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Dr Paul Cavill

Dr Paul Cavill

Lecturer in Early Modern British History

Pembroke College

Office Phone: 01223 764566 (int. 64566)


I grew up in the London suburb of Wimbledon and then studied at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. I have held a junior research fellowship at Merton College, Oxford, and lectureships at Bangor University and the University of Leeds. I joined the Faculty in 2013.

Subject groups/Research projects

Ancient and Medieval History:

Late medieval British history

Early Modern History:

Early modern British history

Departments and Institutes

Pembroke College:

Research Interests

I study the political and ecclesiastical history of early modern England, concentrating on the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. My research focuses on governance and the constitution, principally in the context of the Wars of the Roses and of the Break with Rome. I work mostly with manuscript sources and specialise in the administrative and legal records of central and local government. I have a particular interest in the history of parliament, especially as a means of exploring the origins, development, and reception of public policy.

In the summer of 2017, I gave the following conference papers:

  • 'Lyndwood's Church', at After Chichele: Intellectual and Cultural Dynamics of the English Church, 1443–1517 (St Anne's College, Oxford)
  • 'Heresy and the common law', at The Fifteenth Century 2017 (University of Essex)
  • 'Church, state and Corpus: the founder's years', at Renaissance College: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in Context, c.1450–c.1650 (Corpus Christi College, Oxford)

In July 2018, I shall be speaking at the Ecclesiastical History Society Summer Conference on the theme of 'The Church and the Law'.

Research Supervision

I supervise Master's and doctoral research on fifteenth- and sixteenth-century English political and religious history. I am supervising the Ph.D. theses of Edward Everett (working on the privilege of sanctuary after 1540) and Laura Flannigan (working on kingship in late fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century political culture). Anyone interested in undertaking postgraduate research in my field is welcome to contact me ahead of submitting a formal application.


At undergraduate level, I supervise for paper 4, lecture for papers 3 and 4 (both for part I), and supervise dissertations (for part II).  With a colleague, I am designing a new third-year paper on law in early modern Britain. At postgraduate level, I contribute to the teaching of the M.Phil. in Early Modern History. I am one of the convenors of the Early Modern British and Irish History seminar series.

Other Professional Activities

I sit on the editorial board of the journal Parliamentary History.


  • Medieval British History
  • Early Modern History

Key Publications

  • ‘Preaching on Magna Carta at the End of Fifteenth Century: John Alcock's Sermon at Paul's Cross’, The Fifteenth Century, 15 (2017), pp. 169–89.
  • ‘Anticlericalism and the early Tudor parliament’, Parliamentary History, 34 (2015), pp. 14–29.
  • ‘Heresy, law and the state: forfeiture in late medieval and early modern England’, English Historical Review, 129 (2014), pp. 270–95.
  • ‘Heresy and forfeiture in Marian England’, Historical Journal, 56 (2013), pp. 879–907.
  • ‘A perspective on the church–state confrontation of 1515: the passage of 4 Henry VIII, c. 2’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 63 (2012), pp. 655–70.
  • ‘“The enemy of God and His church”: James Hobart, praemunire, and the clergy of Norwich diocese’, Journal of Legal History, 32 (2011), pp. 127–50.
  • The English Parliaments of Henry VII, 1485–1504 (Oxford, 2009).
  • ‘Debate and dissent in Henry VII’s parliaments’, Parliamentary History, 25 (2006), pp. 160–75.
  • ‘The problem of labour and the parliament of 1495’, The Fifteenth Century, 5 (2005), pp. 143–55.

Other Publications

  • With others, ‘Reformation’, in The History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The Story of Parliament: Celebrating 750 Years of Parliament in Britain (London, 2015), ch. 2.
  • ‘The Essex inquisitions of 1556: the Colchester certificate’, Historical Research, 87 (2014), pp. 751–63.
  • ‘The Grebills of Benenden, the prior of Leeds, and the heresy trials of 1511’, Archaeologia Cantiana, 134 (2014), pp. 283–92.
  • ‘A Lollard of Coventry: a source on Robert Silkby’, Midland History, 38 (2013), pp. 226–31.
  • ‘The enforcement of the penal statutes in the 1490s: some new evidence’, Historical Research, 82 (2009), pp. 482–92.
  • ‘The debased coinage of 1492’, British Numismatic Journal, 77 (2007), pp. 283–6.