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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



After completing an undergraduate degree in History at the University of Warwick, I enrolled in the Teach First program. I worked for two years as a year 6 teacher in a large primary school in north Kent before beginning an MPhil at Cambridge in Early Modern History. My research focused upon the activities and beliefs of a group of clerics at the heart of the restoration of Catholicism under Mary I – the cathedral clergy. I used my analysis of this group’s actions both under Mary and Elizabeth I in order to challenge the current consensus regarding the origins of post-Reformation recusant Catholicism in England. I am currently completing a PhD investigating English Catholic exiles from the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. My research explores the ways in which these emigres' experience of displacement and dislocation, as well as their contact with Catholics from throughout Europe, influenced the development of their religious beliefs. Through investigating the influential roles many of these exiles went on to fulfill after their return home during the reign of Mary I, this project seeks to reconnect the history of mid-Tudor English Catholicism to the religious history of the continent and the rest of the British Isles.

Other academic interests

Early modern religious co-existence and inter-confessional sociability; lay agency in religion during the Reformation; religious propaganda, how it functions and modes of dissemination – particularly the use of music and song as propaganda; non-belief/atheism in the early-modern world; religion and visual culture, particularly architecture; religion and memory.


Key publications: 

'A "fownde patrone and second father" of the Marian Church: Antonio Buonvisi, Religious Exile and the Development of Mid-Tudor Catholicism', British Catholic History (forthcoming, October 2018)

'Life after Exile: Former English Catholic Exiles and the Legacy of Flight in Marian England', English Historical Review (forthcoming, August 2018)

'The Origins of Recusancy in Elizabethan England Reconsidered', The Historical Journal, 60 (2017), pp. 301-332 (DOI:

Department: History
Supervisor: Alexandra Walsham
College: Clare
AHRC Subject Area: History
Title of Thesis: Catholic Exile and the Origins of English Roman Catholic Identity, 1533-1553 (Provisional)
 Frederick  Smith