Dr Paul Cavill

Senior lecturer in early modern British history
Fellow of Pembroke College
Dr Paul Cavill
I grew up in the London suburb of Wimbledon and then studied at Oxford University. I have held a junior research fellowship at Merton College and lectureships at Bangor and Leeds. I joined the Faculty in 2013.
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 have a particular interest in the history of parliament. Much of my scholarship is based on analysing different kinds of legislation. I work mostly with manuscript sources and specialise in the administrative and legal records of central, local, and diocesan government.
At undergraduate level, I supervise for Paper 4, lecture for Papers 3 and 4 (both for Part I), and teach with Dr Clare Jackson a specified paper entitled ‘The “rule of law” in early modern Britain: state power, criminal justice, and civil liberties, c.1500c.1800’ (for Part II). 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 research seminar series.
I serve on the editorial board or committee of the Historical Journal, the History of Parliament, and Parliamentary History.
I supervise Master's and doctoral research on fifteenth- and sixteenth-century English political and religious history. Anyone interested in undertaking postgraduate research in my field is welcome to contact me ahead of submitting a formal application.


Tags & Themes


Pembroke College, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RF


Key publications

‘Perjury in early Tudor England’, in Rosamond McKitterick et al. (eds.), The Church and the Law, Studies in Church History, 56 (2020), pp. 182–209.
‘Church, state, and Corpus: the founder’s years’, in John Watts (ed.), Renaissance College: Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in Context, 1450–1600, History of Universities, 32 (2019), pp. 40–58.
Co-ed. with Alexandra Gajda, Writing the History of Parliament in Tudor and Early Stuart England (Manchester, 2018).
‘Polydore Vergil and the first English parliament’, ibid., pp. 37–59.
‘Preaching on Magna Carta at the end of the 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).

Other publications

‘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.
‘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.