Paul and Minnie Diefenderfer of Professor of Mercersburg and Ecumenical Theology and Church History. A native of Ohio, Anne received her B.A. in physics from Wellesley College in 1979. She earned M.A. degrees from Episcopal Divinity School in 1989 and Harvard University in 1991. She received her Ph.D. in Religion from Harvard University in 1996, where she focused on Christianity in late medieval Europe.

Professor Thayer is interested in the popular communication of theological ideas; her research has focused on preaching and pastoral care in the later Middle Ages. Among her publications are ‘Penitence, Preaching and the Coming of the Reformation’, an analysis of the role of late medieval penitential preaching in the varied appeal of the Protestant Reformation, and ‘Handbook for Curates: A Late Medieval Manual on Pastoral Ministry’, a translation of the most popular guide to parish ministry in Europe in the centuries prior to the Reformation. She is active in a variety of professional organisations including the American Academy of Religion, American Society of Church History, the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, the International Medieval Sermon Studies Society, and the Mercersberg Society.

There will be a drinks reception in the Refectory from 5.30pm. For anyone wishing to book a place, please email or telephone Jane Lidstone on 0191 334 1656.

If you need help with transport between Durham City and Ushaw, please contact Jane Lidstone at or on 0191 334 1656 at least three working days before the lecture.

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