Professor Matthew Davies MA, DPhil (Oxon), FRHistS
Professor of Urban History and Director of the CMH
Matthew has been Director of the Centre for Metropolitan History since 2002. For more about the activities of the Centre visit the CMH website.
He is currently a Pro-Dean of the School of Advanced Study, with responsiblity for a consortium comprising the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Institute of Philosophy.
Other positions held:
- Council Member, British Record Society, 2013-
- Trustee, Historic Towns Atlas Trust, 2013-
- Chair, Isobel Thornley Fund Committee, 2013-
- Visiting Fellow, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington D.C., 2013
- Visiting Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, 2011
- William J. Ringler Jr. Fellow, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2011
- ESRC Peer Review College member, 2010-
- Member of the London Advisory Committee, English Heritage 2008-12
- Chair, London Journal Editorial Committee, and Trustee of the London Journal Trust
- Council Member, London Record Society
- Advisory Board Member, British History Online
- Corrispondente Scientifico, Cittá & Storia (Rome)
- Executive Board member, Records of Early English Drama (University of Toronto)
- Convenor of the Metropolitan History Seminar, IHR
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
Research and publications
Matthew's research interests focus on the history of medieval and early modern London. He is particularly interested in questions relating to the roles of the guilds, known as 'livery companies', in connection with trade and production, regulation (economic as well as moral) and religious culture. His recent work has focused on the ways in which the guilds developed and articulated ideas about their own histories, from the medieval period up to the mid seventeenth century. He is also interested in the government of London, and the way in which causes were promoted by the city's representatives and through corporate and individual lobbying. He is working more broadly on questions to do with London's links with other towns and cities, and with the Crown. He is current writing a history of the city between 1300 and 1550, which will form part of a multi-volume history of London.. He directs and co-directs a number of research projects on the history of London, and teaches on the IHR's MA programmes. He is available to supervise graduate students working in many areas of late medieval and early modern history, and especially the history of London.
Current research projects
- The Layers of London: Mapping the City's Heritage (Heritage Lottery Fund)
- Records of London's Livery Companies Online (ROLLCO)
- People, property and charity: the Clothworkers’ Company 1500-1750 (Clothworkers' Company)
- Locating London's Past: a geo-referencing tool for mapping historical and archaeological evidence, 1660-1800 (JISC)
- Mapping London: a GIS platform for the history of early modern London (Dean's Development Fund)
Previous research projects
- Life in the Suburbs: Health, Domesticity and Status in Early Modern London (ESRC)
- Londoners and the Law: Pleadings in the Court of Common Pleas, 1399-1509 (AHRC)
- Housing environments and health in early modern London 1550-1750 (Wellcome, 2006-8)
- Londoners and the Law: Pleadings in the Court of Common Pleas, 1399-1509 (AHRC, 2006-8)
- London and Middlesex Hearth Tax Project (AHRC, 2008-10)
- People in Place: families, households and housing in early modern London (AHRC, 2003-6)
- Views of Hosts: reporting the alien commodity trade, 1440-45 (ESRC, 2003-5)
- The London and Middlesex Hearth Tax of 1666 (ed. with V. Harding, J. Price and A. Wareham) (British Records Society Hearth Tax Series, IX, 2014)
- London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene (ed. with James A. Galloway) (London, 2012)
- London and the Kingdom: Essays in Honour of Caroline M. Barron (ed. with Andrew Prescott) (Donington, 2008)
- People in Place: Families, Households and Housing in Early Modern London (with V. Harding, P. Baker, M. Merry, O. Myhill, G. Newton and R. Smith) (London, 2008)
- The Religious Houses of London and Middlesex (ed. with Caroline M. Barron) (London, 2007)
- The History of the Merchant Taylors' Company (with Ann Saunders) (Leeds: Maney, 2004)
- The Merchant Taylors' Company of London: Court Minutes 1486-1493 (Stamford, 2000)
- ‘City and Suburbs: London 1400-1700’, in Evolução da Paisagem Urbana: Cidade e Periferia, ed. M. Do Carmo Ribiero and A. Sousa Melo (Braga, 2014), pp. 205-28
- 'Crown, City and Guild in Late Medieval London', in London and Beyond: Essays in Honour of Derek Keene, ed. M. Davies and J.A. Galloway (London, 2012), pp. 241-61
- '"Monuments of Honor": clerks, histories and heroes in the London livery companies', in Parliament, Personalities and Power. Papers Presented to Linda S. Clark, ed. H. Kleineke (Woodbridge, 2011), pp. 145-65
- 'Governors and Governed: the Practice of Power in the Merchant Taylors' Company', in Guilds, Society and Economy in London, 1450-1800, ed. I.A. Gadd and P. Wallis (CMH, London, 2001), pp. 67-83
- 'Artisans, Guilds and Government in London', in Daily Life in the Late Middle Ages, ed. R.H. Britnell (Stroud, 1998), pp. 125-50
- 'The Tailors of London: Corporate Charity in the Late-Medieval Town', in Crown, Government and People in the Fifteenth Century, ed. R.E. Archer (Stroud, 1995), pp. 161-90
- ‘Dame Thomasine Percyvale, “The Maid of Week” (d.1512)’, in Medieval London Widows, 1300-1500, ed. C.M. Barron and A.F. Sutton (London, 1994), pp. 185-207
- 'Lobbying Parliament: the London livery companies in the fifteenth century', Parliamentary History, XXIII (2004), pp. 136-48
- 'Ellen Langwith, silkwoman of London' (with C.M. Barron), The Ricardian, XIII (2003), pp. 39-47
- ‘Staging the city: REED and the digital landscape of early modern London’, in Envisioning REED in the Digital Age, ed. J. Boyd and S-B. Maclean, New Technologies in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (forthcoming, 2015)
He has written the biographies of more than 150 medieval Members of Parliament, as well as a number of constituency surveys, for The History of Parliament: The Commons 1422-1504
Teaching and supervision
Current research students
- Charlotte Berry, 'Margins and Marginality in Fifteenth-Century London'
- Helen Draper, 'Mary Beale and her "paynting room" in London 1655 to 1699'
- Dean Rowland, 'The reception and implementation of local and parliamentary legislation in England, 1422-c.1485'
- Xu Yang, 'Early Modern London and the Rules of Business: London Merchants and Institutions, c. 1500-1800'
Former research students
- Jordan Landes, 'The role of London in the creation of a transatlantic Quaker community in the late 17th and early 18th centuries' (2010). Available online via Ethos.
- David Carmichael, 'Feeding and supporting the poor of London in the early seventeenth century: the city's response to crisis and the effects upon the poor' (2014)
- Samantha Harper, 'London and the Crown in the reign of Henry VII' (2015)
- Laurie Lindey, 'The London furniture trade 1640-1720' (2015)
- Catherine Wright, 'Social and Cultural Connections between the English and Dutch, 1660-1720' (2016)