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Dr Ian W. Archer

Fellow and Tutor in Modern History

Academic Director of the H B Allen Centre


My primary research interests lie in the history of early modern London, though I teach over a broad range of early modern British and European courses. My current research ranges over a variety of issues in London history: charity, popular politics, taxation, and governance.

I was the Academic Editor of the Bibliography of British and Irish History, previously the Royal Historical Society Bibliography, of which I was General Editor from 1999 until 2010. This database aims to make bibliographic data on British History electronically available, and it is interoperable with a wide range of other online resorces.

From 2004 until 2014 I was Literary Director of the Royal Historical Society with responsibility for the Camden Series and the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.

Research Interests


You can view some  of my publications through the links opposite.

Early modern London

I have published recently on a variety of issues relating to the history of early modern London, including taxation, popular politics, government, historical writing, and charity. The Oxford Holinshed Project, of which I am a co-director, was completed with the publication in 2012 of The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles. I am under contract with Oxford University Press to write a general book on the history of early modern London. You can view an additional research resource, the Gazetteer of Military Levies from the City of London, 1509-1603 through this site.

Bibliography of British and Irish History

I was the Academic Editor of this major electronic bibliographical tool from 1999 until 2010. Previously the Royal Historical Society Bibliography on British and Irish History, the resource is now provided on a subscription basis through a partnership between the Institute of Historical Research, the Royal Historical Society, and Brepols, the international publisher. The database (regularly updated) now incorporates over 500,000 records.

The Oxford Holinshed Project

In association with Dr Paulina Kewes (English) and Dr Felicity Heal (History) I co-ordinated research into Holinshed's Chronicles, the crowning glory of Elizabethan historiography. Through support from the Fell Fund of Oxford University, we  prepared a parallel text edition of the 1577 and 1587 versions of the Chronicles. Through a grant from the Marc Fitch Fund we have begun annotation of this freely available resource. Oxford University Press published a Handbook to the Chronicles in 2012. This incorporates forty state of the art essays on the Chronicles and their reception.  The Research Assistant for the project was Dr Henry Summerson.

Keble Past and Present

I have co-written a  new History of the College with  the former Warden, Professor Dame Averil Cameron. It was published in November 2008.  Copies can be ordered through the College. Some of the rich material we were unable to use in the book has now been made available on the College website, under Keble's Past.

Documents on Elizabethan History

One of the missing volumes of the series English Historical Documents covering the Reign of Elizabeth was published in 2011. This provides students with a range of primary source material, and a critical introduction.

The Haberdashers' Company

I am currently updating my histories of the Haberdashers in a new edition to be published in 2017.

Teaching development

In conjunction with Dr John Bennet (formerly Tutor in Archaeology, Keble College) and Duna Sabri (formerly of the Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, University of Oxford) I secured a grant from the Subject Centre for History, Classics, and Archaeology to investigate student understandings of what makes a good essay. The research assistants on the project were Joanne Bailey (History) and Helen Gittos (Archaeology and Anthropology). The final report on this project is now available on the Oxford Learning Institute website.

