Professor Anthony Milton
B.A., Ph.D. (Cantab.), FBA
Department of History
Professor of History
Director of Postgraduate Studies (funding lead)
+44 114 222 2570
Full contact details
Department of History
1 Upper Hanover Street
I grew up in Sheffield but took both my BA and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge, where I was subsequently Stipendiary Research Fellow at Clare Hall for three years before returning to my roots and joining the Sheffield department in 1992. I was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy in 2022.
My books include Catholic and Reformed: The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought, 1600-1640 (Cambridge, 1995, repr. 1996, 2002) and Laudian and royalist polemic in seventeenth-century England: the career and writings of Peter Heylyn (2007, repr. 2013).
I also edited The Oxford History of Anglicanism Volume 1: Reformation and Identity c.1520-1662 (Oxford, 2017).
My latest book -- England’s Second Reformation: the battle for the Church of England 1625-1662 (Cambridge, 2021) – argues that the 1640s, 1650s and early 1660s constituted a 'second reformation' as important as the more famous Tudor reformations, when the identity of the Church of England was fundamentally reshaped in the crucible of civil war, interregnum and the restoration of the monarchy.
I have written numerous articles on the religious, political and intellectual history of early modern England.
I have also worked on Dutch history and Anglo-Dutch relations, leading to my publication in 2005 of The British Delegation and the Synod of Dort (1618-19), a 170,000-word edition of unpublished documents and commentary relating to British participation in the most important international Protestant gathering before modern times. Among my ongoing projects is a book on British Protestantism and Europe 1560-1660.
I am currently writing a biography of Sir Thomas Wentworth, first earl of Strafford (1593-1641) provisionally entitled Image, Language and Power.
I am also returning to my post-doctoral research on politics and national identity in modern Indonesia via a project on perceptions and (self-)representations of Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- Research interests
Part of my current research is focused on the life and career of Thomas Wentworth, 1st earl of Strafford (1593-1641) and the relationship between language, image and power in early modern English and Irish politics.
I also work on religious, cultural and political relations between Britain and mainland Europe between 1560 and 1660. Further ongoing projects include studies of rhetoric and disputation in Elizabethan Cambridge, and of the Gunpowder Plot and anti-catholicism.
I am also planning a larger project on the nature and uses of anonymity in early modern European writing and publishing.
My long-standing interest in politics and ideas in modern South-East Asia is also feeding into a broader study of perceptions and (self-)representations of Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- England's Second Reformation The Battle for the Church of England 1625-1662.
- Laudian and Royalist polemic in seventeenth-century England The career and writings of Peter Heylyn. Manchester University Press.
- The British Delegation and the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). Boydell Press.
- Catholic and Reformed The Roman and Protestant Churches in English Protestant Thought, 1600-1640. Cambridge University Press.
- The Oxford History of Anglicanism, Volume I: Reformation and Identity c.1520-1662. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- The Household Accounts of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1635–1642. Edited by LeonieJames. Boydell & Brewer. Church of England Record Society. 2019. xliii + 277pp. £70.00.. History, 105(368), 870-871.
- BOOK REVIEWS. Archives: The Journal of the British Records Association, 55(2), 53-64.
- A missing dimension of European influence on English Protestantism: The Heidelberg Catechism and the Church of England, 1563-1663. Reformation and Renaissance Review. View this article in WRRO
- Arminians, Laudians, Anglicans, and Revisionists: Back to Which Drawing Board?. Huntington Library Quarterly, 78(4), 723-742.
- Church and State in Early Modern Ecclesiastical Historiography. Studies in Church History, 49, 468-490.
- Licensing, censorship, and religious orthodoxy in early Stuart England. HIST J, 41(3), 625-651.
- Epilogue: Words, Deeds and Ambiguities in Early Modern Anti-Catholicism In Haefeli E (Ed.), Against Popery. Britain, Empire and Anti-Catholicism (pp. 301-320). Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.
- "That Sacred Oratory": Religion and the chapel royal during the Personal Rule of Charles I In Ashbee A (Ed.), William Lawes (1602-1645) Essays on His Life, Times and Work (pp. 69-96). Routledge
- Canon fire: Peter heylyn at westminster, Westminster Abbey Reformed: 1540-1640 (pp. 207-231).
