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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 insolencies of the Grahams": authority and order on the Anglo-Scottish frontier, 1593 – 1603. (Newcastle Postgraduate Forum conference on the theme of ‘conflict’, Newcastle University, May 2019).
  • "Such ordinary company of evil men": the experience of travel, ambition, and opportunity, 1590 – 1603. (Medieval and Early Modern Student Association conference, ‘Travel, Movement and Exploration in the Early Modern World’, Durham University, July 2019).
  • "A good subject for the current time": the political and confessional loyalties of Henry Leigh. (Centres for Anglican and Catholic Studies conference, ‘From Rebellion to Reconciliation’, Durham University, September 2019).
  • "Addicted to a Dacre": Leonard Dacre, the Rising of the North, and the politics of rebellion. (Durham-Münster joint workshop, WWU Münster, November 2019).
  • "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. (MEMSA seminar, February 2020).
  • In Hunt of Strange Gods: Henry Leigh and the Pursuit of Preferment in the English and Scottish Courts, 1585 – 1603. (Paper overview presented online after the cancellation of Durham Early Modern Conference 2020; full paper will be delivered at DEMC 2021).

Is supervised by