Dr Tom Leng

M.A., Ph.D. (Sheffield)

Department of History

Senior Lecturer in History

+44 114 222 2583

Full contact details

Dr Tom Leng
Department of History
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
S3 7RA

I became a lecturer at the History Department at Sheffield in 2005, having previously completed both my B.A. and Ph.D. at the university. I have previously taught at the University of Nottingham, and worked on a number of projects at the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) here at Sheffield.

My Ph.D. was on the subject of Benjamin Worsley (1618-1677), an individual most famous for having claimed to have drafted the Navigation Act of 1651, the major piece of English commercial legislation to that date, but whose diverse interests also encompassed experimental science, alchemy, and spiritual introspection. I published my thesis as a monograph in 2008 as part of the Royal Historical Society's Studies in History series, entitled Benjamin Worsley (1618-1677). Trade, Interest, and the Spirit in Revolutionary England.

My second project was on the Merchant Adventurers of England in the seventeenth century, and led to the publication of a book, Fellowship and Freedom. The Merchant Adventurers and the Restructuring of English Commerce, 1582-1700, published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

Research interests

I recently completed a project on the Merchant Adventurers of England in the seventeenth century. It examined internal conflicts within merchant communities and companies, and the social and intellectual geneses of seventeenth century 'free trade' campaigns. I aim in future to continue to research mercantile culture in early modern England more broadly.



  • Leng T (2020) Fellowship and Freedom The Merchant Adventurers and the Restructuring of English Commerce, 1582-1700. USA: Oxford University Press. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Leng T & Britain RHSG (2008) Benjamin Worsley (1618-1677). Trade, Interest and the Spirit in Revolutionary England. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Book reviews

Research group

Research supervision

I would be interested in supervising students with an interest in any element of English overseas trade and exploration in the early modern period, as well as aspects of economic life more broadly.

Current Students

Primary Supervisor

Second Supervisor

All current students

Completed Students
  • Mabel Winter (second supervisor) - Finance, commerce, and politics in seventeenth-century England: The case of Thompson and Company 1671-1678
  • Michael Bennett (second supervisor) - Merchant Capital, Hybrid Knowledge, and the Formation of English Colonial Labour Regimes c.1600 – c.1700.
  • Alexander Taylor (second supervisor) - Venting Smoke: The Trade and consumption of Tobacco in Early Modern England and Wales c 1625-1685.
  • Alexander Hitchman (second supervisor) - They themselves will be the Judges what commands are lawfull': Legal pamphlets and political mobilisation in the early 1640s.


Find out more about PhD study in History

Teaching activities


  • HST239 - The Export of England: Seventeenth Century Trade and Empire
  • HST3142/3 - Merchants, Mariners and Migrants: The English Overseas c1570-1624


  • HST6602 - Early Modernities
  • HST6850 - Palaeography