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Dr Arnold Hunt

Dr Arnold Hunt

Lecturer in Early Modern British History

Fellow of Girton

Girton College
Huntingdon Road

Cambridge CB3 0JG


My research focuses on the history of early modern Britain, 1500-1700. My first book, The Art of Hearing: English Preachers and their Audiences 1590-1640 (Cambridge, 2010), was a study of early modern preaching, focused not so much on the preachers themselves as on their audiences, and on how the sermons were actually heard and understood. My second book, provisionally entitled Protestant Bodies, is a study of gesture in early modern England, particularly the gestures used in church and what these can tell us about the reception of the Protestant Reformation.

Subject groups/Research projects

Early Modern History:


Part I of the Tripos: Papers 4 and 9

Part II: Print and Society in Early Modern England (Specified Subject)

Writing History in Early Modern England (Special Subject)

Historical Argument and Practice


  • British social history c.1600-1850
  • Early Modern History

Key Publications

The Art of Hearing: English preachers and their audiences 1590-1640, published by Cambridge University Press in December 2010.  Published in paperback December 2014.

 Extracts from reviews: ‘This wonderful book takes us unto one of English preaching’s golden ages, and tries to find out what actually happened when preachers stood up and cleared their throats’ (Alec Ryrie, Times Higher). ‘A brilliant and original re-examination of the importance of preaching in later Reformation England .. an exceptionally stimulating discussion of what came to fill people’s minds after the statues had been burned and the altars stripped’ (Peter Marshall, TLS). ‘This is a rich, mature work of scholarship that will be of interest to all students of early modern England’s religious culture’ (Richard Snoddy, Reformation and Renaissance Review).

Other Publications

‘A Jacobean Antiquary Reassessed: Thomas Lyte, the Lyte Genealogy and the Lyte Jewel’ (co-authored with Dora Thornton and George Dalgleish), Antiquaries Journal, 96 (2016), pp 169-205.

‘Burn This Letter: Preservation and Destruction in the Early Modern Archive’, in James Daybell and Andrew Gordon, eds., Cultures of Correspondence in Early Modern Britain, 1550-1640 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), pp 189-209.

‘From Durham to Stonyhurst: the post-medieval movements of the Cuthbert Gospel manuscript’, in Claire Breay and Bernard Meehan, eds., The Cuthbert Gospel Book (British Library, 2015).

‘The Succession Question in Sermons, News and Rumour’, in Susan Doran and Paulina Kewes, eds., Doubtful and Dangerous: The Question of Succession in Late Elizabethan England (Manchester University Press, 2014), pp 155-72.

‘Recovering Speech Acts’, in Andrew Hadfield, Matthew Dimmock and Abigail Shinn, eds., Ashgate Research Companion to Popular Culture in Early Modern England (Ashgate, 2014), pp 13-29.

‘The Lady is a Catholic: Lady Lovell’s Reply to Sir Edward Hoby’, Recusant History, 31: 3 (May 2013), pp 411-37.

‘Sir Hans Sloane as a collector of manuscripts’, in Michael Hunter, Arthur McGregor & Alison Walker (ed.), From Books to Bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane and his Collections (British Library, 2012), pp 190-207.

‘The English Nation in 1631’, in Jeanne Shami, Thomas Hester and Dennis Flynn (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to John Donne (Oxford University Press, 2011).

‘Preaching the Elizabethan Settlement’, in Peter McCullough, Hugh Adlington and Emma Rhatigan (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Early Modern Sermon (Oxford University Press, 2011), pp 366-86.

‘Libraries in the Archives: Researching Provenance in the British Library’, in Giles Mandelbrote and Barry Taylor, eds, Libraries within the Library: aspects of the history of the British Library’s early printed collections (British Library, 2009).

‘Tools of the trade: clerical and parish libraries’, in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, vol. I, edited by Elisabeth Leedham-Green and Teresa Webber (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

‘Private libraries in the age of bibliomania [1750-1850]’, in The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, vol. II, edited by Giles Mandelbrote and  Keith Manley (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

‘Donne’s Religious World’, article (co-authored with Alison Shell) in Achsah Guibbory (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to John Donne (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

‘The books, manuscripts and literary patronage of Mrs Anne Sadleir’, in Victoria Burke and Jonathan Gibson, eds., Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Writing (Ashgate, 2003)

‘Religious Publishing in England 1557-1640’ (co-authored with Patrick Collinson and Alexandra Walsham), in John Barnard and D.F. McKenzie, eds., The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. IV (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp 29-66.

‘A Jacobean consensus?  The religious policy of James VI & I’, in The Seventeenth Century, Spring 2002, pp 131-40.

‘Licensing and Religious Censorship in Early Modern England’, in Andrew Hadfield, ed., Literature and Censorship in Renaissance England, 1580-1645, (Palgrave, 2001), pp 127-48.

‘Tuning the Pulpits: the religious context of the Essex revolt’, in Lori Anne Ferrell and Peter McCullough, eds., The English Sermon Revised (Manchester University Press, 2000), pp 86-114.

‘The Lord’s Supper in Early Modern England’, Past & Present, 161 (December 1998), pp 39-84.

‘Book trade patents, 1603-40’, in A. Hunt, G. Mandelbrote and A. Shell, eds., The Book Trade and its Customers, 1450-1900: historical essays for Robin Myers (St Paul’s Bibliographies, 1997), pp 27-54.

‘Laurence Chaderton and the Hampton Court Conference’, in C. Litzenberger and S. Wabuda, eds., Belief and Practice in sixteenth-century England: a tribute to Patrick Collinson from his students (Ashgate, 1998), pp 207-28.