Welcome to Martinalia. An academic career generates material which for one reason or another does not get into print. There are public lectures and keynote addresses. Some are never intended for publication. Others are commissioned for projects which never get off the ground. There is material prepared for teaching, which may be useful to colleagues and students involved in similar courses. Some projects seem worth sharing with interested readers even though they remain unfinished, lacking the final polish needed for conventional academic publication. Since 2014 I have used Martinalia to publish essays and research reports. 

The term “Martinalia” was coined by my friend Jim Sturgis.  

The Terling thesis: an agenda for the reconsideration of the work of Wrightson and Levine (review essay)

In 1979, Keith Wrightson and David Levine published Poverty and Piety in an English Village: Terling 1525-1700, a study of social change in Essex

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Terling images: towards a reconsideration of the 'Terling thesis'

This file forms part of preparation for a re-consideration of the 'Terling thesis', the findings in Poverty and Piety in an English Village [PPEV], a study of the Essex parish of Terling from 1525 to 1700 by Keith Wrightson and David Levine. This preliminary study seeks to explore and reconstruct the Terling of c.1600. It argues that a distinction should be drawn between the wider parish and the actual village. It also emphasises that the latter was dominated by a very large mansion belonging to one of the county's leading families, and that an active (in some cases, over-active) inn, the Angel, stood at its centre. An alternative explanation for campaigns against social disorder in the early seventeenth century, one that stresses gentry control, is advanced in "The Terling thesis: an agenda for the reconsideration of the work of Wrightson and Levine"

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Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: the origins of the Lutyens Building

The story of the Lutyens Building, now the backdrop to Magdalene's Benson Court, forms a well-known part of College history and legend.

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Asquith, the Maurice debate and the historians – after 36 years

In 1985, I published an article on the political tactics of the former British Liberal prime minister, H.H. Asquith, in the Maurice debate of 9 May 1918

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Did Parnell swear the IRB oath? A sceptical review

Between 1987 and 2011, two respected historians, Paul Bew and Patrick Maume, presented evidence suggesting that Charles Stewart Parnell swore the Fenian oath following his release from Kilmainham in 1882. 

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Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: James Stearn, the Head Porter who died of grief

This note, on the death of James Stearn in 1918, forms a tailpiece to "Magdalene College Cambridge and the First World War" (

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Age at death of British monarchs: a neglected element in historical understanding?

This essay is an exercise in counterfactual history. It asks what would have happened had some British monarchs lived longer (or, in some long-lived cases, died sooner). 

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Magdalene College Cambridge Notes: prime-ministerial visits, from Gladstone to Macmillan

Five prime ministers visited Magdalene between 1841 and 1965.

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From Butt to Balfour: Edward King-Harman (1838-1888)

Edward King-Harman was a Protestant and Conservative Home Ruler in the eighteen-seventies who became a Unionist and a defender of his fellow landlords in the following decade. Some aspects of his journey from Butt to Balfour provide illuminating contrasts to the career of his contemporary, fellow Protestant landlord Charles Stewart Parnell.

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Havering History Cameos: Exploring Essex

During my eight years as the volunteer contributor to the Romford Recorder's Heritage column, I wrote a number of columns – mainly for August issues – describing places across the border with Essex that were worth a visit. Although Havering ceased to be part of the county for administrative purposes in 1965, links remain strong, for instance through cricket. It's worth emphasising the message that Havering still "belongs" to Essex – and vice-versa.

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