- Introduction: Reformation, identity and “Anglicanism” c.1520-1662 In Milton A (Ed.), The Oxford History of Anglicanism Reformation and Identity C. 1520-1662 (pp. 1-27). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Unsettled Reformations 1603-1662 In Milton A (Ed.), The Oxford History of Anglicanism Reformation and Identity C. 1520-1662 (pp. 63-83). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Attitudes towards the Protestant and Catholic Churches In Milton A (Ed.), The Oxford History of Anglicanism, Volume I Reformation and Identity c.1520-1662 (pp. 333-351). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Rapports de forces et stratégies de positionnement dans la polémique religieuse anglaise de la première modernité In Bouhaik-Girones M, Baranova T & Szczech N (Ed.), Usages et stratégies polémiques en Europe (XIVe-premier XVIIe siècles) (pp. 251-265). Bruxelles: P.I.E-Peter Lang S.A., Editions Scientifiques Internationales.
- A Tale of Two Melanchthons: Melanchthon and English Protestantism 1560-1660 In Beck AJ (Ed.), Melanchthon und die Reformierte Tradition (pp. 129-138). Gottingen: Ruprecht Gmbh & Company.
- Coping with alternatives: religious liberty in royalist thought 1642-7 In Armstrong R & Ó hAnnracháin T (Ed.), Insular Christianity. Alternative models of the Church in Britain and Ireland, c.1570–c.1700 (pp. 149-169). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- New Horizons in The Early Jacobean Period Oxford University Press
- Sacrilege and compromise: court divines and the king's conscience 1642-1649 In Braddick MJ & Smith DL (Ed.), The Experience of Revolution in Stuart Britain and Ireland (pp. 135-153). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- A distorting mirror: the Hales and Balcanquahall correspondence and the Synod of Dordt In Goudriaan A & van Lieburg F (Ed.), Revisiting the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) (pp. 135-161). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV.
- “Vailing the crown”: royalist criticism of Charles I in the 1650s In McElligott J & Smith DL (Ed.), Royalists and Royalism during the Interregnum (pp. 88-105). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- The Church of England and the Palatinate, 1566-1642 In Collinson P & Ha P (Ed.), The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain (pp. 137-165). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Anglicanism and Royalism in the 1640s In Adamson J (Ed.), The English Civil War (pp. 61-81). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Puritanism and the continental Reformed churches, The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (pp. 109-126). Cambridge University Press
- Marketing a massacre: the East India Company, the Amboyna incident and the public sphere in early Stuart England In Lake P & Pincus S (Ed.), The Politics of the Public Sphere in Early Modern England (pp. 168-190). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Religion and community in pre-civil war England In Tyacke N (Ed.), The English Revolution C. 1590-1720 Politics, Religion and Communities (pp. 62-80). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Anglicanism by stealth: the career and influence of John Overall In Lake P & Fincham K (Ed.), Religious Politics in Post-reformation England Essays in Honour of Nicholas Tyacke (pp. 159-176). Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.
- The public context of the trial and execution of Strafford' In Merritt JF (Ed.), The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-1641 (pp. 230-251). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Thomas Wentworth and the political thought of the Personal Rule In Merritt JF (Ed.), The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-1641 (pp. 133-156). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- The creation of Laudianism: a new approach In Lake P, Cogswell T & Cust R (Ed.), Politics, Religion and Popularity in Early Stuart Britain Essays in Honour of Conrad Russell (pp. 162-184). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- 'The Unchanged Peacemaker ? John Dury and the politics of irenicism in England 1630-43 In Greengrass M, leslie M & Raylor T (Ed.), Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation Studies in Intellectual Communication (pp. 95-117). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- A qualified intolerance: the limits and ambiguities of early Stuart anti-Catholicism In Marotti A (Ed.), Catholicism and Anti-Catholicism in Early Modern English Texts (pp. 85-115). Basingstoke: Macmillan Press Ltd.
- Richard Montagu: 'Concerning Recusancie of Communion with the Church of England' In Taylor S (Ed.), From Cranmer to Davidson A Church of England Miscellany (pp. 69-101). Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.
- The Church of England, Rome and the true church: the demise of a Jacobean consensus In Fincham K (Ed.), The Early Stuart Church, 1603–1642 (pp. 187-210). Basingstoke: Macmillan International Higher Education.
