I have been in the History Department at Keele since 1995, first as Lecturer and since 2003 as Senior Lecturer. Before that I was a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for East Anglian Studies at the University of East Anglia for two years, working on a project to research and publish a history of Norwich Cathedral for its 900th anniversary in 1996. That work was published as Ian Atherton, Eric Fernie, Christopher Harper-Bill, and Hassell Smith, eds, Norwich Cathedral: Church, City and Diocese, 1096-1996 (Hambledon Press: London & Rio Grande, 1996).

At Keele I have fulfilled a number of roles, including School of Director of Education (2017-21), Director of Programmes for History (from 2008-2010), Director of Undergraduate Studies for History (2007), Examinations Officer for History (2001-06), and Secretary for the Humanities Faculty (2000-01).   I was External Examiner for History at Birmingham University (2006-09), and at Bangor University (2016-21) and have been on the board of Midland History since 2001.



Research and scholarship

As a historian of religion, politics and war in early modern Britain, I am working on two broad areas:

  • British cathedrals in the early modern period, exploring how cathedrals were experienced and how they found roles within the wider church. I am also interested in collegiate churches, particularly Manchester and Ripon, in the same period.
  • The memory of conflict. I am writing a book on the changing commemoration of British battlefields from the fourteenth century to the present day, uncovering the changing traditions of the memorialisation of war. The project includes the post-bellum fate of battlefields, customary attitudes to the fallen and to their burial, and practices in the erection of permanent memorials.


Year 1

  • HIS-10026 History, Media, Memory: The Presentation of the Past in Contemporary Culture
  • HIS-10044 Defining Moments in World History, c.1000-2000
  • HIS-10045 The Early Modern World, 1490-1707

Year 2

  • HIS-20067 Sources and Debates
  • HIS-20097 Creating Britain, 1536-1707

Year 3

  • HIS-30086 The English Civil War, c. 1640-6
  • HIS-30087 The World Turned Upside Down:  the English Revolution, c. 1646-53
  • HIS-30103 Dissertation for History

MRes and MA

  • HIS-40002 Approaches to Historical Research
  • HIS-40031 The English Civil War, c. 1640-46
  • HIS-40039 The World Turned Upside Down:  the English Revolution, c. 1646-53
  • HIS-40042 The Art of Dying:  Death and Society in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Further information

Postgraduate Students

I welcome postgraduate students who wish to study early modern English topics, particularly cathedrals, religious conflict, the English Civil War, and the circulation of news, or those who wish to work on topics related to early modern Staffordshire. Such work can be undertaken at masters' level (Keele's MRes in the Humanities) or as a PhD.

Past and present postgraduate students have studied, or are working on:

  • Logistics and Supply in the English Civil War (PhD)
  • The Bedesmen of Worcester Cathedral: Post-Reformation Cathedral Charity compared with St. Oswald's Hospital Almspeople c. 1660-1900 (PhD)
  • The Representations of Royalists and Royalism in the Press, c. 1637-1646 (PhD)
  • Thomas, 3rd Lord Paget and Elizabethan Catholicism (PhD)
  • The Sabbath in the English Revolution (MRes)
  • The English Civil War in Staffordshire, 1642-1651: The Experience of Uttoxeter (MRes)
  • A Comparative Study of Mission at Southwark and Chelmsford Cathedrals, 1930-1970 (MRes)
  • The Church of Christ, Bristol, 1640-1660 (MRes)
  • The Siege of Gloucester, 1643 (MRes)


Download Ian Atherton Publication List here.

School of Humanities
Chancellor's Building
Keele University
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733109

Head of School
Dr Nick Seager
Room: CBB1.038 (Chancellor's Building, 'B' Extension)
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 733142

School and college outreach
Tel: +44 (0) 1782 734009