Protestants Dissenters in Hampshire (2013)

Rosalind Johnson
Rosalind Johnson (Winchester) was awarded a PhD for her thesis “Protestant dissenters in Hampshire, c. 1640-c. 1740” in 2013. Using the county of Hampshire as a case study, the thesis considered: radical religion in the period of the Civil Wars and Interregnum; dissatisfaction with the national church in the same period; persecutions of Protestant dissenters after the Restoration; challenges to dissent after 1689; the geographical distribution and social status of dissenters during the period 1660 to 1740. She is currently revising her thesis for publication, assisted by a Gerald Hodgett Award (https://www.woodbrooke.org.uk/pages/gerald-hodgett-award.html). Rosalind is also researching the history of campaigning by Quakers to recognise the legal validity of their marriages.

Thomas Manton

Adam P. Richardson (Leicester): “Thomas Manton among Interregnum and Restoration Presbyterians”
‘This thesis will explore the life and works of the London Presbyterian divine Thomas Manton (1620-1677). Manton was an important figure among moderate Presbyterians in the Cromwellian church, and increasingly so in the early days of the Restoration. He was a leading voice in the Puritan effort to maintain unity with the Congregationalists in addition to all orthodox clergy.  Manton was a member of the London Provincial Assembly, a Trier, and later chaplain to both Cromwell and Charles II. Manton’s education at Oxford, his early clerical experience with Presbyterianism, Civil War events including Manton’s repeated preaching before Parliament, Manton’s connections with the Scottish clergy and nobility, and the relationship of the dissenters to the Church of England should all be explored for their cumulative impact on the London Presbyterians, the godly communities, and Commonwealth and Restoration England.’

The Cromwellian Church

Rebecca Warren (Kent) is working on a thesis on the Church in the 1650s, specifically, the Church Settlement of the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell. She is supervised by Professor Kenneth Fincham at the University of Kent and Professor Stephen Taylor at Durham University.

Clerical Politics in North-Western England, c. 1625-1649

James Mawdesley (Sheffield) is working on a thesis, under the supervision of Prof. Anthony Milton, examining clerical politics in north-western England during the reign of Charles I. He is interested in tracing clerical experiences of Laudianism during the 1630s, and in particular puritan interactions withLaudianism. He is keen to discover how religious attitudes were manifested as choices of allegiance in the first civil war (1642-1646), and how experiences of the war influenced the attempts at religious settlement both during the war and after its end, a famous example from his region being the establishment of classical presbyterianism in Lancashire in 1646. For more information on this project, please visit his web page:


Edmund Calamy (1671-1732) and Moderate Nonconformity

Paul McMenemy (Leicester) is currently working on a thesis attached to the Reliquiae Baxterianae project examining the life and works of Baxter’s abridger, Edmund Calamy. Calamy is a crucial figure in shaping post-Toleration dissent, attempting to define a moderate mainstream and providing nonconformists with a sense of historical identity and continuity. The thesis is supervised by Prof. John Coffey (University of Leicester) and Dr David Wykes (Dr Williams’s Library). More information can be found at this address: http://www.english.qmul.ac.uk/drwilliams/people/mcmenemy.html

The Political Thought of John Owen

Greg McNamus (Leicester), The Political Thought of John Owen” is an analysis of Owen’s contribution to the Edward Stillingfleet controversy (1680-1). This is an ecclesiological contest involving Presbyterian and Congregational respondents to the charge of schism, levelled against all nonconformists. Owen’s ultimate contribution, An Inquiry Concerning Evangelical Churches, is a master stroke of political thought. Emerging from the immediate context are political ideas fundamental to the irreconcilable differences within nonconformity. This study also contributes to the literature dealing with political allegiances in the broader Restoration Crisis.

Restoration Nonconformity

Kinda Skea (Leicester), My research focuses on an alliance between Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists during the Restoration (1660-1688). Why would Nonconformists choose to work together in spite of former animosities? One explanation is the willingness of these Nonconformists factions to tolerate doctrinal differences and focus on doctrines they shared in common. I tabulated a comprehensive listing of more than 12,000 possible future Nonconformist ministers, exceeding the scope of Edmund Calamy.  This new list became my resource to identify familial, professional, geographical and collegiate ministerial networks, and to track the lifelong shift of ministerial ecclesiastical identities. The information within this database challenges established assumptions about the number of ejected ministers, their movements, and the influence these numbers may have exercised on political policy. Eventually, I hope to find an online home for my Nonconformist Ministerial Database that will allow me to continue editing entries and adding names to the ministerial records.

Recent dissertations from the Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies (Dr Williams’s Library/QMUL), supervised by Isabel Rivers and David Wykes

  • Mark Burden, ‘Academical Learning in the Dissenters’ Private Academies, 1660-1720’, PhD awarded 2012
  • Tessa Whitehouse, ‘Isaac Watts and Philip Doddridge: Letters, Lectures and Lives in Eighteenth-Century Dissenting Culture’, PhD awarded 2011
  • Stephen Burley, ‘Hazlitt the Dissenter: Religion, Philosophy, and Politics, 1766-1816’, PhD awarded 2011
  • Simon Mills, ‘Joseph Priestley and the Intellectual Culture of Rational Dissent, 1752-1796’, PhD awarded 2009

2 thoughts on “Dissertations”

  1. I have a question for Rebecca Warren concerning Cromwell – I am trying to verify Wood’s claim (Athenae, 1691) that Manton was one of Cromwell’s chaplains, probably selected in the mid-1650’s. Is there anywhere I might look to discover this record? Many thanks – Adam Richardson

  2. Yes – it’s an interesting question, I agree. I don’t have a primary source for this suggestion, and a quick trawl of the obvious sources hasn’t helped. Wood and the memoir attached to the second edition of Manton’s ‘Works’ seem to be the secondary source of origin of the idea, though the memoir clearly comes from Wood anyway. I wonder if Wood heard that Manton had preached for Cromwell at the time of his taking on the protectorship and made the assumption that therefore he was taken on as a chaplain for some time? Just a thought.

    If/when you find out, please do let me know! Sorry I can’t help.

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