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Professor Mark Stoyle BA, D.Phil

Professor of Early Modern History; Director of Doctoral Programmes

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Mark Stoyle: Brief Biographical Sketch

My chief research specialism is in the history of the British Civil Wars of the mid-seventeenth century. I have written widely on this theme, and have also published books and articles on witchcraft, on Cornish and Welsh ethnic identity during the Tudor and Stuart periods, on massacre and atrocity during the 1640s, on urban fortification and on the early modern town. I am currently carrying out research into: a) the Western Rising of 1549 (the so-called ‘Prayer Book Rebellion'); and b) the role played by women in the English Civil War.

I grew up in mid-Devon and spent several years working as an archaeologist in Exeter. Having completed my undergraduate studies in History and Archaeology, I went on to undertake a DPhil thesis at St Peter’s College, Oxford. I then held a Scouloudi Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research in London and a British Academy Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Exeter before being appointed to my present post at Southampton. I specialise in early modern British history and am especially interested in the British crisis of the 1640s; Tudor rebellions, witchcraft; and English urban society. I have written a score of scholarly articles and seven monographs, including Soldiers and Strangers: An Ethnic History of the English War (Yale University Press, 2005); The Black Legend of Prince Rupert’s Dog: Witchcraft and Propaganda during the English Civil War (University of Exeter Press, 2011); and Water in the City: The Aqueducts and Underground Passages of Exeter (University of Exeter Press, 2014). I have also appeared on many local and national radio and TV programmes, including: ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ (in both the UK and the US); ‘The World at One’; ‘The Long View’; ‘Making History’; ‘The Great British Story’, ‘Inside Out’; ‘Word of Mouth’ and ‘The Roots of English’.

I am a former member of the Council of the Royal Historical Society, of the AHRC’s peer review panel and of the editorial advisory panel of BBC History Magazine.  In 2012, I received a Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award in recognition of my outstanding contribution to education at the University of Southampton; and in 2020 I received the SUSU award for best academic support in the School of Humanities.

I am currently one of the co-investigators on the major AHRC-funded research project ‘Conflict, Welfare and Memory, 1642-1700’, which explores the human cost of the English Civil Wars.

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Research interests

  • The British Civil Wars.
  • Tudor Rebellions.
  • Witchcraft.
  • Early modern English urban history.

PhD supervision

Current PhD projects supervised:

  • Lewis Brennen, ‘The Politics of Witchcraft in Elizabethan and Jacobean England’.
  • Natalie Williams, ‘Border identities in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Britain’.

Past PhD projects supervised include:

  • Dr Alistair Dougall, The Devil’s Book: Charles I, the Book of Sports and Puritanism in Tudor and Stuart England (Exeter University Press, 2011).
  • Dr John Ellis, To Walk in the Dark: Military Intelligence during the English Civil War, 1642-46 (Stroud, 2011).
  • Dr Imogen Peck, Recollection in the Republics: Memories of the British Civil Wars in England, 1649-59 (forthcoming with OUP).

Research Projects

I am currently one of the co-investigators on the major AHRC-funded research project ‘Conflict, Welfare and Memory, 1642-1700’, which explores the human cost of the English Civil Wars, and which is being undertaken by a team of researchers based at the universities of Cardiff, Leicester, Nottingham and Southampton.



Research project(s)

Counting the cost of Britain’s most damaging conflict

In England and Wales, a greater proportion of the population died during the British Civil Wars (1642-1651) than during the First Wold War of 1914-18.

I am a member of the editorial advisory board of the Devon and Cornwall Record Society.

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Book Chapters

Journal Special Issue



I am currently module co-ordinator of the following courses:

  • HIST1062 – Tudor Rebellions
  • HIST2220 – Witchcraft in England, 1542-1736
  • HIST3042 – From ‘Tyranny’ to ‘Revolution’: England, 1625-1649: Part 1
  • HIST3043 - From 'Tyranny' to 'Revolution': England, 1625-1649: Part 2
Professor Mark Stoyle
Building 65 Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number : 65/2077

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