BA (Oxford); DPhil (Oxford)

Academic background

I read History as an undergraduate at New College, Oxford, and was then awarded a Harlech scholarship to study at Harvard for a year. I returned to New College for my DPhil, after which I was elected to a Research Fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. In 2009 I was appointed Student and Tutor at Christ Church.

Undergraduate teaching

My teaching covers early modern Britain and Europe, including papers on ‘The Crisis of the Reformation: 1560-1610’; ‘Literature and Politics from Thomas More to Andrew Marvell’, and on the British Civil Wars and Revolution period.

Research interests

My research is focused on intellectual, religious and political history in the early modern period.   I am especially interested in the relationship between political thought and religious ideas, in the aftermath of the Reformation and after the discovery of the New World.  The sixteenth century saw the development of new ideas about salvation, about political life and about what it means to be human; after Luther, Machiavelli and Christopher Columbus the intellectual and political landscape looked very different.  I am exploring how people coped with these new ideas and political realities in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. 

Featured publications

‘Sacrifice and the limits of sovereignty 1589-1613’, History of European Ideas (2023) 

‘Christian time and the commonwealth in early modern political thought’ in Time, History, and Political Thought edited by John Robertson (CUP, 2023) 

Reformation, Resistance, and Reason of State: the Oxford History of Political Thought 1517-1625 (OUP, 2021) 

‘Christianity and Civil Religion in Hobbes's Leviathan’ in the Oxford Handbook of Thomas Hobbes (2016) 

Co-edited with John Robertson, The Intellectual Consequences of Religious Heterodoxy in Europe (Brill, 2011) 

Reason and Religion in the English Revolution: The Challenge of Socinianism (Cambridge, 2010). 

Impact of the Reformation

I have set up a website to give students a sense of how the Reformation changed the nature of worship in the parishes; it has lots of pictures of what Church services might have looked like under Henry VIII, Elizabeth and Charles I.  It can be found at https://impact.history.ox.ac.uk/.