I teach and research the history of later medieval and early modern Britain and Europe. My current research concerns accidental death and everyday life in sixteenth-century England. I have also published in the wider fields of Tudor government, warfare, foreign policy and political culture and the comparison of the English state in this period with others in Europe. I write for BBC History Magazine and History Today, have contributed to radio and television programmes such as In Our Time and Time Team, and speak regularly to Historical Association branches and sixth-form conferences.
Recent publications touching on the different areas of my research include Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales: Life, Death and Commemoration, edited with Linda Monckton (Woodbridge, 2009), 'War and the Emergence of the State: Western Europe 1350-1600', in European Warfare 1350-1750, edited by Frank Tallett and David Trim (Cambridge, 2010), 50-73, Henry VII's New Men and the Making of Tudor England (Oxford, 2016) and The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII (Oxford, 2018), a revised version of the James Ford lectures in British history which I delivered in 2015. Publications derived from the Economic and Social Research Council project of which I am principal investigator, written with Tomasz Gromelski, include 'Deadly beasts of Tudor England', BBC History Magazine, 14/13 (December 2013), 43-7 and ‘Sport and recreation in sixteenth-century England: the evidence of accidental deaths’ in Sports and Physical Exercise in Early Modern Culture, edited by Angela Schattner and Rebekka von Mallinckrodt (Abingdon, 2016), 49-63.
I supervise research students working on later fifteenth- and sixteenth-century English and international history, a number of whose theses have been published in revised form as books. These include P.R. Cavill, The English Parliaments of Henry VII, 1485-1504 (Oxford, 2009); Yuval Harari, Renaissance Military Memoirs: War, History and Identity, 1450-1600 (Woodbridge, 2004); Tracey Sowerby, Renaissance and Reform in Tudor England: The Careers of Sir Richard Morison c.1513-1556 (Oxford, 2010); and Monica Stensland, Habsburg Communication in the Dutch Revolt (Amsterdam, 2012).
Henry VII's New Men and the Making of Tudor England (OUP Oxford, August 2016).
The reign of Henry VII is important but mysterious. He ended the Wars of the Roses and laid the foundations for the strong governments of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Yet his style of rule was unconventional and at times oppressive. At the heart of his regime stood his new men, low-born ministers with legal, financial, political, and military skills who enforced the king's will and in the process built their own careers and their families' fortunes. Some are well known, like Sir Edward Poynings, governor of Ireland, or Empson and Dudley, executed to buy popularity for the young Henry VIII. Others are less famous. Sir Robert Southwell was the king's chief auditor, Sir Andrew Windsor the keeper of the king's wardrobe, Sir Thomas Lovell, the Chancellor of the Exchequer so trusted by Henry that he was allowed to employ the former Yorkist pretender Lambert Simnel as his household falconer. Some paved the way to glory for their relatives. Sir Thomas Brandon, master of the horse, was the uncle of Henry VIII's favourite Charles Brandon, duke of Suffolk. Sir Henry Wyatt, keeper of the jewel house, was father to the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt. This volume, based on extensive archival research, presents a kaleidoscopic portrait of the new men. It analyses the offices and relationships through which they exercised power and the ways they gained their wealth and spent it to sustain their new-found status. It establishes their importance in the operation of Henry's government and, as their careers continued under his son, in the making of Tudor England.
Everyday life and accidental death in sixteenth-century England
The English people at war in the age of Henry VIII
Aristocratic power and the Northern Renaissance
My current research falls into four areas. I am completing Henry VII's New Men and the Making of Tudor England for publication in 2016. This is a study of the lowly-born lawyers, courtiers and financial officials who played a distinctive role in Henry VII's assertive government and in the transition to the reign of Henry VIII. I am Principal Investigator of a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council on 'Everyday life and fatal hazard in sixteenth-century England'. This is analysing some 9,000 coroners' inquests into accidental deaths to see what they tell us about everyday life, work, travel and leisure in Tudor times. I am Co-Investigator in a project funded by the AHRC Science and Heritage programme on 'Representing Re-Formation: Reconstructing Renaissance Monuments'. This project, based primarily in the Art History Department at Leicester University, is reassessing the tombs of the sixteenth-century Howard dukes of Norfolk at Framlingham in Suffolk. My longer-term research on war and society in the England of Henry VIII was presented in the James Ford lectures in British history on 'The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII' in Hilary term 2015 and I am now revising the lectures for publication.