Dr John Emrys Morgan

Lecturer in Early Modern History

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Research interests

Early modern flooding

I am currently revising my doctoral thesis into a monograph. This project looks at flooding in England from 1500-1700, asking how did people understand, prepare for, mitigate against and utilize flooding? Using the rich but neglected records of Commissions of Sewers, along with more familiar local and national manuscript sources, evidence from print culture and information from the historical environment record, this project sheds new light on how early modern people experienced flooding during an age of climatic, legal and social upheaval.


Internal Drainage Boards

Together with Prof. Greg Bankoff (Hull) and Dr Leona Skelton (Northumbria), I am co-investigator on an AHRC-funded project, 'Past Floods Matter' (2017-2020). We are exploring how Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) have shaped the land and flood-scapes of England since the eighteenth century, and the extent to which they have fostered community resilience. The project is policy-oriented, and we are working with a number of stakeholders, including the Environment Agency and the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA). The full project title is 'Local Governance and Community Resilience: How Internal Drainage Boards and Communities Managed Flooding in England'.


Environment and emotion

Working with Prof. Sasha HandleyDr James Bowen, and the John Rylands Library, I am currently exploring the links between environment and emotion through the Library's rich collections of estate papers. This research has been supported by funding from the John Rylands Research Institute.


Water management

I am also currently working on the history of water management in the early modern period. Using the records of local dikereeves in eastern England, I am piecing together how local communities managed flood risk and drainage in coastal and lowland landscapes. I am particularly interested in the economic costs of water management, and how these impacted on local economic development. A second strand looks at how water was managed comparatively in early modern England and France.



I am also interested in the history of the role and growth of the state, particularly at the local scale, the history of Romani Gypsies in Britain, and the history of the parish. I have previously researched and published on urban fires in early modern England, so-called 'Egyptians' in early modern England, and the reaction of parish clergy to the Elizabethan religious settlement.


Research and projects

No past projects are available for public display