Photo of Professor Jonathan Barry

Professor Jonathan Barry

MA DPhil(Oxon) FRHistS

Professor

4316

01392 724316

My research is on the middling sort and on provincial society and culture in England from 1500 to 1840, with particular emphasis on Bristol and the South West, on towns, and on religious and medical history, including the history of witchcraft. I am happy to supervise on most aspects of early modern history, with particular interest in urban, regional, medical, religious or intellectual history. I am currently a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator in Medical Humanities, leading a research project (with Dr Peter Elmer) on 'The Medical World of Early Modern England, Wales and Ireland c.1500-1715' (2012-17). I co-edit the series Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic, and two of my books have recently appeared in the series, Witchcraft and Demonology in South-West England 1640-1789 (2012) and Raising Spirits (2013). I am co-editor of the Bristol Record Society, and co-organiser of the Pre-Modern Towns Group. I am currently supervising 7 doctoral students, including a collaborative award with Tuckers Hall, Exeter.

Research interests

My research examines the provincial society and culture of England from 1500 to 1840, with particular emphasis on Bristol and the South West, on towns, and on religious and medical history, including the history of witchcraft.

As part of my work as Director of the Centre for Medical History, I received a Wellcome Senior Investigator award (£923,000, 2012-17) for 'The Medical World in Early Modern England, Wales and Ireland c.1500-1715'. I am supported on this project by four Research Fellows, including Dr Peter Elmer as Senior Research Fellow. This will lead to a number of publications, including two monographs, one by myself on medical practice in Bristol c.1500-1800, and the other (with Dr Elmer), on the medical world of early modern Britain. We are also creating an online database of medical practitioners in England, Ireland and Wales c.1500-1715 and other resources for early modern medical history.

I continue to publish on the history of witchcraft and magic, following my two recent books on this subject, both published in the series Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic, which I co-edit with Owen Davies and Willem de Blecourt. I am currently working on the occultist and polymath John Henderson (1757-88), with 2 essays planned on his career, one for a festschrift for the late Prof Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.

I am co-editor of the Bristol Record Society (in 2012 I edited the Diary of William Dyer: Bristol in 1762 for the series) , and I am currently involved in supervising several volumes for publication and will be co-editor for volumes publishing the probate inventories for Bristol held in PCC.

I was also involved in a successful funding application to the EPSRC for 'The Exeter Science Exchange: Trading Ideas to Promote Multi-disciplinary Collaboration' (£600,000,2010-13) as co-investigator responsible for the 'Communications' strand.

Recent and upcoming conference/seminar papers

  • In April 2014 I gave a paper on 'Medical Practice in Bristol, c. 1500 - c. 1800' at the Landscape of Occupations workshop at Exeter and at the European Social Science History Conference in Vienna
  • In April 2013 I gave the Goodrick-Clarke Memorial Lecture at Exeter on John Beaumont and esotericism.
  • I will be giving papers in the coming year (2014-15) at the Intitutute of Historical Research (13 November, on John Henderson), the University of Cambridge (27 November, on Medical Practice in S-West England c.1500-1715), a Bristol conference on Romanticism and Revolution (28 February on More, Henderson and Romanticism in Bristol) and the Regional History Centre seminar series at the M-Shed Bristol (19 March, on my recent book, Raising Spirits), and attending a workshop in Malta on an AHRC-funded project on magic and the inquisition in early modern Malta (April).

I also co-organised the following conferences at Exeter:

  • The landscape of occupations (April 2014)
  • The importance of place in medical practice (September 2006)
  • Social Identity in early modern England (2003)

 

Research supervision

I am happy to supervise on most aspects of early modern history, with particular interest in urban, regional, medical, religious or intellectual history. I like to supervise jointly with a colleague, holding joint supervisions and so ensuring that the student gets the benefit of broad support. This has included cross-disciplinary supervision with colleagues in English and Classics and I am keen to maintain this, both at Exeter and as part of the AHRC's DTP programme with other universities in the consortium.

I am currently co-supervising students working on:

  • Feigned illness in 18C England (AHRC funded)
  • The social history of the cloth industry in early modern Exeter (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award with Tuckers Hall Exeter)
  • Reconstructing the social and topographical history of Exeter c.1550-1605
  • The trading community of Exeter c.1450-1580
  • The port of Bristol in the later eighteenth century
  • Women travellers in Europe c.1780-1840
  • Bankruptcy in eighteenth century England

For my previous research students, see the section on 'research students' in this profile.

