Principal Investigator

Professor Malcolm Gaskill

gaskill_newMalcolm is Professor of Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. His doctoral research focused on attitudes to crime in early modern England, after which he lectured at four UK universities. Between 1999 and 2007 he was Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge. He has worked on a range of subjects from the social history of the law in the seventeenth century to twentieth-century spiritualism and mediumship, and has written five books: Crime and Mentalities in Early Modern England (2000); Hellish Nell: Last of Britain’s Witches (2001); Witchfinders: A Seventeenth-Century Tragedy (2005); Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction (2010); and most recently Between Two Worlds: How the English Became Americans (2015), a study of transatlantic culture and identity. He is currently writing the chapter on ‘communities’ for the Cambridge Social History of England, 1500–1750 and an article about witchcraft and emotions, and is researching a book about witchcraft accusations in the New England township of Springfield. Read Malcolm’s blog posts.


Dr Sophie Page

page_newSophie is a Senior Lecturer in the History Department at University College London. She studied at the Warburg Institute, where she undertook doctoral research on magic in Canterbury in the late Middle Ages, and was subsequently elected a Junior Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. Her research focuses upon European medieval magic and astrology in the light of contemporary religious, philosophical, medical, and cosmological thought. She is also interested in the imagery of medieval magic, especially diagrams, and the history of animals in the Middle Ages. Her publications include an edited collection, The Unorthodox Imagination in Late Medieval Britain (Manchester University Press), articles on learned magic, astrology and the cultural history of animals, and two books with the British Library: Astrology in Medieval Manuscripts and Magic in Medieval Manuscripts. Her most recent book is Magic in the Cloister: Pious Motives, Illicit Interests, and Occult Approaches to the Medieval Universe (Penn State Press, 2013). Read Sophie’s blog posts.

Professor Owen Davies / @odavies9

davies_newOwen is Professor of Social History at the University of Hertfordshire. Much of his work concerns the belief in witchcraft, magic, ghosts, and popular medicine in local, national, and global contexts. He also has interests in landscape history, heritage, and public history. His most recent major work is America Bewitched: the Story of Witchcraft after Salem (OUP, 2013), which explores the nature and strength of witchcraft beliefs in American society from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, including detailed accounts of the murder and abuse of suspected witches in European, Native American, and African American communities. This follows on from Grimoires: a History of Magic Books (OUP, 2009), which traces the development of grimoires and the conjurations and spells they contained from ancient Egypt to modern America, and from Europe to the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. He is currently also a Co-Investigator for the AHRC Everyday Lives in War Engagement Centre. Read Owen’s blog posts.

Research Associates

Dr Kathleen Walker-Meikle

walker-meikle_newKathleen is a Research Associate at University College London, working with Sophie Page. Her research interests include medicine, natural history and magic, concentrating particularly on the relationship between animals and humans. She received her PhD from University College London, the thesis for which became a monograph, Medieval Pets (Boydell & Brewer, 2012), the first ever social and cultural study of companion animals in the late medieval period. Apart from research articles, she is currently writing a book, based on research carried out in the course of a Wellcome Trust fellowship grant, on how learned medical authorities understood animal toxicology and treated bites and other wounds caused by animals. Kathleen also has a strong interest in the digital humanities, manuscript studies, and palaeography, and is co-authoring a digital edition of the late eleventh-century ‘Antidotarium magnum’ (with Professor Monica Green of Arizona State University), an extensive and highly influential collection of medical recipes, which introduced the Arabic materia medica to Western pharmacology.  She is also interested in public engagement with history, and has written four popular history books on cats and dogs. Read Kathleen’s blog posts.

Dr Ceri Houlbrook / @CeriHoulbrook

houlbrook_newCeri is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Hertfordshire, working with Owen Davies. She completed her undergraduate degree in Classical Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2008; her MA in ‘Constructions of the Sacred, the Holy, and the Supernatural’ at the University of Manchester in 2011; and her Archaeology PhD at the University of Manchester in 2014. Her doctoral research focused on the folklore and heritage of coin-trees in the British Isles, published in journals such as Folklore, Journal of Material Culture, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology and Post-Medieval Archaeology. She also co-edited The Materiality of Magic: An Artefactual Investigation into Ritual Practices and Popular Beliefs (Oxbow, 2015), and is currently editing a special issue of Journal of Material Religion entitled ‘Cataloguing Magic: The Complex Biographies of Ritual Objects in Museum Contexts’. Her primary research interests are early modern and contemporary folklore, and the archaeology and heritage of ritual deposits. Read Ceri’s blog posts.

Dr James Brown / @dr_jrbrown

brownJames is a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia, working with Malcolm Gaskill. He is a historian of early modern England, with a special interest in intoxication and drinking cultures. He received his doctorate at the University of Warwick in 2008 for a thesis on ‘The Landscape of Drink: Inns, Taverns, and Alehouses in Early Modern Southampton’, and has published on various aspects of drink and drinking in early modern urban communities, including ‘Brewers’ Tales: Making, Retailing, and Regulating Beer in Southampton, 1550–1700′, Brewery History (2010): 10–39; and ‘Alehouse Licensing and State Formation in Early Modern England’, in P. Withington et al, Intoxication and Society: Problematic Pleasures of Drugs and Alcohol (Basingstoke, 2013), pp. 110–132. Between 2013 and 2016 he was lead Research Associate on Intoxicants and Early Modernity: England, 1580–1740 (ESRC, University of Sheffield), based at the Digital Humanities Institute. He has also worked on early modern practices of registration and identity documentation (co-editing Identification and Registration Practices in Transnational Perspective [Basingstoke & New York, 2013]), and has a long-standing interest in the digital humanities and project management; before joining DHI Sheffield, he coordinated Cultures of Knowledge: Networking the Republic of Letters, 1550-1750 (Mellon Foundation, University of Oxford) between 2009 and 2013. Read James’s blog posts.