Photo of Dr Peter Elmer

Dr Peter Elmer

Senior Research Fellow


01392 723363

I possess a broad interest in the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe, with a particular interest in the impact of religious and political change upon medicine and its practitioners in Britain in the same period.

Research interests

My broad interests lie in the study of the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Britain, with a particular focus on the impact of the changing religious and political context upon medicine and related fields such as witchcraft and magic. In recent years, I have also developed a strong interest in prosopographical approaches to these issues which will form the basis of the Centre for Medical History's five year, Wellcome-funded, research project on Early Modern Medicine in Britain (2012-17). In addition, I am currently collecting materials for a cultural history of seventeenth-century Exeter.


After studying as an undergraduate at Swansea University I completed a PhD on 'Medicine, Medical Reform and the Puritan Revolution' (1981) under the supervision of Prof Stuart Clark. After teaching history for ten years at the English campus of the University of Evansville at Harlaxton, near Grantham, Lincolnshire (1985-95), I moved to the Open University, where I held the post of staff tutor in the SW Region, based at Bristol, between 1995 and 2010. In 2010, I moved to Milton Keynes, where I became a 'central academic' as a member of the History Department. During my seventeen years at the OU, I was responsible for overseeing the introduction of new courses on the history of medicine (2004-current) as well as a range of interdisciplinary courses on the Renaissance (1999-2007) and material culture (2012).