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Emeritus Professor Bernard Capp

Contact Information

Room 318
Telephone: 02476 523410

Academic Profile
  • Fellow of the British Academy (2005)
  • BA (Oxford), 1965, MA, DPhil (Oxford, 1970), FRHistSoc (1974)
  • Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader in History, University of Warwick, 1968-94
  • Professor of History, University of Warwick, since 1994; Chair of Department, 1992-5
  • Series Editor, New Appreciations (Historical Association) 1989-92
  • External examiner, Taught Masters: Birkbeck; MA by Research: York
  • PhD/DPhil: Aberystwyth, Cambridge, Durham, London, Nottingham Trent, Oxford, Sheffield; overseas: Adelaide, Turku (Finland)
  • Assessor, Australian Research Council, 1995-; British Academy; Netherlands Research Council
  • Panel Member, AHRB/AHRC Postgraduate Awards, 2000-5
  • Associate Editor, New DNB (17th century naval/maritime), 1996-
  • AHRC peer review college, 2004-
Undergraduate Modules Taught
Postgraduate Modules Taught
Selected Publications


  • The Fifth Monarchy Men (Faber, 1972)
  • Astrology and the Popular press. English almanacs 1500-1800 (Faber, 1979)
  • Cromwell's Navy. The Fleet and the English Revolution (OUP, 1989; paperback, 1992; reissued 2001)
  • The World of John Taylor the Water-Poet (OUP, 1994)
  • When Gossips Meet. Women, the Family and Neighbourhood in Early Modern England ( OUP 2003; paperback, 2004 )


  • 'English Youth Groups and The Pinder of Wakefield', Past and Present, 76 (1977), 127-33. Reprinted in P Slack, ed., Rebellion, Popular Protest and the Social Order in Early Modern England (Cambridge UP, 1984)
  • 'The Political Dimension of Apocalyptic Thought' in C. A. Patrides & J. Wittreich, eds., The Apocalypse in English Renaissance Thought and Literature (Manchester UP, 1984; paperback ed., 1986), 165-89.
  • 'The Fifth Monarchists and Popular Millenarianism; in J. F. McGregor and B. Reay, eds., Radical Religion in the English Revolution (OUP 1984; paperback edn., 1986), 165-89.
  • 'Popular Literature' in B. Reay, ed., Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (Croom Helm, London, 1985; paperback edn., Routledge 1988), 198-243.
  • 'Fear, Myth and Furore: Reappraising the Ranters', Past and Present, 140 (1993), 164-71.
  • 'The Poet and the Bawdy Court: Michael Drayton and the Lodging-House World in Early Stuart London,' The Seventeenth Century, 11 (1995), 27-37.
  • 'Separate Domains? Women and Authority in Early Modern England', in P. Griffiths, A. Fox and S. Hindle, eds., The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England (Macmillan, 1996), 117-45.
  • 'Naval Operations', in J. P. Kenyon and J. Ohlmeyer, eds., The Civil Wars. A Military History of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1638-1660 (OUP, 1998; paperback, 2002), 156-191.
  • 'The Double Standard Revisited: Plebeian Women and Male Sexual Reputation in Early Modern England', Past and Present, 162 (Feb. 1999), 70-100
  • 'Arson, Fear of Arson and Incivility in Early Modern England', in P. Burke, B. Harrison and P. Slack, eds., Civil Histories. Essays Presented to Sir Keith Thomas (OUP, 2000), 197-213.
  • 'Transplanting the Holy Land: Diggers, Fifth Monarchists and the New Israel' in The Holy Land, Holy Lands, and Christian History, ed. R. N. Swanson, Studies in Church History, 36 (Ecclesiastical History Society: Boydell Press, 2000), 288-98
  • 'Gender, Conscience and Casuistry: Women and Conflicting Obligations in Early Modern England', in H. E. Braun & E. Vallance (eds.), Contexts of Conscience in Early Modern Europe (Palgrave, 2004), 116-31, 212-14
  • 'Playgoers, Players and Cross-Dressing in Early Modern London: The Bridewell Evidence', in The Seventeenth Century, xviii (2003), 159-71
  • 'Life, Love and Litigation: Sileby in the 1630s', in Past and Present, 182 (Feb 2004), 55-83
  • 45 articles in the Oxford DNB (2004)
  • My main current project is a book (provisionally entitled ‘The War of Two Cultures’) on the drive to impose moral reformation and discipline on the English people in the wake of Parliament’s victory in the civil wars. Covering the interregnum years (1649-60), it focuses on how far the government’s aspirations could be translated into action in the localities. The programme was extensive, drawing on new and existing legislation to crack down on drunkenness, disorderly alehouses, swearing, sexual immorality, sabbath-breaking, gambling, and to enforce the suppression of Christmas and other holidays, and of many traditional sports, as well as the theatres. What instruments could the regime draw upon to pursue this programme, at the level of parish, borough or county? What level of co-operation did it secure, from whom, and for what reasons? Equally important, what methods of resistance, obstruction and evasion were available to the large numbers who totally rejected both the regime and its programme? How much changed, and how much of the old world survived?
  • Following When Gossips Meet, I am now researching a very different aspect of gender history: masculinity and the expression of emotion in early modern England. This will become an article, as ‘“Jesus Wept”, but did the Englishman?’ It explores the evidence for male tears, both in public and private, and the debates on their acceptability, drawing on personal records, sermons, pamphlets, newspapers and literary works. Contemporary culture and practice were shaped by a range of sometimes conflicting influences, classical, military, religious and social. To be acceptable, tears had to be the ‘right sort of tears’, shed in the right context and for the right reason.
  • A third line of research concerns the ‘white slave trade’ of the mid-seventeenth century, in which children and young men and women were lured away or kidnapped by so-called ‘spirits’, and shipped to Virginia and the West Indies as slave-labour.
Recent Research Topics Supervised (PhD, MA)

Recent/current topics supervised have included-

  • The political thought of William Walwyn
  • Inter-personal violence in 17th century England (esp. Worcestershire)
  • Reformation and society in Guernsey
  • Popular political allegiance in the midlands in the English civil war
  • The church courts in the diocese of Lichfield 1660-1700
  • Religion and the church in the diocese of Lichfield 1600-40
  • Politics and English ballads 1640-1688
  • Women and the boundaries of respectable behaviour in London
  • English representations of North America, 1600-1660
  • The Imposter in Early Modern England
External Examining


  • BA: Sheffield
  • MA: Birkbeck College, London; Sheffield; York
  • PhD/DPhil: Aberystwyth, Cambridge, Durham, London, Nottingham Trent, Oxford, Sheffield, Sussex


  • Australia: Adelaide, Woollongong
  • Finland:Turku


Bernard Capp