Dr Grant Tapsell

Featured Publication

Revolutionary England, c.1630-c.1660: Essays for Clive Holmes, ed. with George Southcombe (Routledge: London, 2016)

Revolutionary England c.1630 - c.1660


Revolutionary England is a perennially vibrant field of study. The roll-call of events, crises, and changes that electrified mid-seventeenth-century England certainly retains an impressive cumulative force. The descent into civil war, killing of a king, creation of a republic, fits of military government, written constitutions, dominance of Oliver Cromwell, abolition of a state church, eruption into major European conflicts, conquest of Scotland and Ireland, and efflorescence of powerfully articulated political thinking dazzled, bewildered, or appalled contemporaries, and has fascinated scholars ever since. Revolutionary England presents a series of cutting-edge interventions by established and rising authorities in the field. These are intended to honour one of the most respected scholars of early modern England. Clive Holmes has made remarkable contributions to an unusually wide range of fields and subjects of historical enquiry: civil war studies, the history of law, witchcraft, the gentry, and 'popular politics'. Doing full justice to all these subjects in one book would be impossible, but narrowing the chronological field to Clive's mid-seventeenth-century heartland provides a focused volume of essays produced by leading scholars inspired by his scholarship and teaching. Running through the volume are themes that both reflect Clive's own concerns and stand at the centre of current approaches to seventeenth-century studies: the relations between language, ideas, and political actors; the limitations of central government; and the powerful role of religious belief in public affairs.

  • Restoration history (1660-1688)
  • The Church of England in the early modern period
  • Archbishop William Sancroft (1617-93)

My research has been focused on Restoration Britain and Ireland, particularly early Whig and Tory ‘party’ politics in the wake of the Exclusion Crisis. Recently I have worked on the Church of England across the seventeenth century more broadly, and I am currently engaged on a study of William Sancroft (1617-93), Archbishop of Canterbury from 1677/8 to 1690, examining his developing role within the religious disputes that complicated English politics from the 1630s to the 1690s. As a step towards an eventual biography I am editing a book-length collection of Sancroft's letters for the Church of England Record Society.



  • The Letters of William Sancroft 1633-1693

  • Religion and the Government of the Later Stuarts

  • The Church of England, 1662-1714

  • Revolutionary England, C.1630-c.1660 Essays for Clive Holmes

  • 'Parliament', 'liberty', 'taxation', and 'property': The civil war of words in the 1640s

  • Charles II's Commission for Ecclesiastical Promotions, 1681-4: A Reconsideration

  • The Reluctant Chaplain: William Sancroft and the Later Stuart Church

  • The Nature of the English Revolution Revisited

  • 'A British patriarchy? Ecclesiastical imperialism under the later Stuarts

  • The Later Stuart Church, 1660-1714

  • More

Current DPhil Students

  • Sarah Ward (p-t 2012-) The Gentry of North-East Wales c.1640-1688: Power, Religion and Political Networks
  • James Harris (2014-) Politics and Identity in Later Stuart Wales and Cornwall: a Comparative Study
  • Micheline Astley-Boden (2015-) Religious Violence During the English Civil War, 1642-1651
  • Tom Pert (p-t 2015-16; f-t 2016-; with Prof. Peter Wilson) The Palatine Family: Experience of Exile, England and the Thirty Years War, c.1632-49
  • Will White (2016-) Royalist Sermons and Political Theology, 1640 –1661

I am keen to supervise graduate students working on Stuart politics and religion, especially after c.1640.

I currently teach:



History of the British Isles IV: 1500-1700

History of the British Isles IV: 1500-1700

General (European and World) History III: 1400-1650

Special Subject 14: Revolution and Republic, 1647-58

Optional Subject 9: Making England Protestant, 1558-1642

Disciplines of History

Optional Subject 10: Conquest and Colonisation: Spain and America in the Sixteenth Century