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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:

Dr Tom Hamilton

(email at

I work on the social and cultural history of early modern Europe, with a particular focus on France. My book, Pierre de L’Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion, interprets France’s troubles from the perspective of an extraordinary diarist and collector, Pierre de L'Estoile (1546-1611), who lived through the civil wars in Paris and shaped how they have been remembered ever since. My current research, funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grant, explores the role of criminal justice in the legal culture of the ancien régime. Recent and forthcoming publications related to this project have focused on political crime and sedition, public execution rituals, tacit toleration of sexual crimes, and violent crime at the end of the Wars of Religion.

Before coming to Durham in 2018, I studied History as an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and as a graduate student at New College, Oxford. After completing my doctorate, I taught at Hertford College, Oxford, and held research fellowships at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main. 

I enjoy collaborating with early modernists across the humanities. With colleagues in Durham I am part of a project about French Books and their European Readers, 1500-1700, focusing on the circulation and impact of the seditious literature generated by the Wars of Religion. In 2018 I co-organised two conferences in Cambridge which resulted in a co-edited special issue on Soundscapes in early modern France and an episode of the Early Music Show on BBC Radio 3 about The Sacred Works of Claude Le Jeune.

I am happy to supervise graduate students working on topics in early modern French history, and in early modern social and cultural history more generally.

Research Interests

  • Criminal justice
  • France c.1500-c.1800
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Memory
  • Violence
  • Visual and material culture

Selected Publications

Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited Journal

Journal Article

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