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Durham University

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Dr Tom Hamilton

Assistant Professor (Early Modern European History) in the Department of History
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 47352

(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 explores the role of criminal justice in the legal culture of the ancien régime. As part of this larger project I am working on a range of topics, including hearsay evidence and oral culture, the material culture of theft, tacit toleration of sexual crimes, and memories of violence in 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. 

Recently I have enjoyed collaborating with early modernists in History, Literature, and Music. 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 Groups

Department of History

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

  • Hamilton, Tom & Hammond, Nicholas (2019). Soundscapes. Early Modern French Studies, 41 (1).

Journal Article

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