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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

We also welcome anyone from outside the University with an interest in our work to join. Membership is free of charge. You will receive invitations to our programme of events, with a weekly emails digest about what is happening in the Insitute and further afield. To join IMEMS contact:

Professor Andy Wood, BA (Hons) York, PhD (Cantab) FRHS

(email at

I am originally from Greater Manchester. I was lucky to study as an undergraduate at the University of York, in the Department of History (1985-88). I was equally fortunate to work with Keith Wrightson, who supervised my doctoral work at Jesus College, Cambridge. This focused on the history of Derbyshire mining villages in the seventeenth century. Eventually, my doctoral dissertation formed the basis for my first book, albeit with a rather longer chronology. I have held a Scouloudi Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research (1992-3), a British Academy Research Fellowship at University College London (1995-6), a Leverhulme Research Fellowship (2006-8), a Fellowship at Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study (2012), a Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library (2016), and a Fellowship at the Henry E. Huntington Library (2017). I have held teaching positions at the University of East London (Dept. of Cultural Studies, 1992-3) the University of Liverpool (Dept. of Economic and Social History, 1993-5) and the University of East Anglia (School of History, 1996-2013). In April 2013, I joined the Department of History at Durham University as Professor of Social History. I have acted as historical advisor on the play 'Common' at the National Theatre and am currently woirking as historical advisor on a play depicting the Eyam plague of 1665 to be staged at the Globe Theatre. I have written for BBC Radio 4 and have appeared several times on BBC Radio and on Channel Four.

Together with Stephen Taylor (Durham) and Tim Harris (Brown), I edit Boydell and Brewer's Studies in Early Modern Cultural, Political and Social History monograph series.

Doctoral supervision

I am happy to supervise research students working in any aspect of English social history (broadly conceived!), c.1480-1850. I specialize in the use of archival court records to 'get at' the mental worlds of that diverse group whom the Levellers called the ‘poorer and middling sort of people’: traders, farmers, artisans, labourers, cottagers, smallholders, miners, weavers, and the poor. Increasingly, I also find myself interested in the ruling elite of early modern society - the gentry and the nobility. I am interested in the comparative history of social memory and I have written some science fiction criticism. I also have an interest in the history of the British Left in the late twentieth century.

Doctoral work I have supervised, or am currently supervising:

  • Crime and punishment in early modern England, with special reference to seventeenth-century Norfolk
  • Magic and popular culture in industrial England, c.1750-1850
  • Antonio Gramsci and the politics of New Labour
  • Gender and social relations in seventeenth-century Norfolk
  • Custom, memory and place in the Forest of Dean, c.1500-1800
  • Custom, gender and power in early modern Essex
  • Governance, social relations and popular politics in eighteenth century Norwich
  • Social mobility and the social production of capital and gentility in early modern England: the Newtons, c.1520-1743
  • Power, ideology and "Country politics": episodes from Derbyshire, c. 1660-1760
  • Yorkshire litigation at the Jacobean Court of Star Chamber
  • Political thought and litigation in Elizabethan Norfolk
  • Prostitution in London and Paris, 1660-1740

Research projects

I am Principal Investigator on the project ‘Everyday Life and Social Relations in England, 1500-1640’. This is funded by the Leverhulme Trust in the shape of a Research Project Grant and an AHRC Research Leadership Fellowship. The project runs between 2015 and 2019. It will culminate in my fifth book, Faith, Hope and Charity: English Communities in Conflict, 1500-1640. This is contracted to Cambridge University Press.

My sixth book, intended for a wider readership, will be entitled I Predict A Riot: A History of the World In Twelve Rebellions. This is contracted to Atlantic Books.

I am a member of the ‘Cities in History’ research group located in the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.


In 2014, the American Historical Association awarded my fourth book, The Memory of the People: Custom and Popular Senses of the Past in Early Modern England the Leo Gershoy Award. The Memory of the People was also shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Award by the Folklore Society. In 1999, my first book, The Politics of Social Conflict: the Peak Country, 1520-1770 was declared proxime accessit to the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize.

