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Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Staff and Governance

To contact the IMEMS administrative office please use the following details:

For the Administrator (maternity cover)


T: 0191 334 6574

For the Administrative Assistant


T: 0191 334 42974


Associate Director (World Heritage): Professor Robin Coningham - view profile

Associate Director: Professor Barbara Ravelhofer - view profile

Core Staff

The day-to-day running of IMEMS is the responsibility of the Core Executive Committee, comprising the Director and Associate Directors and the Administrator. 

Publication details

Scarre, Geoffrey (2016). Fallible infallibility? Gladstone's anti-Vatican pamphlets in the light of Mill's On Liberty. Victorian Literature and Culture 44(02): 223-237.

Author(s) from Durham


When W. E. Gladstone published in November 1874 his spirited pamphlet The Vatican Decrees in their Bearing on Civil Allegiance: A Political Expostulation, he seems to have taken many people by surprise. In its issue of the 21st of that month, Punch printed a cartoon, “An Unexpected Cut” (Figure 1) which portrayed the “Hawarden woodcutter” laying an axe to the stout trunk of a tree labelled “Papal Infallibility,” under the bemused gaze of Mr Punch. To the latter's remark “We didn't expect to find you cutting at that tree, you know,” the ex-Prime Minister dourly retorts: “All right, Mr Punch! I choose my own Trees, and my own Time!” In Gladstone's view, the time was ripe to take a stand against the recent pretensions of the Roman Catholic Church, under the leadership of its aging pontiff Pius IX, to exercise an absolute and unchallengeable authority over the consciences and actions of Catholics.

Full Executive Committee

Our Full Executive Committee is made up of the Core Executive Committee, listed above, plus a number of executive members including:

International Advisory Board

We are extremely fortunate to have be able to call on the help and guidance of colleagues from around the world who help to shape and guide our direction, strategy and international reach. Our current Advisory Board members are: