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Mark Jenner
Professor of Early Modern History



BA, DPhil (Oxon)

Mark is Professor of Early Modern History in the History Department, in the Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and in the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. He works on the social and cultural history of early modern England and on the social history of medicine. He has served on the Editorial Boards of Social History of Medicine and Urban History.

Mark is also the University's Research Theme Champion for Culture and Communication.




Mark began research by investigating 16th and 17th century English conceptions of cleanliness and dirt. This work drew on anthropology, social and cultural theory as well as intensive archival research and examined the environmental regulation of London as a way by which to reconstruct people's perceptions. He will soon complete this manuscript for publication by Oxford University Press. He is also completing a book derived from a major research project funded by the Wellcome Trust which examines the uses, distribution and perception of London's water between 1500 and 1830.

He has very wide interests in the social and cultural history of Britain c.1550-c.1780 and the social history of medicine and the history of the body. He is committed to interdisciplinary work which relates archival research to theoretical concerns and current work within anthropology, literary studies and social theory. He has published on gender, medicine, religious and political culture in seventeenth and eighteenth-century England.

Resources available for research students in York

York is an excellent place to do research in Early Modern History and on the History of Medicine and the Body. The J. B. Morrell Library has a very good range of primary and secondary material for early modern British history. It subscribes to Early English Books Online and to Eighteenth-Century Collections online.

Research students at York can therefore access nearly 250,000 titles published between 1473 and 1800. It also has subscriptions to a wide range of other sources including the Burney Collection of 17th and 18th century newspapers. The University is continuing to acquire more online resources.

The library also holds a large collection of microfilms in this area, including the State Papers Domestic for the C16 and C17, and the Repertories of the Court of Aldermen of London. It has a very good collection of journals and other sources to support research in the social history of early modern science and medicine, including microfilms of the records of the Royal Society and the Royal College of Physicians. Its holdings are complemented by the extensive and underused resources of the York Minster Library- the largest Cathedral collection of early printed books in the country, and by the very rich collections of the York Medical Society which are deposited on loan in the JB Morrell library, not to mention the holdings of the library of the York Retreat.

York and its region is also very rich in archival resources for early modern history. The Borthwick Institute for Archives is located on campus and is the largest archive in the north of England and a resource of national importance. The riches of the York City Archives are only now beginning fully to be appreciated by early modern historians. York is close to the British Library Lending Division at Boston Spa and to the branches of the West Yorkshire Archives Service, the North Yorkshire County Council : Archive services and to the East Riding County Record Office. It has excellent communication links to libraries in Leeds, Manchester and elsewhere in the North and is conveniently placed for research in Edinburgh and London.


Mark has successfully supervised over a dozen PhDs in the last decade and these have produced five books and over twenty articles. Many of these PhD students have gone to postdoctoral fellowships and teaching positions in universities.

He has supervised theses in many areas of the social and cultural history of Britain between the sixteenth and late eighteenth centuries, including ‘Emotion in Early Modern England c.1660-1760’, ‘”When I am in Good Habitt”: Clothes in English Culture c1550-c1670', ‘Discipline and Manhood in the Society of Friends … c.1650-1750' , ‘Politics and Graphic Satire in England 1600-1650', ‘Material Culture and Respectability in Early Modern Yorkshire,’ ‘Colour in Early Modern England’ and ‘Sex in Two Cities: Moral Discipline and the Reformation in York and Edinburgh, c.1560-c.1640' .

He also supervises a wide range of PhDs in the history of medicine and on topics which explore aspects of historical methodology and textuality, including ‘Psychiatric Texts and Psychiatric Writing: Identity, Culture and Subjectivity in the York retreat, 1875-1940', ‘”For the Honour of the Faculty”: Fashioning Medical Identities in York c.1750-c1850’, ‘Soot, Skin and Dust: A Comparative History of Chimney Sweeps, Occupation Health and Testicular Cancer 1775-1925', Equine Medicine in a Horse Drawn World: Farriery, Horse-Doctoring and Equine Surgery in England c.1680-c.1800 ’ and ‘The Family History Phenomenon in Britain c.1945-present’ .

He welcomes inquiries from those interested in postgraduate research in early modern history, the history of the body, the history of medicine, and related areas. He is happy to correspond with those interested in refining possible topics for research and to advise on how to draw up applications for AHRC, ESRC and Wellcome Trust funding.



  • The First Metropolitans? London Lives c.1560-c.1690 (first year Period Topic module)
  •  (second year Explorations module)


  • From Body Beautiful to Body Politic: The Politics of the Body in Early Modern England, c.1500-c.1740 (MA Option module)

Contact details

Professor Mark Jenner
King's Manor KG72
Department of History
University of York
King's Manor

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