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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

(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), and a Fellowship at Durham University’s wonderful Institute of Advanced Study (2012). 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.

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
  • Gentry identities and social mobility in early modern England
  • Popular politics in Derbyshire, c. 1660-1730
  • Sedition in Tudor England

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 of £189,360. The project will run between 2015 and 2018. It will lead to the publication of a sequence of journal articles, chapters in collected essays and, eventually, to my fifth book. This has the provisional title of Faith, Hope and Charity: Social Relations in England, 1500-1640.

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.

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
  • MA unit (Epiphany term): Negotiating life in early modern England (co-taught with Dr Adrian Green)
  • MA unit (Michaelmas term): Political cultures in early modern England (co-taught with Dr Alex Barber)


Authored book

  • Wood, Andy (2013). The memory of the people: custom and popular senses of the past in early modern England. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wood, Andy (2007). The 1549 rebellions and the making of early modern England. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge and New York.
  • Wood, Andy (2002). Riot, rebellion and popular politics in early modern England. Palgrave: Basingstoke and New York.
  • Wood, Andy (1999). The politics of social conflict: the Peak Country, 1520-1770. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge and New York.

Chapter in book

  • Wood, Andy (2017). ‘Five swans over Littleport: fenland folklore and popular memory, c. 1810-1978'. In After Hobsbawm. Arnold, John & Hilton, Matthew Oxford University Press.
  • 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. 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. 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. Hambledon: 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