North West Early Modern Seminar at Keele University

On Wednesday 29th October the North West Early Modern Seminar gathered at Keele University. We heard some excellent papers and exchanged results from recent research projects and papers. Ann Hughes (Keele University) shared the results from ongoing research into the financial records of the English civil war with some unexpected outcomes for the social and cultural implications of memory and remembrance in the seventeenth century. Sasha Handley (University of Manchester) discussed an intriguing eighteenth century bed sheet and the scientific experiments behind this ongoing research. We closed the papers of the ‘speed-daters’ with Rachel Winchcombe (University of Manchester) who explored the complexities of the ‘fantastical’ concept of El Dorado, with the suggestion that it was more grounded in science and reason than previously considered.

Allan Kennedy

Allan Kennedy (University of Manchester)

Simon Hill

Simon Hill (Liverpool John Moores University)

After a quick break we reconvened for two insightful twenty minute papers. Following on from his recent publication, Governing Gaeldom: The Scottish Highlands and the Restoration State, 1660-1688, Dr Allan Kennedy (University of Manchester) discussed the possibilities of court records from Argyllshire for a social history of Scottish crime. The preliminary research for the project pointed to a moderate and malleable rural judicial system which bucked the trend for a severe and bloody penal code in seventeenth century Scotland. Our second presenter, Simon Hill (Liverpool John Moores University), gave us an insight into his current doctoral research into the privateers of Liverpool in the American War of Independence. The presentation looked at the mechanics of privateering, its economic value to the local and national economy and the interaction between privateers and the state.

We closed the evening with drinks and further discussion in the pub. The next North West Early Modern Seminar will be held at the University of Huddersfield on the 11th March, 3pm. If you would like any information about the upcoming events of the seminar or would like to submit papers for future events please contact the secretary, Rachel Winchcombe at


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