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Julia Merritt

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

I am happy to supervise postgraduate work on all aspects of English religious and political culture and the social and urban history of early modern England.

Much of my work has focused on early modern London and these interests in urban history are reflected in a number of activities: I serve on the advisory board of the Pre-Modern Towns, (which organizes the yearly Pre-Modern Towns Conference) and I also convene the Medieval and Tudor London seminar, held at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.

Teaching Summary

My teaching reflects my research interests in early modern religion, politics and cultural history. My second year option, A Protestant Nation? Politics, Religion and Culture in England, 1558-1640,… read more

Research Summary

The Social World of Early Modern Westminster

My research interests lie in the intersections between the social, religious and cultural history of early modern England, with particular reference to the history of London. My first monograph, The Social World of Early Modern Westminster: Abbey, Court and Community, 1525-1640 (2005), explored themes ranging from the impact of the Reformation and the early development of the West End to the social history of the royal court, the competing use of space by different social groups, and the impact of plague and poverty. I have also worked on perceptions of early modern London--most notably in the work of John Stow and his successors, including an online edition of John Strype's famous 1720 edition of the Survey of London (2007)--and the political career of Charles I's minister, Thomas Wentworth, earl of Strafford. (see publications)

My most recent monograph, Westminster 1640-1660: A Royal City in a Time of Revolution (2013), investigates the varied and fascinating ways that this area-traditionally home to the royal court, the fashionable West End and parliament-became the seat of successive, non-monarchical regimes of the 1640s and 1650s. In doing so it uncovers previously unknown features of the capital's political heart during these revolutionary decades, ie. the impact of militarization, the fluctuating fortunes of the aristocratic West End, and the complex and dynamic character of religious life. It also uncovers the hitherto unstudied story of the appropriation of Westminster Abbey by governments of the day and its use for ceremonial purposes to legitimate their authority.

Current Research

A main focus of my current research is the complex relationship between religion and urban society. This is the focus of articles and a monograph- provisionally entitled Sacred and Profane in Early Modern London--which investigates the ways in which the boundaries of the sacred--with regard to space, time and people--were contested, redrawn and renegotiated over this period, as revealed in a range of social and cultural practices in the early modern capital.

Articles forthcoming or in progress include:

'Monarchy, Revolution and the Struggle for Legitimacy: Westminster Abbey in the Stuart Century 1603-1714', in David Cannadine, ed. Westminster Abbey and the Nation (Yale University Press, forthcoming 2019)

'Urban Culture, Associational Life and the Westminster Military Company'

'Rethinking the Language of Charity in Early Modern England'

Imagining Early Modern London

I continue to be interested in social, cultural and spatial developments in the metropolis during the seventeenth century, especially the social and cultural impact of the gentry and aristocracy.

Thomas Wentworth Earl of StraffordSupervision

I would be happy to supervise research on any aspect of the social, religious, cultural and urban history of early modern England, and would particularly welcome enquiries from anyone wishing to study early modern London.

Research-Related Administrative Roles

I have been a member of the AHRC Peer Review College since 2013 and have been reappointed for a second term. I have also served on Panel A for the assessment of PhD applications to the Midlands 3 Cities consortia since 2015.

I served as Department of History's Director of Research from September 2013-February 2016, sitting on the School of Humanities Research Committe during this period.

John Strype's Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster

Selected Publications

My teaching reflects my research interests in early modern religion, politics and cultural history. My second year option, A Protestant Nation? Politics, Religion and Culture in England, 1558-1640, charts the problematic impact of religious change in the period 1560-1640. My Special Subject, From Gunpowder Plot to Spanish Match: The Reign of James I (1603-1625) deals with the interplay of politics and religion, examining parliamentary politics, religious identity and co-existence, and the emergence of print culture and popular politics. It draws on a wide range primary sources, such as letters, diaries, speeches, printed pamphlets, popular libels and visual sources. At MA level, I devised the module Exploring English Identity and also teach on the new module for those interested in early modern history, Conflict and Coexistence in Early Modern Europe, where students devise an extended essay around their own particular interests, supervised on a one-to-one basis..

  • J.F. MERRITT, 2019. Monarchy, Protestantism and Revolution, 1603-1714’. In: DAVID CANNADINE, ed., Westminster Abbey: A Church in History Yale University Press. (In Press.)
  • J.F. MERRITT, 2017. 'Religion and the English Parish'. In: Reformation and Identity: The Early Struggle for Anglicanism, c. 1520-1662: The Oxford History of Anglicanism Oxford University Press.
  • MERRITT, J.F., 2013. Westminster 1640-60: a royal city in a time of revolution Manchester University Press.
  • MERRITT, J.F., 2011. Contested legitimacy and the ambiguous rise of vestries in early modern London Historical Journal. 54(1), 25-45
  • MERRITT, J.F., ed., 2007. John Strype's Survey of of the Cities of London and Westminster (1720) HriOnline University of Sheffield.
  • MERRITT, J.F., 2005. The social world of early modern Westminster: abbey, court and community, 1525-1640 Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • MERRITT,J.F., 2003. 'Under the Shadowe of the Church?' The Abbey and the Town of Westminster 1530-1640.. In: KNIGHTON, C.S. and MORTIMER, R., eds., Wesminster Abbey Reformed, 1540-1640 Aldershot : Ashgate. 152-182
  • MERRITT, J.F., 2002. The pastoral tightrope: a puritan pedagogue in Jacobean London. In: COGSWELL, T., CUST, R. and LAKE, P., eds., Politics, religion and popularity in early Stuart Britain: essays in honour of Conrad Russell Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 143-161
  • MERRITT,J.F., 2002. The Cecils and Westminster 1558-1612: the Development of an Urban Power Base. In: CROFT, P., ed., Patronage, culture and power: the early Cecils New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 231-48
  • MERRITT, J.F., 2001. The cradle of Laudianism? Westminster Abbey 1558-1630 Journal of Ecclesiastical History. 52(4), 623-646
  • MERRITT, J., ed., 2001. Imagining early modern London : perceptions and portrayals of the city from Stow to Strype, 1598-1720 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • MERRITT,J.F., 2001. Perceptions and Portrayals of London 1598-1720. In: MERRITT, J.F., ed., Imagining early modern London: perceptions and portrayals of the city from Stow to Strype, 1598-1720 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1-24
  • MERRITT, J.F., 2001. The reshaping of Stow's 'Survey': Munday, Strype and the protestant city. In: MERRITT, J.F., ed., Imagining early modern London: perceptions of the city from Stow to Strype, 1598-1720 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 52-88
  • MERRITT, J.F., 1998. Puritans, Laudians, and the phenomenon of church-building in Jacobean London Historical Journal. 41(4), 935-960
  • MERRITT, J.F., 1996. The Political world of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-1641 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.
  • MERRITT, J.F., 1996. Power and communication: Thomas Wentworth and government at a distance during the Personal Rule, 1629-1635. In: MERRITT, J.F., ed., The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-1641 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. 109-132
  • MERRITT, J.F., 1996. The historical reputation of Thomas Wentworth. In: MERRITT, J.F., ed., The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-1641 Cambridge : Cambridge University Press. 1-23
  • MERRITT, J.F., 1991. Social tensions and the Parish Church in early modern Westminster Urban History Yearbook. Yearbook 18, 20-31

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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