I was born and raised in the United States and attended the University of Illinois going on to do doctoral studies in early modern British religious history at the University of Cambridge, first at Wolfson College and then as a Junior Research Fellow at Newnham College. I came to Corpus in 1993. I was made Reader in Church History in the University’s Distinction Exercise in 2004, and served as Junior Proctor of the University in 2004-5. I’ve held visiting fellowships at Trinity College, Melbourne, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Virginia Theological Seminary, and the Huntington Library in California. When the priesthood was opened to women in 1994, I was among one of the first cohorts to be ordained. I’m an honorary Canon of Oxford and Canon Theologian of Leicester, Winchester (emerita) cathedrals. Currently, I am on the General Synod of the Church of England and a member of the Crown Nominations Commission, which nominates individuals as diocesan bishops to the Prime Minister. I occasionally comment on religious issues on Radio 4 and for some years wrote regularly for The Guardian.
Research and Teaching
My primary research interests are in the English church in the century following the Reformation, but I have also published in parliamentary history and in the twentieth-century history of the Church of England. Most of my academic work has been on the interplay between formal religious change and its reception, adaptation, adoption and, at times, resistance, at the grassroots, from the Elizabethan period to the Restoration. I have also written on the subject of church/state relations in England as well as the area of religion and literature, recently co-editing a collection of essays Anglican Women Novelists. Recently, I published an essay on the idea of ‘sacrilege’ the period of the civil wars and Commonwealth in a festschrift in honour of Diarmaid MacCulloch. I am in the early stages of a new research project on the Pulitzer nominated religious poet and disability activist, Vassar Miller, and working towards a future volume to follow Anglican Women Novelists on Anglican women poets.
My teaching in recent years is almost entirely at the post-graduate level and I have supervised numerous MSts in history and theology and a number of DPhils on topics as diverse as the concept of royal priesthood in the English Reformation; women’s religious writing in late Stuart England; the Jacobean divine Richard Field; Jansenist influences on mid-seventeenth century English theology; epistolary spiritual counsel in seventeenth-century England, and Puritan ecclesiology.
- ‘Sacrilege and the Sacred in England’s Second Reformation, 1640-1660’ in Contesting Orthodoxies in the History of Christianity: Essays in Honour of Diarmaid MacCulloch. Eds E. Gebarowski-Shafer, A. Null and A. Ryrie. Boydell and Brewer, 2021.
- Anglican Women Novelists: from Charlotte Brontë to P.D. James. Eds Judith Maltby and Alison Shell. Bloomsbury, 2019. My chapters: ‘Introduction: Why Anglican; Why Women; Why Novelists’ (with Alison Shell) and ‘Rose Macaulay (1881-1958): Anglican Apologist?’
- The Established Church: Past, Present, Future. Eds Mark Chapman, Judith Maltby, & William Whyte. Continuum, 2011. My chapter: ‘Gender and Establishment: Parliament, “Erastianism” and the Ordination of Women 1993-2010’.
- Religion in Revolutionary England. Eds Christopher Durston and Judith Maltby. Manchester University Press, 2006. My chapters: ‘Introduction' (with C. Durston) and ‘Suffering and Surviving: the civil wars, the Commonwealth and the formation of "Anglicanism”’.
- Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and early Stuart England. Cambridge University Press, 1998/2000.
- The Short Parliament (1640) Diary of Sir Thomas Aston. Royal Historical Society, Camden Series, 35, 1988.