Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Exeter
Website URL
Early modern, social history, economic history, gender, women, servants, community, travel, mobility, space, family, life cycle
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a social and economic historian of early modern England. My research interests lie at the intersection of the histories of work, gender and community and my work is primarily concerned with recovering the everyday experiences and socio-economic identities of ordinary people using court records.

I am currently employed as a Research Associate on the Leverhulme-funded project ‘Women’s Work in Rural England, 1500-1700’ with Professor Jane Whittle.

My doctoral thesis explored the experiences of female servants in early modern England. Analysing service from demographic, geographical, economic and social perspectives using evidence from church court depositions, it presented a richer, more textured picture of female service, moving beyond its conceptualisation as domestic and highlighting the important role that women in service played in the early modern community. This thesis makes an important intervention in early modern British social history, raising fundamental questions about how historians understand women, community and work.

My second project titled ‘Everyday travel and mobility in England, 1550-1650’ has developed from my doctoral work on servant mobility and interest in community and sense of place. Existing scholarship has identified high parish population turnover and characterised early modern society as highly migratory. Yet despite this mobility, historians continue to locate community within a highly localised framework, assuming that early modern social and economic life largely played out within the arbitrary boundaries of the administrative parish. This project draws upon depositional evidence to recover patterns of everyday travel and mobility and reconstructs social and economic networks irrespective of parish boundaries in order to locate people’s sense of ‘community’.


Recent Publications

‘Female servants and the village community in south-west England 1560-1640: the labour laws reconsidered’ in J. Whittle (ed.), Servants in Rural Europe, c.1400-1900, (Boydell, 2017), pp.77-94.

‘The variety of women’s experiences as servants in early modern England: evidence from church court depositions’, Continuity and Change, 33:3 (forthcoming, December 2018).



Media Coverage
Country Focus
United Kingdom
Expertise by Geography
British Isles
Expertise by Chronology
Pre-17th century, 17th century, Early Modern
Expertise by Topic
Children & Youth, Economic History, Family, Gender, Law, Local & Regional, Migration & Immigration, Sexuality, Women