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School of History

Dr Linda Briggs


Lecturer in Early Modern European History

Room Number: ArtsTwo 2.03


I am a cultural and social historian of early modern France. My research centres on rituals and festivals in times of political and religious conflict, with particular focus on the Field of Cloth of Gold and the French Wars of Religion.

Prior to joining Queen Mary in 2018, I was a Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of Manchester. I received my PhD from the University of Warwick, and my MA and MLitt from the University of St Andrews.

Undergraduate Teaching

HST4602 History in Practice
HST4202 Reformation to Revolution: Europe and the World, 1500-1800
HST5220 Violence in Early Modern Europe
HST5221 Reformations and the City in Early Modern Europe
HST5900 History Internship


Research Interests:

My research focuses on the cultural, religious and social history of early modern France. I specialise in rituals and festivals during the Valois and Bourbon monarchies, accessing this history through visual and material cultures as well as print and manuscripts.

My current work examines the ephemeral art and architecture created by local communities to mark royal visits to their cities in the French Wars of Religion. I deconstruct iconography in this street decoration to demonstrate that art was used to petition the monarch. The nature of these petitions varied considerably between cities, with some seeking improved legal privileges while others demanded the expulsion of Protestant 'heretics'. This comparative study establishes an intimate portrait of how different communities responded to the prospect of Crown-enforced religious co-existence. I am now preparing this work for publication as a monograph.

My new research centres on the Field of Cloth of Gold, the diplomatic meeting and festival between Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France in 1520.

My broader interests include:

- Visual and material cultures in early modern Europe
- Histories and theories of violence
- Histories of memory
- Cultural exchanges between France and the New World
- Public history and heritage


"Presenting the Most Christian King: Charles IX's Performance of Catholic Ritual in the Royal Tour of France (1564-1566)", French History 32.1 (2018).

"'Concernant le service de leurs dictes Majestez et auctorité de leur justice': Perceptions of Royal Power in the Entries of Charles IX and Catherine de Médicis (1564-1566)", in J.R. Mulryne, Maria Ines Aliverti, Anna Maria Testaverde (eds), Ceremonial Entries in Early Modern Europe: The Iconography of Power (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2015).

Waterborne Pageants and Festivities in the Renaissance, edited with Margaret Shewring (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013).

Public Engagement

- Inside Versailles, BBC 2 (June 2016), on festivities at the court of Louis XIV
- The Sunday Programme, BBC Radio 4 (October 2016), on Martin Luther (with Diarmaid McCulloch)
- Up All Night, BBC Radio 5 Live (October 2017), on Martin Luther