 

Research students

The topics that I am currently supervising are listed in the 'research supervision section'. Below is a list of successful Phd students for whom I was lead supervisor.

Research students recently supervised:

Lisa Jarman: 'Galenism in Early Modern England' (Wellcome funded)

Tim Beattie: 'South Sea Privateering Voyages in the Eighteenth Century'

Natasha Mihaliovic: 'Death and the Dead in Eighteenth-Century England' (AHRC funded)

Anthea Davies: 'Physicians in the West Country and East Anglia in the 18th Centur'y (Wellcome Trust funded)

Tom Blaen: 'Lapidaries in Early Modern England' (University funded)

Jonathan Harlow: external supervisor for a University of West of England PhD on a Quaker merchant in 17th Century Bristol

Ian Mortimer (AHRB funded): 'Medical assistance to the dying in provincial Southern England c.1570-1720' (winner of Alexander Prize of Royal Historical Society in 2004 for essay based on this research; author of a series of acclaimed bipgraphies of medieval leaders and the best-selling Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England and Time Travellers Guide to Elizabethan England.

David Reeve: 'Wimborne Minster 1620-1690' (now in charge of modern records section of Dorset Archives Office).

Mariko Mizui (funded by Japanese Government): "The interest groups of the tin industry in England c.1580-1640' (now lecturing at a Japanese university)

Priscilla Flower-Smith: 'Landowners on the Devon-Somerset Border 1660-1715'

David Cullum (ESRC-funded): 'Society and economy in west Cornwall c1588-1750', awarded Ph.D. in 1994 (became a census demographer for Gloucestershire County Council).

Mary Wolffe: 'Gentry government of Devon 1625-1640'  (subsequently published as Gentry leaders in peace and war: the gentry governors of Devon in the early seventeenth century (University of Exeter Press, 1997)

Other information

Series editorships

Co-editor, Cultures of Magic, Palgrave, since 2005. (6 volumes currently contracted to appear 2006/8)

Exeter Studies in History, University of Exeter Press, since 1989.

Studies in the Social History of Medicine, Routledge, 1991-7.

External activity

Member of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Social History of Medicine (1986-96)

Member of the Southern History Society committee (1991-8).

Member of Council of Devon and Cornwall Record Society (1993-2003)

Member of Board of Centre for Regional History, University of West of England (1998-)

Member of the editorial board of the Cambridge Urban History of Britain (1990-9)

External examiner for BA programme in Economic and Social History at Leicester (1994-7).

External examiner for MA programmes at Goldsmiths and Royal Holloway, London (1997-2001).

External assessor of History programmes at Roehampton Institute (1998).

External for PhD and MPhil awards (since 2000) at Durham, Bristol, Oxford, UCL.

QAA Institutional Auditor since 2003

Historical consultant to Devon County Council, the Museum of Bristol and the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Referee for promotions committees, grant awards (AHRC, Wellcome etc), publishers (OUP, Yale, Routledge, Palgrave, Manchester UP, etc), journal articles (Albion, Historical Journal, Social History of Medicine, History, etc)

External impact and engagement

I have acted as a historical consultant to Devon County Council, the Museum of Bristol and the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. I am currently involved in an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award in partnership with Tucker's Hall, Exeter, on the social history of the cloth trade in Exeter c.1580-1720, and I am superivising a doctoral thesis on Exeter c.1540-1620 being undertaken by Kate Osborne, the Education Outreach officer at Royal Albert Memorial Museum. I am a trustee of the Kent Kingdom Trust, which distributes funds to the R.A.M.M. and Exeter City Library to support educational work.

Contribution to discipline

Co-editor of Bristol Record Society.

Co-organiser of the Pre-Modern Towns Group.

Co-editor of Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic

Media

In recent years I have offered advice to a number of radio and TV programmes, most recently for a programme by Tony Robinson on Monmouth's Rebellion (autumn 2014).

