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Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict

Centre for the Study of Religion and Conflict



The centre has been established in order to increase understanding of the origins, ideology, implementation, impact and historiography of religion and conflict in the medieval and early modern periods. Conflicts exhibiting religious elements incorporate not just military engagements but also social, political, cultural and economic forms of historical data, forming a common strand between Medieval and Early Modern worlds. Currently the Centre’s core members have expertise in the Crusades and the Military Orders; Reformations and Confessional societies; the Conquest of the New World and Seventeenth Century Britain.

As part of a growing network of international scholars looking at these issues, we are always keen to establish new links with academics and students from a range of disciplines who investigate the role of religion and conflict in relation to different faiths, confessions and perceived heterodoxies, so that comparisons and contrasts may contribute towards the development of new paradigms for understanding the roles played by belief in national, communal and inter-personal conflict.

Details of our regular activities are captured on our conference website.

Research Activities

In July 2017 the centre held its inaugural conference: a three-day programme which incorporated a public lecture at Bromley House and a workshop in the City Centre with 29 academic speakers and two keynotes by Professor Elizabeth Tingle (DMU) and Dr Katherine Lewis (Huddersfield). Approximately 100 individuals attended including delegates from Spain, France, Germany, Malta and Australia. The feedback was excellent and the resulting collection of 16 essays, including two by members of the team and one by a PGR is currently being edited by staff for the Routledge series Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History as Religion and Conflict in Medieval and Early Modern Worlds: Identities, Communities and Authorities to be published in 2019.

In the current academic year we are hosting four research seminars and a one-day workshop to mark the 400th anniversary of the Thirty Years War on 11 July. The next full CSRC 3 day conference, including public lecture and networking events, will be held in July 2019. We aim to continue developing our profile by meeting on a biannual basis.

The research activities of the Centre have been supported by;

  • External grants from the Royal Historical Society (Conference fund; Postgraduate Speakers Scheme)
  • University of Canterbury, Christchurch NZ (Marsden Seed Fund Grant, Canterbury Fellowship - Hodgson)
  • The Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East; the University of St Andrews (Donald Bullough Fellowship-Hodgson).

It has also benefitted from NTU Global Heritage seed funding and SPUR bursaries. We have also fostered relationships with a number of local institutions for disseminating research such as Bromley House, the Old Rectory Museum, Loughborough and the National Civil War Centre, Newark.

The individual impact activities of staff and postgraduate members from are regularly captured on the news and events section of the Centre’s conference website and blog at

Typical activities from 2017 include;

  • Public lectures (e.g. Nicholas Morton at Bromley House)
  • Book festivals (e.g. Martyn Bennett at Lowdham)
  • Schools outreach (e.g. N. Hodgson at Kings Macclesfield
  • Morton at Highgate School for Girls)
  • TV and radio interviews (e.g. Hodgson: the Times; Daily Mail; TVNZ 6 News; BBC Radio Nottingham and Bennett: Notts TV and Morton: WVGU morning show - US) as well as academic conferences.

Our core members hold a number of significant editorial roles.  Martyn Bennett is editor of the Thoroton Society Journal, Natasha Hodgson is co-editor of Nottingham Medieval Studies and John McCallum is General Editor and Publications Secretary for the Scottish History Society.

We edit three book series for Routledge:

  • Advances in Crusades Research
  • Rulers of the Latin East
  • Themes in Medieval and Early Modern History.

We have also produced a number of public facing articles to support research impact, for example in History Today (Hodgson, Fuller, Morton, Bennett); History Today Podcasts (Fuller); BBC History Magazine (Bennett); The Times Higher (Hodgson, Morton) and The Conversation (Hodgson, Morton, Bennett).

PhD Students

Eleven PhD students are currently attached to the centre including four Midlands 3 Cities students and two Vice Chancellor’s Bursary students. The team co-supervises two PGRs with the University of Nottingham, and one with the University of Leicester.

Our students regularly engage in conference activities: two spoke at the inaugural conference in 2017 and one is publishing her paper in the resulting collection of essays for Routledge. Sara Bradley and Maxine Spry had public facing articles published in History Today in 2017. We also hold special postgraduate workshops aimed at MA Students and 3rd year undergraduates thinking about postgraduate study in Medieval and Early Modern topics.

Laura Charles – How were conflicting ideals of marriage found in prescriptive literature presented in real lived experience in Seventeenth Century England?

