About Us

The many-headed monster is a collaborative effort focusing on English society and culture in the early modern period, very broadly conceived. Our name comes from the paranoid imaginations of seventeenth-century gentlemen, who often conceived of ‘the common people’ as a monstrous beast that would devour the rich whole if given half a chance.¹ Whilst we do not approve of cannibalism, we do like the idea of trying to understand what society looked like ‘from below’.

brodie2Brodie Waddell emerged from the backwoods of western Canada in 2006. After learning the secrets of the historian’s craft at Warwick, York and Cambridge, he set up shop in the metropolis as Lecturer in Early Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London. His academic work to date has centred on economic life in seventeenth-century England, with occasional diversions into preaching and manor courts. His current obsessions are the economic history of 1688 and the social history of petitioning. You can follow him on twitter: @Brodie_Waddell. When not messing about in classrooms or archives, he can usually be found chasing a giggling (single-headed) monster.

MarkMark Hailwood was born and raised in England’s West Country. He headed east to do his first degree at East Anglia, before moving to the Midlands to undertake postgraduate study at Warwick. His odyssey continued with teaching jobs at Cardiff, Bristol, Exeter, Cambridge, and St Hilda’s College, Oxford, and fellowships at the Institute of Historical Research in London and the Huntington Library in California. He is now back in the South West, working as an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. Mark is interested in the history of industry and idleness. His first book is about alehouses and drinking culture in seventeenth-century England, and he is now working on a project investigating women’s work in the south west of England, 1500-1700. You can follow his adventures on twitter: @mark_hailwood. When not behind his desk or buried in the archives, he likes to head into the Devon hills to work on his batting average.

Laura2Laura Sangha blossomed in Kent, the garden of England, before putting down roots at the University of Warwick as an undergraduate and postgraduate. She was appointed to a Lectureship at the University of Exeter in 2012. Laura works on religious cultures in early modern England, investigating belief and practice during the very ‘long’ Reformation. She is interested in how abstract ideas can have practical influence on society more broadly – what you might call ‘a social history of theology’. Her first book was Angels and Belief in England 1480-1700, and her new project looks at the pious antiquarian Ralph Thoresby, 1658-1725. You can also follow her academic exploits on twitter: @_drsang. Laura supplements these spiritual activities with a strict physical regime of running with wild abandon down the Exe Estuary whilst dodging angry cows.

Jonathan-Willis2Jonathan Willis grew up in Norwich, in the far east (of England), before setting sail for the cooler, wetter climes of the west midlands.  After eight years’ apprenticeship  in the history department at Warwick, he went on a two-year voyage to Durham, where he served in the department of theology and religion, before returning to take up a lectureship in early modern history at the University of Birmingham.  Jonathan’s research centres on the exploration of religious beliefs, practices and identities in England during the long sixteenth century.  His first book looked at the relationship between church music and religious change during the English reformation, and he is currently working on a new project on the reformation of the ten commandments. He’s on twitter too: @drjpwillis. He is ‘assisted’ in these exploits by a pair of mischievous kittens.

Footnotes (because every proper academic blog has footnotes)

¹ Christopher Hill, ‘The Many-Headed Monster in Late Tudor and Early Stuart Political Thinking’, in C.H. Carter (ed.), From the Renaissance to the Counter-Reformation: Essays in Honour of Garrett Mattingley (New York, 1965), and reprinted in Hill, Change and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century England (rev. ed., New Haven, 1991), pp.181-204. Discussed on this blog in ‘Christopher Hill, class hatred and the many-headed monster‘.

Comments Policy

We welcome comments and questions on almost anything, just don’t expect us to respond politely to queries about Henry VIII’s wives.

Feedback, including direct criticism, is especially important to us as scholars. Blogging doesn’t come equipped with pre-publication peer-review, so we are relying on you to let us know when we make mistakes and to pass along information that we miss. Just try to keep it civil – we don’t want to descend into the vitriolic rhetoric typical of early modern controversies.

Our main condition is that commenters contribute something useful to the discussion we’re trying to have, scholarly or otherwise. Insults (unless they’re funny), spam and anything wildly off-topic may be deleted without warning.

That said, we are also often inattentive and indecisive, so comments may wallow in the purgatory of ‘moderation’ for a couple of days. Don’t take it personally.

9 thoughts on “About Us

  1. Pingback: Welcome! | the many-headed monster

  2. I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered your blog: it’s great. Although not a Hindleite in the proper sense, I have been hugely influenced by reading Steve’s work so it’s really interesting to see how others have been inspired in their own research by him.

    Thank you too for the blogroll link, I am always simultaneously flattered and terrified when proper historians chance upon my site. Oh and Brodie: when you start at Birkbeck tell Laura Stewart that Nick from the 2007-2009 early modern MA intake says hello!

    • Thanks, Nick. Very glad to hear you’re finding it interesting. We’ve certainly been enjoying your posts.

      To tell you the truth, I don’t think either of us are proper ‘Hindleites’ either – we disagree with him fairly regularly after all – but since he was our supervisor it would be impossible to deny his influence.

      I’ll pass along your greetings to Laura at Birkbeck. Although I’ve only chatted with her a few times so far, she’s been great and I’m looking forward to many more conversations to come.

      – Brodie

  3. Great blog! Thanks for the reference in your latest post. I’m also flattered as Nick is by the attention from real trained historians! I hadn’t realised however that my blog was anonymous, I shall amend that today. Ian

  4. Pingback: Blogging Our Criminal Past, part 2: history turned upside down? | Conviction

  5. I absolutely love this site. I only discovered it yesterday and it has been a total time vampire. I have been reading it for hours. Thank you for your wonderful blogs. This will be one blog I check all of the time for new material. Keep up the great work!

  6. Pingback: Towards the finish line… | Ruth's Adventures In Research

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