My recent appearances in person have included:

  • A 5-minute slot on Radio 4's Sunday programme on the dissenters' graveyard in Exeter
  • Interviewee for the Exeter section of a programme on William of Orange's landing in England during the final programme of a major series on the Durch Golden Age on Dutch public TV.
  • One of two historians interviewed on the impact of Keith Thomas's book Religion and the Decline of Magic for a one hour recording in an educational series on key texts in modern historical writing, aimed at university and sixth-form students.
  • Interviewee of Ian Hislop for his three part Radio 4 series on the Middle Classes in British History

Teaching

I have always been privileged to be able to teach in areas informed by my research, and to find that teaching a subject deepens my understanding of its significance and guides my future research.

I have taught at every level, particularly enjoying introducing new students to history at university through my Sources and Skills module on plague and fire in Restoration London, which has helped to stimulate my current major research project on early moderm medical practice. I have taught the history of witchcraft at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, establishing and running for ten years the world's only MA in the History and Literature of Witchcraft. I am now offering this subject as a second-year Option on the Witch-Craze in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, which will incorporate the approaches taken in my co-edited volume, Palgrave Advances in Witchcraft Historiography (2007) as well as my own monographs and arrticles on this subject.  My interests as co-founder and current Director of the Centre for Medical History are reflected in my role as convenor of the module on Diseases in the third-year Comparatives, and in the MA module on Medicine in Medieval and Early Modern Britain. More broadly, I have taught the social and cultural history of earmy modern Britain, regularly being part of the team teaching the MA module in gender, culture and society in early modern Britain. Finally, I have a strong interest in historigraphy and the uses of the past, and I helped to create and have taught since its inception on the second-year module, Uses of the Past.

More broadly, I have been active since the 1980s in shaping both the curriculum and teaching practice in History and at the University more broadly, culminating in my position as Dean of Taught Programmes 2008-12, and my work with the QAA. I helped to reshape the History curriculum radically both in the mid-1990s and in the establishment of the current version of the programme in 2011. In all of these activities I have been guided by the view that students learn best as active researchers and teachers, not passive learners, by collaboration with each other and with staff, and that the skills required as an academic historian are fundamentally the same as those which can be transferred into a successful and valuable life as a citizen in any walk of life.

 

Modules taught

Biography

Current position: Professor of Early Modern History

I was a History undergraduate at Cambridge and spent a year at Harvard before starting a doctorate at Oxford in 1978 under the supervision of Keith Thomas on the cultural life of Bristol 1640-1775. From 1982 I was a researcher at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine in Oxford, assisting Charles Webster, as well as teaching part-time at Brasenose College. In 1985 I became a Lecturer in History at Exeter. I have been active in the Society for the Social History of Medicine, the Pre-Modern Towns Group and in regional/local history at south-western and national level. In 1995 I became Head of the then Department of History and Archaeology. In 1998 I became founding Head of the School of Historical, Political and Sociological Studies, and was re-elected for a further five years from 2003. In 2005 the School expanded to become the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, under my Headship (until 31 July 2008). I was then Dean of Taught Programmes of the University 2008-12. I helped to found the Centre for Medical History at the University (with Prof. J. Melling) in 1997, and I am currently its Director. In 2012 I was awarded a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in Medical Humanities for a five-year project with Dr Peter Elmer on 'The Medical World of Early Modern England, Ireland and Wales c.1500-1715' which runs until 2017.

Series editorships

Bristol Record Society (since 2012)

Co-editor, Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic since 2005

Exeter Studies in History, University of Exeter Press, since 1989.

Studies in the Social History of Medicine, Routledge, 1991-7.

External activity

Member of the Executive Committee of the Society for the Social History of Medicine (1986-96)

Member of the Southern History Society committee (1991-8).

Member of Council of Devon and Cornwall Record Society (1993-2003)

Member of Board of Centre for Regional History, University of West of England (1998-)

Member of the editorial board of the Cambridge Urban History of Britain (1990-9)

External examiner for BA programme in Economic and Social History at Leicester (1994-7).

External examiner for MA programmes at Goldsmiths and Royal Holloway, London (1997-2001).

External assessor of History programmes at Roehampton Institute (1998).

External for PhD and MPhil awards (since 2000) at Durham, Bristol, Oxford, UCL.

QAA Institutional Auditor/Reviewer 2013-12

Historical consultant to Devon County Council, the Museum of Bristol and the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery

Referee for promotions committees, grant awards (AHRC, Wellcome, Leverhulme, etc), publishers (OUP, Yale, Routledge, Palgrave, Manchester UP, etc), journal articles (Albion, Historical Journal, Social History of Medicine, History, etc)