Early and modern religious history, especially history of high church Anglicanism, the Oxford Movement and Tractarianism, John Henry Newman studies, Reformation historiography and legacies, history of 18th & 19th century English Catholicism, Protestant Nonconformity, Evangelicalism, Methodism and Wesley Studies (especially John and Charles Wesley), history of Universities (especially the University of Oxford).
I received my MA and Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, in 1975 and 1982 respectively, studying at Worcester College and St Cross College. My Oxford D.Phil thesis was entitled 'Continuity & Change in Anglican High-Churchmanship in Britain, 1792-1850'. A heavily revised and expanded version of this was published by Cambridge University Press in 1994 (paperback 1997) under the itle: The Oxford Movement in Context: Anglican High Churchmanship in Britain, 1760-1857. My many other publications include a contribution to a History of Canterbury Cathedral (Oxford University Press 1995), to volume 6 of the History of the University of Oxford (Oxford University Press 1997), two major chapters in Oriel College: A History (Oxford University Press 2013), and I was a contributor and the co-editor with Stewart J. Brown of The Oxford Movement: Europe and the Wider World 1830-1930 (Cambridge University Press 2012). I was co-editor of a themed issue of the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library (volume 90:1) published in 2014 under the title Reinventing the Reformation. I was a contributor to and editor with Professor Stewart J. Brown & the Rev. James S. Pereiro of the Oxford Handbook of the Oxford Movement, published by Oxford University Press in June 2017. I was also a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of John Henry Newman published by OUP in October 2018.
I was an Assistant Librarian and Librarian at the John Rylands Library, University of Manchester from December 1979 until 30 September 2016, from 1990 being a curator in Special Collections at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate, with responsibility for the Methodist collections for many years and Librarian in Rare Books & Maps, Special Collections, with responsibility for all theological book collections, 2010-16.
I was a Visiting Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, 2006-11. I have been an Honorary Research Fellow (HRF) in the Department, then Division of Religions & Theology, University of Manchester, since 1999 (confirmed 2007), and an Honorary Research Felow in the School of Arts Languages & Cultures, since February 2014. I am on the Council of the Catholic Record Society (CRS) and was CRS Conference Director, 1996-2007. I am a member of the Association of British Theological & Philosophical Libraries (ABTAPL), the Religious Archives Group (RAG), the Ecclesiastical History Society (EHS), the Church of England Record Society, and I am a Board member and Honorary Fellow of the Wesley Research Centre at the Nazarene Theological College (NTC), Didsbury, and I am on the Advisory Board of the Oxford Centre for Methodism & Church History, Oxford Brookes University. I am also on the editorial board of the journal 'Wesley and Methodist Studies'. I have given academic seminar papers and lectures widely in Europe (France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden) and North America over the last 25 years. I am on the editorial board of the Newman Studies Journal (NSJ) and I was invited to lecture and to a research visit and stay at the National Institute for Newman Studies (NINS) at Pittsburgh, PA, during autumn 2021, now delayed until Spring 2022 or Fall 2022 due to Covid-19.
I have examined over a dozen doctoral theses during my career, more recently for the University of Manchester at the Nazarene Theological College, Didsbury. I was an external examiner for a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Leuven and on the examining panel at a public defense which took place place in February 2019. I was recently given the Gaillot Award, an award bestowed by the board of the National Institute for Newman Studies (NINS) at Pittsburgh, Pa., USA, in 'recognition of a lifetime achievement in promoting the life and thought of Cardinal (now Saint) John Henry Newman'. I finally received this Award from NINS in September 2021. I am due to give the Gaillot lecture at the NINS Newman Spring Symposium in March 2022. I have acted as a peer reviewer of articles submitted for a number of academic journals.
In June 2021 I had the honour of being the recipient of a festschrift volume entitled 'Religion in Britain, 1660-1900', guest edited by William Gibson and Geordan Hammond, in a special themed issue of the 'Bulletin of the John Rylands Library', volume 97/1 (Spring, 2021). There was an online Zoom seminar celebration event on 5 June 2021. In May 2022 I attended the festschrift celebration of Professor Terrence Merrigan at the University of Leuven, as a contributor to this festschrift, now just published (Peeters, Leuven). I am currently contributing a long essay contribution for a festschrift for Emeritus Professor Brown Patterson, of the University of the South, Sewanee, TN.