Dr Brodie Waddell, Principal Investigator

Brodie works on many different aspects of English society in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a special focus on the lives of poor and labouring people. He has published on writing history ‘from below’, the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, moral influences on economic life, governance through manor courts, and economic complaints in popular preaching. For the Power of Petitioning project, he is especially interested in exploring how small-scale petitions and supplications about local or personal grievances were related to large-scale petitioning about political and religious issues. He is a co-editor and contributor to the Many-Headed Monster history blog and tweets from @Brodie_Waddell. He is based at Birkbeck, University of London.


Professor Jason Peacey, Co-Investigator

Jason’s work has focused on political culture in seventeenth century England, and has mostly been concerned with the development and impact of print culture, and with the ways in which the ‘state’ interacted with ‘citizens’. This has meant studying the nature and uses of propaganda as well as the ways in which members of the public – from all parts of England and all walks of life – followed and participated in political life at a national level. One important issue has inevitably been the relationship between print and petitioning, and the ways in which petitions made their way into print, either as part of public debates or as devices with which to garner attention at Westminster. As part of this project he plans to explore the phenomenon of serial petitioning (across different institutions), and the relationship between petitioning and litigation, another vital way in which contemporaries engaged with national institutions.


Dr Sharon Howard, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sharon Howard’s research interests are in early modern crime and disorder, and women’s and gender history. She has published on the investigation of crime, and relations between local communities and authority in early modern Wales, seventeenth-century perceptions of pain and peril in pregnancy and childbirth, and on the impact of digitisation of historical crime. She has worked as project manager and researcher on several digital history projects, including the Old Bailey Online, London Lives and Digital Panopticon. For the Power of Petitioning project she is focusing on a Cheshire case study and is particularly interested in exploring how petitions were used in disputes as part of diverse and complex litigation strategies, and petitioners’ choices of to whom, where and how to petition. She is on Twitter as @sharon_howard.



In addition to the main project team, other individuals are also contributing directly to this project as consultants.

Dr Gavin Robinson, transcriber

Gavin is a self-employed transcriber and data cleaner. He has over ten years of professional experience, which includes working on Life in the Suburbs, the 1624 Parliament project, and Corpus Synodalium. His own research is on horses, cavalry, and military operations in the English Civil War. He gained his PhD from Reading University in 2001, and has since published two articles and a book. His current project, By The Sword Linked, aims to create a new finding aid and reference work about the British Civil Wars using Linked Open Data.

Tim Wales, transcriber

Tim has worked extensively on many aspects of the social, cultural, and political history of early modern England. He has been Research Associate on the forthcoming edition of the letters and speeches of Oliver Cromwell, to be published by Oxford University Press, and on the Intoxicants and Early Modernity Project. He was also compiler of the Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers. His own research has explored the history of charity, poor relief and the households of the poor. He is also working on clerical sociability in early modern England.

Dr Sarah Birt, freelance researcher

Sarah researched a selection of petitions and petitioners using quarter sessions order books for Worcestershire and Staffordshire, collected a sample of petitions to the Somerset quarter sessions, and added key metadata for the latter. She completed her PhD on seamstresses, mantua-makers, and milliners in seventeenth and eighteenth-century London and is working on a postdoctoral project on women in business in Westminster, 1600-1740.

Dr Anna Cusack, freelance researcher

Anna collected a sample of petitions to the Lancashire quarter sessions and added key metadata for these petitions as well as for a selection of the petitions transcribed on British History Online. She recently completed her PhD on the marginalised dead of London, c.1600-1800, specifically looking at the treatment of the bodily remains of suicides, criminals, Quakers, and Jews.

The IHR Digital team

Jonathan Blaney as Digital Projects Manager and Editor of British History Online, Kunika Kono as Senior Web Developer, and Dr Philip Carter as Head of IHR Digital. Their institutional contribution is detailed on our Partners page.