Stuart Henderson

PhD Student

My academic background is primarily concerned with agrarian history, with an emphasis on developing post-medieval livestock stockbreeding techniques and livestock management practices, as well as how these changes shaped our agricultural histories, geographical variation and various connected industries. I hold a First-Class Honours in Archaeology from the University of York, however my research to-date has often crossed several academic disciplines, combining economic history, archaeology, legal history and geography. Upon completion, I undertook a fully funded Masters (by research) at the University of York continuing previous research though with an emphasis on the effects on the post-medieval parchment industry. This project supported the work of several colleagues within the Palaeome research group working on hDNA studies of historic parchment samples. The combination of these projects has brought me to the University of Cambridge, after being awarded the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award, in partnership with the Museum of Leathercraft, to study the English leather industry during the long nineteenth century.

My current research is in collaboration with the Museum of Leathercraft (Northampton), the University of Cambridge Archaeology Department and with Leigh Shaw-Taylor of the University of Cambridge History Department. This project will explore the economy of leather, using the published data from the Livery Companies archives, contemporary trade journal and various other occupational data sources. This project also aims to contextualise the oral and written archives of the leather economy within the legal history of the industry, as well as to review the material culture of the industry by examining the Museum’s collections, the work of the Leather Conservation Centre and the archives of the partnered Livery Companies. It is my intention that this research can then be woven into several of the projects currently being conducted by those within both the Beasts2Craft and Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CamPop) research groups.


Tags & Themes


Stuart Henderson
Department of Archaeology,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,


Key publications

Doherty, Sean Paul, Stuart Henderson, Sarah Fiddyment, Jonathan Finch, and Matthew J. Collins, ‘Scratching the surface: the use of sheepskin parchment to deter textual erasure in early modern legal deeds’, Heritage Science, 9 (2021),.

Henderson, Stuart, ‘A Study of the English Parchment Industry between 1650 and 1850’ (MA by research thesis, University of York, October 2018).