This website has been created by members of the History of Women Religious of Britain and Ireland (H-WRBI) to encourage research and make available material to facilitate that research at all levels. We are broad in scope and time period covering the history of religous women from medieval to modern times.
The organisation includes both academics, archivists, students and others interested in this area of study. They come from all over the world and meet at our annual conference; otherwise they communicate electronically via a listserve.
If you would like to contribute to this discussion please contact us.
Dr Caroline Bowden | Dr Carmen Mangion | Dr Deirdre Raftery| Dr Kimm Curran
© J Cartwright, Llanllugan Convent Church
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This year’s recipient of the Distinguished Historian Award at the Conference on the History of Women Religious was our very own Caroline Bowden. Professor Margaret McGuinness in presenting Caroline this prestigious award (see photo) noted:
Caroline received a PhD from the University of London's Institute of Education in 1996 and is currently a senior research fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, she has been an Associate Research Fellow at the Centre for Religious History, St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill; and a Research Fellow on the Wellcome-funded project, 'The Health of the Cecils, c1550-c1660’ at Royal Holloway, University of London.
In her current position, she initiated and now manages the Who Were the Nuns? Project, which has (and I quote) “given us unrivalled information on the identities of several thousand early modern English women, exiled in convents in continental Europe.” Her work on this project has led to the discovery of a rich range of new sources about the lives of these women, as well as the histories of their communities. Who Were the Nuns? has led to several publications, including a six-volume series of original manuscript material, published by Pickering & Chatto in 2012/13.
Two of our awardee’s recommenders have commented on the way she has mentored younger scholars. One writes that “Because she has not held a teaching post at a university, she does not have PhD students. But, she has encouraged numerous new scholars, pointing them in the directions of sources and helping to develop their understanding of the history of women religious.” Another nominator offered further praised, writing: “[her] achievement lies not only with the resources she and her team have produced, but the extensive network of scholars and enthusiasts she has attracted to the project through her unfailing generosity, willingness to give advice, infectious love of collaboration, and extension of opportunities to newcomers and young scholars, such as myself. . . . I can say, unequivocally, that my doctoral thesis would not be half as well-researched without her generous input.”