Indicators of Esteem

  • Leo Gershoy Award from the American Historical Association: awarded for my fourth book, The Memory of the People: Custom and Popular Senses of the Past in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2013). This was also shortlisted for the Katherine Briggs Folklore Award
  • Proxime Accessit for the Whitfield Prize: Awarded by the Royal Historical Society

Research Interests

  • English social history, c.1500-1750, especially: popular politics; riot and rebellion; social relations; custom and the law; popular memory; literacy and oral tradition; social and economic change
  • The mid-Tudor crisis
  • The English Revolution
  • Comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to social memory

Teaching Areas

  • Level 1: Early Modern England: a Social History
  • Level 2: Conversations strand - Power, agency and social relations: conceptualising English society, 1500-1700
  • Level 3: Popular cultures in England, 1500-1640 (Special Subject)
  • MA unit (Epiphany term): Negotiating life in early modern England (co-taught with Dr Adrian Green)

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

  • Wood, A. (2018). Afterword: landscapes, memories and texts. In Remembering protest in Britain since 1500: memory, materiality and the landscape since 1500. Griffin, C. & McDonagh, B. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 237-244.
  • Wood, A. (2017). Brave minds and hard hands: work, drama and social relations in the hungry 1590s. In Shakespeare and the politics of commoners: digesting the new social history. Fitter, C. Oxford: Oxford Unversity Press. 84-103.
  • Wood, A. (2017). Coda: History, time and social memory. In A social history of England, 1500–1750. Wrightson, Keith Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 373-391.
  • Wood, Andy (2017). Five swans over Littleport: fenland folklore and popular memory, c. 1810-1978. In History after Hobsbawm: Writing the Past for the Twenty-First Century. Arnold, John H., Hilton, Matthew & Rüger, Jan Oxford: Oxford University Press. 225-241.
  • Wood, A. (2017). Spectral lordship, popular memory and the boggart of Towneley Hall. In Popular culture and political agency in early modern England and Ireland. Braddick, M. & Withington, P. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. 109-122.
  • Wood, A. (2016). Afterword: Small places, big questions: reintegrating social and economic history, c.1350-1750. In Custom and commercialisation in English rural society: revisiting Tawney and Postan. Bowen, J.P. & Brown, A.T. Hertfordshire: Hertfordshire University Press. 250-266.
  • Wood, Andy (2013). Deference, paternalism and popular memory in early modern England. In Remaking English society: social relations and social change in early modern England. Hindle, S., Shepard, A. & Walter, J. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. 233-253.
  • Wood, Andy (2013). The loss of Athelstan’s gift: the politics of popular memory in Malmesbury, 1607-1633. In Landlords and tenants in Britain, 1440-1660: Tawney’s Agrarian Problem Revisited. Whittle, J. Woodbridge: Boydell Press. 85-99.
  • Wood, Andy (2010). ‘The pedlar of Swaffham, the fenland giant and the Sardinian communist: usable pasts and the politics of folklore in England, c.1600-1830’. In Locating agency: space, power and popular politics. Williamson, F. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press. 161-92.
  • Wood, Andy (2007). ‘Collective violence, social drama and rituals of rebellion in late medieval and early modern England’. In Cultures of violence: interpersonal violence in historical perspective. Carroll, S. Palgrave: Basingstoke. 99-116.
  • Wood, Andy (2007). ‘The Queen is “a goggyll-eyed hoore” gender and seditious speech in early modern England’. In The English revolution, c. 1590-1720: politics, religion and communities. Tyacke, N. Manchester University Press: Manchester. 81-94.
  • Wood, Andy (2004). Kett’s rebellion. In Medieval Norwich. Rawcliffe, C. & Wilson, R. London: Hambledon and London. 277-300.
  • Wood, Andy & Arnold, John (2003). ‘“What’s past is prologue” politics, ideology and the burden of history in the Fall Revolution Quartet’. In The True Knowledge. Butler, A.M. & Mendelsohn, F. Science Fiction Foundation: Reading. 29-46.
  • Wood, Andy (2001). “Poore men woll speke one daye” plebeian languages of deference and defiance in England, c.1520-1640’. In The politics of the excluded in England, 1500-1850. Harris, T. Palgrave: Basingstoke. 67-98.
  • Wood, Andy (1996). ‘Custom, identity and resistance: English free miners and their law, c.1550-1800’. In The experience of authority in early modern England. Griffiths, P., Fox, A. & Hindle, S. Macmillan: Basingstoke. 249-85.

Journal Article

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Selected Grants

  • 2017: £205,844 Arts and Humanities Research Council: Research Leadership Fellowship
  • 2015: £189,360: Leverhulme Trust Research Grant
  • 2006: £24,331: Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship
  • 2003: £236,724: Arts and Humanities Research Council: Research Grant
  • 2000: £350,000: Joint Information Systems Committee (Co-Investigator)