Sara Bradley - The nature and role of anti-Spanish sentiment in news and travel-related pamphlets produced in London in the 1580s.

Helen Gair - The impact of the Reformation on female piety in Early Modern Scotland.

Helen Drew – Social Conduct, Community and the Church Court in Early Modern Nottinghamshire.

Lucy Judd – Maleficium or Beneficium: Women’s ‘domestic’ knowledge-sharing culture in Early Modern Nottinghamshire.

Giampiero Bagni – The Templars in Bologna.

Richard Bullock - The High Sheriff in Early Modern England.

Lizbeth Powell - The emotional landscape of Sir Thomas Parkyns of Bunny

Maxine Spry – The use of angels and angelic motifs in martyrdom treatises during the English Reformation.

Mark Robinson – Routiers, Brabancons and Cotteraux: Mercenaries and Crusade in Southern France, 1179-1229.

Bethany Marsh (University of Nottingham)– 'Protestant Martyrs or Irish Vagrants?' Responses and the organisation of relief to Irish refugees in England, 1641-1651.

Natasha Bailey (University of Leicester) Nahua women in the pulque trade of early colonial Mexico.

Jack Beaman (University of Nottingham) - Noble and Non - noble warriors during the crusades.

Recent Publications


  • John McCallum, Poor Relief and the Church in Scotland, 1560-1650 (Edinburgh University Press, 2018).
  • Nicholas Morton, Fields of Blood: The Battle for Aleppo and the Remaking of the Medieval Middle East (Basic Books, 2018).


  • Martyn Bennett, Cromwell at war: the Lord General and his military revolution ( I.B. Tauris, 2018).
  • Natasha Hodgson, ‘"Reputation, authority, and masculine identities in the political culture of the First Crusaders: the career of Arnulf of Chocques" History 102 (2017).
  • Nicholas Morton, ‘Walls of defence for the house of Israel: Ezekiel 13:5 and the crusading movement’ in The Uses of the Bible in Crusader Sources ed. Nicholas Morton and Elizabeth Lapina (Brill, 2017).


  • Martyn Bennett, Historical dictionary of the British and Irish Civil Wars 1637-1660 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).
  • John McCallum ‘Introduction’ and ‘“Fatheris and provisioners of the puir” Kirk Sessions and Poor Relief in post-Reformation Scotland’ in John McCallum (ed.), Scotland’s Long Reformation: New Perspectives on Scottish Religion, c. 1500-c.1660 (Brill: Leiden, 2016)
  • John McCallum ‘Charity and Conflict: Poor Relief in Mid-Seventeenth Century Dundee’, Scottish Historical Review, 95:1 (2016.
  • Nicholas Morton, Encountering Islam on the First Crusade (Cambridge University Press, 2016).


  • Martyn Bennett "Every county had more or lesse the civill warre within it selfe": the realities of war in Lucy Hutchinson's Midland shires. The Seventeenth Century, 30 (2) (2018)
  • Amy Fuller, Between Two Worlds: The autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (MHRA, 2015).
  • Natasha Hodgson, ‘Normans and competing masculinities on the First Crusade’ in Crusading and Pilgrimage in the Norman World eds Kathryn Hurlock and Paul Oldham (Boydell, 2015).
  • Nicholas Morton, ‘Templar and Hospitaller attitudes towards Islam in the Holy Land during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries: some historiographical reflections’, Levant (2015).
  • Nicholas Morton, ‘The Saljuq Turks’ conversion to Islam: the crusading sources’, Al-Masāq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean (2015)


  • Martyn Bennett, 2014. ‘"A Constable to keep the peace": the violent context of Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate’ in F. Jacobs ed., Diktaturen ohne Gewalt? Wie Diktatoren ihre Macht behaupten. ( Königshausen & Neumann, 2014).
  • John McCallum ‘“Nurseries of the Poore”: Hospitals and Almshouses in Early Modern Scotland’, Journal of Social History, 48:2 (2014).
  • Nicholas Morton and John France,‘Arab Muslim reactions to the advent of the First Crusade’, in Crusading and warfare in the Middle Ages: realities and representations: essays in honour of John France, ed. Nicholas Morton and Simon John (Ashgate, 2014).

PhD Studentships

We’re offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres for UK, EU or International students. Find out more about our PhD studentships.

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