IMEMS Fellowship: Exploring the manuscripts of the English Poor Clares

In 2007 Durham University Library was gifted the lion’s share of the library of the English Poor Clares. Consisting of 796 printed works and 74 manuscripts, the extensive collection contains what remains of the libraries of the four major English Poor Clare convents of the early seventeenth century: Gravelines, Dunkirk, Aire and Rouen. After returning to England during the French Revolution, the nuns settled at Haggerston Castle in Northumberland, then Scorton Hall in Yorkshire, and…

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Conference Report: Early Modern Orders and Disorders, 28th June- 30th June 2017

Last month I was lucky enough to present a paper at ‘Early Modern Orders and Disorders: Religious Orders and British and Irish Catholicism’. The conference was held at the University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway, a beautiful building right in the heart of London and moments away from Trafalgar Square. The event was well attended, with scholars from across the globe coming together to discuss the current state of Catholic studies and enjoy papers…

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Book Review: Jane Lead and her Transnational Legacy

Jane Lead and the Philadelphian Society are not particularly well known figures to most scholars of late 17th- and early 18th-century religion. Born in 1624, Lead experienced a spiritual awakening aged 16. On Christmas Day 1640, while her family danced and celebrated, she was overwhelmed with a ‘beam of Godly light’ and a gentle inner voice offering spiritual guidance. After the death of her husband in 1670 she received daily spiritual outpourings, finding comfort in…

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The Theosophical Transactions of the Philadelphians (No. 3)

The third volume of the Philadelphian’s Theosophical  The movement faces its first criticisms  Transactions reveals that the enthusiasm present in the first and second volumes was on the decline. It starts with a condemnation of an attack on the Philadelphian Society, published as The principles of a people stiling themselves Philadelphians (1697). The book was written by the exiled French Huguenot Daniel Lafite, who had been ordained as an Anglican deacon and priest in 1687.…

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Who wrote ‘The Book of Margery Kempe’?

The Book of Margery Kempe is undoubtedly one of the most important surviving pieces of medieval English literature. It allows us insight into a multitude of different issues: gender roles, marital relations, female authority, Lollardy, pilgrimage, fasting, the hazards of travel and contested visionary experience, to name just a few. Yet until the twentieth century very little was known about it at all. Small extracts from the Book were printed in 1501 and 1521, but…

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