Recent Publications

  • with Derek Keene, The Singularities of London, 1578 (London Topographical Society, 2014)
  • 'Sir John Swinnerton' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. (OUP, 2013)
  • 'Up and Down the Social Ladder in Elizabethan England' in Elizabeth I and Her People, ed. T. Cooper (National Portrait Gallery, 2013)
  • 'The City of London and River Pageantry, 1400-1856' in Royal River: Power, Pageantry, and the Thames, ed. S. Doran (National Maritime Museum London, 2012)
  • P. Kewes, I. Archer, and F. Heal, The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles (OUP, 2012)
  • 'Religious identities' in Thomas Middleton in context, ed. Suzanne Gossett (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • 'Rhetorics of metropolitan incorporation. The dialogue between City and Crown in Elizabethan London' in Trouver sa place. Individus ey communautes dans l'Europe moderne, ed. Antoine Roullet, Olivier Spina, and Nathalie Szczech (Casa de Velazquez, 2011)
  • with Douglas Price, Elizabethan Historical Documents. Volume VA. 1558-1603 (Routledge, 2011)
  • 'Commerce and Consumption' in The Elizabethan World, ed. Nornan L. Jones and Susan Doran (Taylor Francis, 2010)
  • 'London' in Milton in Context, ed. Stephen Dobranski (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • 'Sources for the early modern English almshouse' in Sources for the history of hospitals in medieval and early modern Europe, ed. Martin Scheutz et al. (Bohlau Verlag , 2010)
  • 'The City of London and the Theatre' in The Oxford Handbook to Early Modern Theatre, ed. Richard Dutton (Oxford University Press, 2009)
  • 'Hospitals in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England' in Europaisches Spitalwesen. Institutonelle Fursorge in Mittelalter und Fruher Neuzeit. Hospitals and Institutional Care in Early Modern Europe, ed. Martin Scheutz et al. (Oldenbourg, 2008)
  • '"Civic Culture" in Later Medieval and and Early Modern London' in Journal of Urban History, 34:2 (2008), 370-379
  • 'City and Court Connected: The Material Dimensions of Royal Ceremonial, ca. 1480-1640' in Huntington Library Quarterly, 71:1 (2008), 157-79
  • 'The Charity of London Widows in the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries' in Local Identities in Late Medieval and Early Modern England, ed. Norman L. Jones and Daniel Woolf (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)
  • 'Discourses of History in Early Modern London' in Huntington Library Quarterly, 68: 1-2 (2005), 205-26
  • The Haberdashers’ Company in the Later Twentieth Century (Chichester: Phillimore, 2004)
  • 'John Stow, Citizen and Historian' in John Stow (1525-1604) and the Making of the English Past, ed. I.A. Gadd and A. Gillespie (London: British Library, 2004)
  • Various articles in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. C. Matthew and B. Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), with subsequent electronic updates
  • with S. Adams, G.W. Bernard, M. Greengrass, P. Hammer, and F. Kisby, Religion, Politics, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • 'London and Westminster' in A Companion to Renaissance Drama, ed. A. Kinney (Oxford: Blackwells, 2002)
  • 'The Charity of Early Modern Londoners' in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, sixth series, 12 (2002), 223-244
  • 'The Livery Companies and Charity' in Guilds, Society, and Economy in London, 1450-1800, ed. I.A. Gadd and P. Wallis (London: Centre for Metropolitan History, 2002)
  • 'Government in Early Modern London: the Challenge of the Suburbs' in Two Capitals. London and Dublin, 1500-1840, ed. P. Clark (London: British Academy, 2001)
  • 'The Arts and Acts of Memorialization in Early Modern London' in Imagining Early Modern London: Perceptions and Portrayals of the City from Stow to Strype, ed. J.F. Merritt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
  • 'The Burden of Taxation on Sixteenth-Century London' in Historical Journal, 44 (2001), 599-627
  • 'The Government of London, 1500-1650' in London Journal, 26: 1 (2001), 19-28
  • 'Material Londoners?' in Material London, c. 1600, ed. L.C. Orlin (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000)
  • 'Politics and Government, 1540-1700' in The Cambridge Urban History of Great Britain, vol. II, 1540-1840, ed. P. Clark (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000)
  • 'Popular Politics in Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century London' in Londinopolis: Essays in the Social and Cultural History of Early Modern London, ed. P. Griffiths and M. Jenner (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000)
  • 'Social Networks in Early Modern London: The Evidence from Pepys' Diary' in Communities in Early Modern England, ed. A. Shepard and P. Withington (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000)
  • 'Shakespeare's London' in A Shakespeare Companion, ed. D.S. Kastan (Oxford: Blackwells, 1999)
  • 'The 1590s: Apotheosis or Nemesis of the Elizabethan Regime?' in Fins de Siècle: How Centuries End, 1400-2000, ed. A. Briggs and D. Snowman (London and New Haven:Yale U.P., 1996)
  • 'The Nostalgia of John Stow' in The Theatrical City: Culture, Theatre, and Politics in London, 1576-1649, ed. D. Smith, R. Strier, and D. Bevington (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
  • 'Patronage and Clientage in Elizabethan London' in Patronages et Clientélismes 1550-1750 (France, Angleterre, Espagne, Italie), ed. C. Giry-Deloison and R. Mettam (Université Charles de Gaulle Lille III, Institut Français du Royuame-Uni, 1994)
  • The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991)
  • The History of the Haberdashers' Company (Chichester: Phillimore, 1991)
  • Hugh Alley's Caveat: The London Markets in 1598 (London Topographical Society, 1988)
  • 'The London Lobbies in the Later Sixteenth Century' in Historical Journal, 31 (1988), 17-44
  • Associate Editor, Tudor England: An Encyclopaedia, (2001)
  • Section editor, 'England and Wales, 1500-1700 in Royal Historical Society Annual Bibliography of British and Irish History: Publications of 2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001)
  • Section editor, 'England and Wales, 1500-1700' in Royal Historical Society Annual Bibliography of British and Irish History: Publications of 1999 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2000)

Academic Biography

  • Research Associate, Institute of Historical Research, London (2000 - present)
  • Fellow and Tutor in Modern History, Keble College,Oxford (1991 - present)
  • Fellow and Director of Studies in History, Downing College, Cambridge (1989 - 1991)
  • Research Fellow, Girton College, Cambrige (1986 - 1989)