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’.
Brodie 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.
Mark 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 research fellowships at the Institute of Historical Research in London, the Huntington Library in California, and the University of Exeter. He has now returned to his hometown as a Lecturer in History 1400-1700 at the University of Bristol. 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 in front of his class, he likes to head into the Devon hills to bowl gentle away-swingers.
Laura 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 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‘.
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