Dr Ian W. Archer

Featured Publication

 The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)

The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London

This work engages in the historical debate about the reasons for London's freedom from serious unrest in the later sixteenth century, when the city's rulers faced mounting problems caused by rapid population growth, spiralling prices, impoverishment and crime. One key to the city's stability was that Londoners were locked into a matrix of overlapping communities, the livery companies, wards and parishes, all of which created claims on their loyalties and gave them a framework within which redress of grievances could be pursued. The highly developed structures of government in the capital also enjoyed considerable success in mobilising resources for poor relief, while the authorities so impotent against it, as the traditional accounts would suggest. This is the first effort at a holistic approach to interpreting early modern London society, based on the full range of London sources.


​Research interests:

  • Early Modern London
  • Uses of History in Early Modern Britain
  • English Social and Cultural History, 1500-1700
  • English Political History, 1550-1640

I have researched mainly on various aspects of early modern London, exploring issues such as social welfare, crime, popular politics, taxation, relations with the state. More recently I have turned to cultural aspects, working on Londoners’ sense of their past, and this led me into a major collaborative project on Holinshed’s Chronicles, which resulted in a parallel text electronic edition (http://www.cems.ox.ac.uk/holinshed/) and, and interdisciplinary volume of essays, The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed’s Chronicles (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), co-edited with Felicity Heal and Paulina Kewes.  I have articles in preparation on royal entries and lord mayor’s shows. I have edited various texts relating to early modern London, including most recently a perambulation of the city by a French speaker, The Singularities of London, 1578 (London: London Topographical Society, 2014). My current ‘big project’ is a book on London, 1550-1700, covering all aspects of the city’s remarkable transformation from being a satellite city on the fringes of Europe to a global city.


  • Latins and Greeks in the Venetian Colonies of the Eastern Mediterranean

  • 'Royal Entries, the City of London, and the Politics of Stuart Successions'

  • 150 Years of Royal Historical Society Publishing

  • The Lord Mayors’ Shows, Processions, and Civic Culture, 1550-1700

  • Elizabethan chroniclers and parliament

  • Records of Early English Drama: Civic London to 1558, ed. Anne Lancashire

  • The History of the Haberdashers' Company

  • Sheila Sweetinburgh (ed.), Negotiating the Political in Northern European Urban Society, c. 1400 – c. 1600. Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and Renaissance 38. Tempe, Arizona: Brepols, 2013. ix + 227pp. 9 figures. €55.00 hbk.

  • The Singularities of London, 1578

  • The Album Amicorum & the London of Shakespeare's Time. By June Schlueter. (London, England: The British Library, 2011. Pp. xiii, 210. $65.00.)

  • More

Current DPhil Students

  • Ioanna Tsakiropolou

I would be willing to hear from potential DPhil students regarding any of my research interests.

I currently teach:



BH4, GH3, Approaches, Conquest and Colonisation

BH4, GH8, GH9, Representing the city, 1558-1640,Literature and Politics in Early Modern England;
  Government, Politics and Society in England, 1547-1558;
  Disciplines of History