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Durham University

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Fergal Leonard

Faction, Patronage, and Political Networks in the West March, 1569 – 1603 in the Department of History

Contact Fergal Leonard (email at fergal.leonard@durham.ac.uk)

Project overview

My project explores how regional political culture developed over the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and how political networks within regions interacted with, and were integrated into, the national-level political networks centred on the queen, her court, and the privy council. It uses the marcher community of Cumberland and Westmoreland as a case study for how one region, geographically and politically isolated but with national significance as a key frontier area, was integrated into the wider political community of Elizabethan England.

I am grateful to the Wolfson Foundation, whose funding has made my research possible.

Research interests

I am interested in political engagement across the social spectrum, especially that which showed awareness of the dynamics of court politics. As part of this, I explore popular participation in regional governance, and cooperation with the administrative and judicial apparatus of the early modern state. My own focus is on a region with a strong character of a semi-militarised frontier zone, and I am interested in the study of frontiers and border regions throughout Europe and the wider world.

Seminars and conferences

  • The “auncient enemie”, “commone enymies”, and “badd borderers”: national identity and national loyalty on the Anglo-Scottish frontier, 1580 – 1603. (‘Enemies in the early modern world’ digital conference, March 2021).

  • Borderers, surnames, and “Ryders and ill doers”: the identification of an unruly ‘other’ on the Anglo-Scottish frontier, 1570 – 1603 (Newcastle Postgraduate Forum seminar, October 2021).

  • In hunt of strange gods: Henry Leigh and the pursuit of preferment in the English and Scottish courts, 1585 – 1603 (Durham Early Modern Conference, June 2020; abridged paper presented online after the cancellation of DEMC 2020).

  • "The poor people cry and call for you and your blood to rule them": The Dacre tenantry and the politics of protest, resistance, and rebellion, 1566 – 1570 (MEMSA seminar, February 2020).

  • “Addicted to a Dacre”: Leonard Dare, the Rising of the North, and the politics of rebellion (Durham-Münster joint workshop, WWU Münster, November 2019).

  • “A good subject for the current time”: the political and confessional loyalties of Henry Leigh, 1590 – 1603 (‘From Rebellion to Reconciliation’ conference, Durham University, September 2019).

  • “Such ordinary company of evil men”: the experience of travel, ambition, and opportunity, 1590 – 1603 ('Travel, movement, and exploration in the medieval and early modern world’, MEMSA 13th annual postgraduate conference, Durham University, July 2019).

  • “The insolencies of the Grahams”: authority and order on the Anglo-Scottish frontier, 1593 – 1603 (Newcastle Postgraduate Forum conference, May 2019).

Is supervised by