School of History

Dr Charmian Mansell


Telephone: 020 7882 8376


I am a social and economic historian of early modern England. My research interests lie at the intersection of the histories of work, gender and community and my work is primarily concerned with recovering the everyday experiences of ordinary people using court records.

My doctoral thesis, completed at the University of Exeter, explored the experiences of female servants in early modern England. Analysing service from demographic, geographical, economic and social perspectives using evidence from church court depositions, it presented a richer, more textured picture of female service, moving beyond its conceptualisation as domestic and highlighting the important role that women in service played in the early modern community.

My current project, 'Everyday travel and community in England, 1550-1700' recovers patterns of everyday travel and mobility of ordinary people, reconstructing socio-economic networks beyond parish boundaries to locate people’s sense of ‘community’. Using a new methodology that analyses quotidian journeys recorded in court depositions, this project challenges our understanding of early modern communities as self-contained or parochial. It considers the impact of age, gender and occupation in determining who made journeys and why, and where and how far they travelled. It investigates regional variation by mapping everyday mobility in early modern England using GIS, and considers the impact of transport and road networks, local economies and landscapes. It expands the geography of the fundamental mechanics of community – credit networks, social relations and work – beyond the parish.


Undergraduate Teaching

HST5216 - Power, Politics and Religion in Britain, 1530-1649
HST6721 - Death of a Dynasty: Tudors and Stuarts, c.1590-1610

Undergraduate Teaching


Research Interests:

I have wide interests in early modern social and economic history and specialise in the study of court documents. My interests specifically include:

- Gender
- Community and space
- Courts and law
- Women's work
- Mobility



‘The variety of women's experiences as servants in England (1548-1649): evidence from church court depositions’, Continuity and Change, 33:3 (2018), 1-24.

Book chapters

‘Female servants and the village community in south-west England 1560-1640: the labour laws reconsidered’ in J. Whittle (ed.), Servants in Rural Europe, c.1400-1900, (Boydell, 2017), pp.77-94.