- Research group
I have supervised postgraduate research students on topics ranging from the secretariat of Sir Thomas Wentworth and the bedchamber of King Charles I to the politics of information in Jacobean England, religious thought and ecclesiastical music in the early Stuart period, clerical politics and allegiance in early Stuart Cheshire and Lancashire, Jacobean patristic scholarship, and cultural interactions in the English factory in Japan, 1613-1623.
I welcome postgraduates interested in pursuing any aspect of English religious, political, cultural or intellectual history in the period 1560-1700. The University Library at Sheffield is excellently equipped for the study of the printed literature of this period.
- Current Students
- Completed Students
- James Mawdesley - Clerical Politics in Lancashire and Cheshire during the Reign of Charles I, 1625-1649.
- Anne James - Jacobean Patristics.
- David Coast - The Politics of Information in the Correspondence of William Trumbull and Sir Dudley Carleton, 1616-25.
- James Lewis - 'Nifon catange or Japon fation' : a study of cultural interaction in the English factory in Japan, 1613-1623
- Charlotte Brownhill - The personal and professional relationships between Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, and his closest advisors
- Current Students
- Teaching interests
Early modern English and European political, religious and cultural history. I have taught degree-level courses in both Dutch and English history, and an MA module on religious tolerance and intolerance. My new Special Subject is on views of the East and the West in the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Teaching activities
- HST21010 - The Gunpowder Plot
- HST247 - A Protestant Nation? Politics, religion and culture in England 1558-1640
- HST31036 – The West and the East in each other’s eyes
- HST6602 - Early Modernities
- Professional activities
- Founder and co-editor of Manchester University Press monograph series - 'Politics, Culture and Society in Early Modern Britain’
- Member of Advisory Board and steering committee of new AHRC Network on ‘Europe’s Short Peace, 1595-1620’
- Member of the international editorial board of Acta et documenta Synodi Nationalis Dordrechtanae (1618-1619).
- Member of the editorial boards of the Reformation and Renaissance Review and Studies in Puritanism and Piety.
- ‘International Assessor’ for the Irish Government’s Post-Doctoral Scheme
- External assessor of applications for research grants to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Refereeing and Reviewing
Presses: Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Manchester University Press, Ashgate, Boydell, Palgrave, Routledge, Reformation Heritage Books, Stanford University Press, Summum Academic Publications, University of Notre Dame Press, Yale University Press.
Journals: Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte, The Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Diplomacy & Statecraft, English Historical Review, Erudition and the Republic of Letters , Historical Journal, Historical Research, Journal of American Studies, Journal of Anglican Studies, Journal of British Studies, Journal of Early Modern History, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Journal of the History of Reformed Pietism, Journal of Theological Studies, Reformation and Renaissance Review, The Seventeenth Century
Previous administrative roles:
Departmental Director of Research and Innovation; Careers Liaison Officer; Chair of Teaching Committee; Director of Postgraduate Studies.
- Public engagement
I have spoken to the Prince’s Teaching Institute, to the Sheffield and Northampton branches of the Historical Association, and to Hills Road Sixth Form College (Cambridge) and Silverdale School (Sheffield).
Through the 500reformations project I gave a public talk on ‘Was the Reformation the first Brexit?’ at the Central Library, Sheffield (May) and a schools talk ‘Was the English Reformation successful?’ at Silverdale school (April).
I have also given public talks at Auckland Castle and Sheffield Cathedral, spoke on ‘Was the Reformation the first Brexit?’ at the Sheffield Central Library (as part of the 500reformations project), and participated in a public debate with Prof. Frank Furedi and Prof. Angie Hobbs (Philosophy) on ‘Tolerating Intolerance’ as part of the Sheffield Salon series.
In the media:
When an international conference – with invited delegates from seven countries – was held in Dordrecht (Holland) in April 2006 to celebrate the publication of my second book, The British Delegation and the Synod of Dort, I was interviewed separately by journalists from three Dutch newspapers – Reformatorisch Dagblad, De Dordtenaar, and the Friesch Dagblad – each of which published their interview as a full-page article with photographs. The book and conference were also discussed in Drechtsteden and the Nederlands Dagblad. A copy of the book was also formally presented to an alderman of the city.
My paper at a Leuven conference in 2013 made headline news in the newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad (20 April) under the heading ‘Heidelbergse catechismus populair in Anglicaanse Kerk’
I appeared on the US TV version of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ with the Hollywood actress Ashley Judd, and acted as script consultant for a TV documentary by Melvyn Bragg on the King James Bible.