Department of Humanities

Visiting address
301 Howard, Digby Stuart

Biography

I studied history at Balliol College, Oxford where I completed a doctorate on oaths of allegiance in seventeenth-century England. In 2000 I was appointed De Velling Willis Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield. Since then I have taught at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool. In September 2009 joined Roehampton as Reader in Early Modern History. In 2014 I was appointed to a personal chair at Roehampton.

Qualifications

MA D.Phil (Oxon)

Research interests

I am interested in the political and religious history of seventeenth-century England, especially during its two revolutions. Specific areas of interest include political and religious radicalism (including its subsequent influence and public memory), questions of allegiance/obedience/loyalty, the role of the conscience and the use of casuistry in political debates, and the emergence of the public and public opinion.

I am happy to supervise PhD projects on any aspect of early modern English history, but especially in the areas of popular politics, print culture, political ideas and religious controversy. I would be particularly keen to work with doctoral students on PhD projects relating to the historiography and memory of the civil wars and revolution or on projects using 'subscriptional texts' such as oath returns, petitions and addresses. PhD topics previously supervised include witchcraft in early modern Lancashire, the visual language of kingship in seventeenth-century England and the Queen's House, Greenwich 1603-1642.

Research projects

My latest book, Loyalty, Memory and Public Opinion in England, 1658-1727 (Manchester University Press, 2019) explores the construction of popular loyalty in late Stuart and early Hanoverian England, focusing on the use of loyal addresses (petition-like documents sent by communities to both Parliament and the Crown.) As part of this project, I have also examined the last exercise in mass public oath-taking in early modern England, the oaths of allegiance to George I tendered in 1723. Thanks to the support of the Marc Fitch Fund, I have been given some funding to produce an electronic finding list of these documents which are of great value to family and local historians as well as to those interested in the history of loyalty and allegiance. The project has its own website which includes the most up to date version of the finding list. Comments and new information can be added to a copy of the list which can be found here. My article on the 1723 oaths has been published in the Historical Journal and an open access copy is available through Roehampton PURE.

I have also published recently on the impact, memory and representation of the radicalism of the English Revolution and, having researched the 'afterlife' of the Leveller leader John Lilburne, I am now exploring the commemoration of the English regicides (the men who signed Charles I's death warrant.) You can listen to a podcast of a recent lecture I gave on the subject here. As part of this research I was awarded a visiting fellowship at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University to explore the papers of the eighteenth-century historian of the regicides, Mark Noble. As part of this project, I have also edited a collection on the memory of early modern revolutions, published by Routledge, 'Remembering early modern revolutions: England, North America, France and Haiti', published in 2018.

My most recent research examines the role of the witnesses at Charles I's trial and the importance of the idea of 'witnessing' to the regicide. This research is part of a broader project which looks at the relationship between the High Court of Justice created in 1649 and contemporary political ideas. It will interrogate the assumption that the motivations for creating the court were essentially pragmatic, driven by a desire to avoid the potential pitfalls of jury trials. Instead, it will consider how far the development of the court was influenced by radical arguments for legal reform, including those advanced by the Levellers and their supporters.

I am also interested in supporting the professional development of history teachers and helping students bridge the gap between school/college and university. I regularly give talks to schools and historical association branches, and work with organisations such as the Prince's Teaching Institute. I was involved in collaborative project with colleagues at Edge Hill University, funded by the Higher Education Academy, which looked at developing undergraduate history students' research skills through online learning platforms. You can find out more about that project and the project members here. You can explore a number of resources and tools developed through the project by enrolling on our 'Historical Enquiry' moodle site here. (Click on 'create new account' and follow the set-up instructions, then self-enroll on the 'Historical Enquiry' module). Our research was featured on an August 2014 edition of BBC Radio 4's 'Making History'. A link to the episode can be found here.

 

Professional affiliations

AHRC Peer Review College Member

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Historical Association Member

Consultancy work

The history of early modern England, especially the civil wars and the revolution of 1688. I also have broader interests in the history of radicalism and protest in Britain.

I acted as a historical consultant on the BBC documentary 'Roundhead or Cavalier?' (first broadcast May 2012). I have also appeared as a contributor on a number of historical programmes on British, Dutch and French radio and television, including two episodes of 'Who Do You Think You Are?', the most recent, featuring Nick Hewer, broadcast August 2013.

Teaching

I teach on both Roehampton's BA and MA History programmes, as well as supervising PhD students. I am also Director of the Graduate School at Roehampton. My modules include a year two course on later Stuart political culture, Sex, Lies and Cheap Print, and a third-year module on the civil war, Radicalism in the English Revolution.

Links

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