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Mark Williams

Dr Mark Williams

Reader in Early Modern History, Director of Research and Impact

School of History, Archaeology and Religion

Available for postgraduate supervision


Research interests

I am broadly interested in the cultural, religious, and political history of the seventeenth- and early eighteenth centuries, with particular interest in cultures of movement. This includes:

  • Exile
  • Travel
  • Mobility and Migration
  • Merchant Companies and Trade (particularly the East India Companies, including the VOC/Dutch East India Company)
  • Translation

As part of my current project, I am also increasingly interested in the history of emotion in the early-modern period, specifically the role of fear and anxiety in shaping early modern life as part of the wider globalisation process.



  • Williams, M. R. F. 2023. Restoration. In: Morrill, J. and Temple, L. eds. Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism, vol II: Uncertainty and Change, 1641-1745., Vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press





  • Williams, M. 2016. Nations. In: Loughran, T. ed. A Practical Guide to Studying History: Skills and Approaches. Bloomsbury, pp. 15-30.





Adrannau llyfrau




Research projects

The King's Irishmen

Published by Boydell & Brewer Press (2014), this is the first full-length study of the exiled royalist community during the 1650s. With particular focus on the Irish element, this research has allowed me to interrogate the ways in which issues of mobility, disillusionment, dishonour, and cultural encounters impacted upon notions of identity and belonging more generally in the early-modern world. This research also charts the creation and employment of confessional connections with European courts through common Catholic networks, managing the image of Charles II's court among these Continental communities, engaging in the production of pro-'Anglican' propaganda and shaping destructive post-Civil War acts of remembrance among the exiles.  By reconstructing the mental worlds of these Irish royalists with sensitivity to the impact of exile and dislocation within foreign political cultures, the study demands a more nuanced and complex understanding of the formation of early-modern mentalities which accounts for such formative influences as memory, geography, confession, and social influence across transnational dimensions.

The Uneasy World: A Cultural History of the East India Company, 1600-1757

My current project builds upon my interests in transnational history and mobility to focus on the history of the (English/British) East India Company in the first centuries of its existence. Informed by recent perspectives on the history of temporalities, the body, emotion, and the everyday, I aim to chart the lived experience of those involved in the Company's global movements. Shifting focus away from a historiography which has primarily emphasised economic change and early imperial development, I hope to understand the fundamental anxieties which accompanied this shift towards 'going global', looking at the ways in which these movements posed challenging questions about time, space, place and selfhood in the early stages of globalisation. I do so by reading across a range of archival sources (including English, Dutch, French, and Italian records) and through the lens of recent post-colonial scholarship on the imperial archive.

In collaboration with Prof Stefan Grab (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg), I am also working with the dagboeken ('day-books') of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) held in the Western Cape Archives, South Africa, to reconstruct historical climate and weather patterns as part of a wider interest in the 'global everyday' in the early modern period. Spanning nearly 150-years of nearly unbroken records, the dagboeken of the WCA will be transcribed and digitised as part of assembling the most substantial data set of weather patterns and human engagement with climate in the Southern Hemisphere.


Teaching profile

My teaching is largely focused on early-modern Britain and Ireland, with particular interests on the wider cultural and religious contexts of Europe and the North Atlantic.

I am happy to supervise research students with interests in these fields and transnationalism in the early-modern period more generally.

Current teaching

  • HS1117 -  Renaissance, Reformation, and Revolution
  • HS1107 – History in Practice
  • HS1711 – Exploring Historical Debate
  • HS1793 – Making Empires: Britain and the World, 1541-1714
  • HS1801 - Dissertation
  • HS1828 – Deviants, Rebels, and Witches in Early-Modern Britain and Ireland


Education and qualifications

B.A. (Hons.), Queen's University, Canada

MPhil (Oxon., cum laude) 2008

DPhil (Oxon.) 2010

Career overview

2022 - Present - Reader in Early Modern History, Cardiff University

2018-2022 - Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History, Cardiff University

2013 - 2018 - Lecturer in Early Modern History, Cardiff University

2012-2013 – Lecturer in Early Modern History, University of Leicester

2011-2012 – Irish Government Scholar in the History and Culture of Ireland, Hertford College, University of Oxford

Honours and awards

2020Proxime Accessit, David Berry Essay Prize (Royal Historical Society) - Awarded for 'The Inner Lives of Early Modern Travel', The Historical Journal, 62(2), pp. 349-373.

2018  - Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow, Huntington Library.

2015 - Shortlisted for The Whitfield Prize (Royal Historical Society) for The King's Irishmen: The Irish in the Exiled Court of Charles II, 1649-1660

2013 - Proxime Accessit, The Alexander Essay Prize (Royal Historical Society) – Awarded for 'Between King, Faith and Reason: Father Peter Talbot (SJ) and Catholic Royalist Thought in Exile, 1649-1660', English Historical Review, 127 (528), pp. 1063-1099.

2010 – Oxford University Vice Chancellor's Fund Award

2008 – Research Grant - British Association for Irish Studies (BAIS)

I have also been nominated on three occasions for the Cardiff Student Union 'Enriching Student Life' Awards.

Professional memberships

2022 - Elected to Council of the Society of Renaissance Studies

2016 - Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHS)

2015 - Appointed Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Awarded with Distinction)

2014 - Present - Editorial Board Member, Cultural & Social History

Committees and reviewing

Editorial Board, Cultural & Social History.

I have reviewed for The Historical Journal, English Historical Review, Scottish Historical Review, Irish Historical Studies, ParergonJournal of British Studies, and Renaissance Quarterly, among others.


I am happy to hear from and talk to any prospective students interested in:

  • Early Modern trading companies (British or Dutch)
  • Exile/migration/displacement between the 16th and 18th centuries
  • Transnational/'connected' histories of the early modern period