Professor Ken Fincham
Professor of Early Modern History
University of Kent
Kenneth Fincham's research centres on politics, religion and culture in early modern Britain. His first book, Prelate as Pastor (1990) rescued the Jacobean episcopate from accusations of negligence and indifference, demonstrated a variety of pastoral strategies to advance protestantism, and identified significant differences in churchmanship among the bishops. He has also written on James I as supreme governor, on aspects of Archbishop Laud’s government of the church, on early Stuart Oxford, and has edited Visitation Articles and Injunctions of the Early Stuart Church (2 vols, 1994-8). Additionally he has edited two collections of essays, the first on The Early Stuart Church (1993) and the second, with Peter Lake, on Religious Politics in post-Reformation England (2006), a festschrift for Nicholas Tyacke - his former supervisor. With Tyacke he has written Altars Restored: the Changing Face of English Religious Worship c.1547-1700 (2007). This examines the altar as a site of tension and conflict first between Catholics and protestant iconoclasts in the mid-sixteenth century, and then between Laudian advocates of the protestant altars and their puritan opponents in the mid-seventeenth century. The book draws on surviving artefacts (communion tables, plate and stained glass, among much else) as well as documentary sources, demonstrates the laity as active exponents of change across this 150 year period, and re-assesses parochial worship, the impact of the Laudian reformation, and its enduring legacy after 1660. He is one of three directors of the Clergy of the Church of England Database Project, funded by the AHRC, which provides a relational database of the careers of Anglican clergymen, schoolteachers and ecclesiastical patrons between 1540 and 1835. Since 1992 he has been a convenor of ‘The Religious History of Britain’ seminar which meets fortnightly in term at the Institute of Historical Research in London. He is also on the editorial board of the Boydell Press’s Studies in Modern British Religious History, which has published 29 monographs or collections of essays since its inception in 1999. He is past Secretary and Councillor of the Royal Historical Society, and formerly on the Council of the Church of England Record Society.