I am a historian of gender, sexuality and the family in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. My PhD examined stigma towards illegitimate children in England between 1660 and 1834, touching on ideas of masculinity and femininity, parenthood, the nature of kinship, the definitions of class and social status, and the ways in which states seek to regulate family life. I am interested in the mechanisms of social exclusion and shame, and how historians measure their impact on self-esteem and identity. My earlier work examined the importance of marriage in the lives of English Catholics, published in the Journal of Family History (2016). I often work with correspondence and life writings such as diaries or memoirs, as well as print and popular culture sources such as novels, newspapers, ballads and caricatures.
I am currently working on an AHRC funded project, Faith in the Town: Lay Religion, Urbanisation and Industrialisation in England, 1740-1830. This examines the role of religion in the growth of urban towns, and the extent to which religion influenced the daily lives and outlooks of ordinary people in Northern England.