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Dr Gareth Atkins

Dr Gareth Atkins

Fellow and Director of Studies in History, Magdalene College

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CRASSH

Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History

Magdalene College

Office Phone: 01223 746540


I took a BA in History from the University of Durham before coming to Cambridge to study for an M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History. My Ph.D. was awarded in 2009 and since then I have been a Research Fellow at Magdalene College.

Subject groups/Research projects

Modern British History:

Departments and Institutes

Magdalene College:

Research Interests

Britain and the British world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the relationship between religion, politics and political networks; religious culture more generally; representations of the Navy and naval heroes; the reading and writing of religious history and biography; changing ideas about and uses of the Bible.

I am currently preparing a book on evangelical patronage networks in the Church, armed forces, City of London and colonial service, c.1780-1830, provisionally entitled The politics of patronage: Anglican Evangelicals and British public life, 1770-1850. This work offers a radically new perspective on religious change, as well as throwing new light on the inner workings of the imperial British state and British elite culture.

My current work builds on this to consider the relationship between religion and national identity in a number of ways. Forthcoming articles examine conflicting memories of the Reformation in early nineteenth-century Britain and notions of naval heroism: specifically, how heroes were presented by religious publicists. My forthcoming edited collection, 'Making and remaking saints', tackles one aspect of this, bringing together contributions from eminent and early-career scholars to look for the first time at how saints and saintly figures were esed to articulate debates over holiness, heroism and confessional conflict in nineteenth-century Britain.

In the coming years I will be developing a major new project, A New Israel?, looking at British cultural engagement with the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, as part of the ERC-funded project on 'The Bible and Antiquity in Nineteenth-Century Culture', based at CRASSH.


British Political & Constitutional History 1700-1914 (Part I: Paper 5)

British Economic & Social History (Part I: Paper 10)

'Total War' and European Societies, 1792-1815 (Part II: Paper 22)

Other Professional Activities

Secretary, Ecclesiastical History Society

Key Publications

(editor), Making and Remaking Saints in Nineteenth-Century Britain (under contract with Manchester University Press; forthcoming, 2015)

'Ignatius of Loyola', in Making and Remaking Saints (forthcoming)

‘Anglican Evangelicalism’, in Jeremy Gregory (ed.), Establishment and empire: the development of Anglicanism, 1662-1829: Oxford History of Anglicanism, vol ii (forthcoming, 2015)

'William Jowett’s Christian Researches: British Protestants and Religious Plurality in the Mediterranean, Syria and the Holy Land, 1815-30', in Charlotte Methuen & Andrew Spicer (eds), Christians and Religious Plurality, Studies in Church History 51 (forthcoming, 2015)

'Christian heroes, providence and patriotism in wartime Britain, 1793-1815', Historical Journal (forthcoming)

'"Idle reading"? Policing the boundaries of the nineteenth-century household', in John Doran & Charlotte Methuen (eds), The Church and the Household, Studies in Church History 50 (forthcoming, 2014)

‘Truth at stake: the nineteenth-century reputation of Thomas Cranmer’, in Peter Nockles & Vivienne Westbrook (eds), Reinventing the Reformation: a cultural history [special issue of the Bulletin of the John Rylands Library] (forthcoming, 2014)

‘Religion, politics and patronage in the late-Hanoverian navy, c. 1780-c. 1820', Historical Research (forthcoming)

‘Anglican Evangelical Theology, c.1830-1850: the case of Edward Bickersteth’, Journal of Religious History (forthcoming)

‘“True churchmen”? Anglican Evangelicals and history, c. 1770-1850’, Theology (Sep-Oct 2012), 339-49

‘Piety and plutocracy: the social and business world of the Thorntons’, in Jane Brown & Jeremy Musson (ed.), Moggerhanger Park: an architectural and social history (Ipswich, 2012)

‘Reformation, Revival and Rebirth in Anglican Evangelical Thought, c.1780-c.1830’, in Kate Cooper & Jeremy Gregory (eds), Revival and Resurgence in Christian History, Studies in Church History 44 (Woodbridge, 2008), 74-84

‘Reason vs. Revelation? Evangelical apologetics in the thought of Thomas Rawson Birks’, in R. Crone, D. Gange & K. Jones (eds.) New Perspectives in British Cultural History, 1600-2000 (London, 2007), pp. 90-104

Other Publications

Reviews for English Historical Review; History; IHR Reviews in History; Journal of Religious History; Studies in World Christianity; Wesley and Methodist Studies