I arrived at Keele in 2014, following postdoctoral research fellowships at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London and the University of Manchester. I received my PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2010. I was promoted to a Senior Lectureship in 2018, to a Readership in 2022, and to a Chair in 2024. I am Director of Education for the School of Humanities and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am co-editor of the Royal Historical Society's Camden Series and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. I sit on the Academic Board of the Centre for Port and Maritime History (Liverpool) and am Pathway Lead for Economic & Social History for the ESRC NWSSDTP.

Research and scholarship

I am an economic and social historian, specialising in business history. My current research explores how commercial information was created, disseminated, and received in the early-modern Atlantic world, asking questions about information exchange, the consumption of knowledge, and the acquisition of business education. My second monograph, 'Knowledge, Information, and Business Education in the British Atlantic World, 1620-1760', is under contract with Oxford University Press. This project has been supported by an AHRC Leadership Fellowship (2018-22) and a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2022-23). A collection of essays arising from that AHRC Fellowship, co-edited with Dr Sophie Jones, was published by Brill in 2024: 'Business News in the Early Modern Atlantic World'. I have a particular interest in publishing critical editions of manuscript material, and my latest edition, 'The Letter-book of Thomas Baret, 1672-1677', was published by the Norfolk Record Society in 2021. Two further editions of merchants' letterbooks are under contract with the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (co-edited with Dr Sophie Jones) and with the Scottish History Society.

My work has won multiple national and international prizes. My first monograph, Conflict, Commerce and Franco-Scottish Relations, 1560-1713 (2014) won the 2016 Senior Hume Brown Prize for the best first book in Scottish history (£4,500), and was 'Highly Commended' in the Frank Watson prize competition, hosted by the Centre for Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph, Canada. My work on the Franco-Scottish Auld Alliance and British trade with France has won the IHR’s Pollard Prize, the Economic and Social History Society of Scotland's essay prize, the Northern Studies essay prize and the Scottish History Society's Rosebery Prize.



I teach undergraduate courses on early modern Britain, Europe, and the Atlantic World, and supervise independent research projects for second-and third-year students. My final year research-led module 'News and Knowledge in the Early Modern Atlantic World' explores how information was created, exchanged and acquired in the early-modern Atlantic World.


I contribute to MA History and MRes Humanities teaching and supervise dissertations. I would be delighted to hear from any prospective MA, MRes or PhD student interested in undertaking postgraduate study.

Current and completed PhD students

  • Dr Peter Buckles (completed 2020): ESRC-funded, University of Liverpool: Merchants and Crisis in the Bristol-West India Sugar Trade, 1783-1802
  • Dr Glenn Price (completed 2022): ‘Un-Civil Practices’: The Development of Military Logistic and Supply Systems in the British Isles, 1638-1653
  • Lucy Smith (2019-present): ESRC-funded CASE studentship with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service: Occupational stress and the Victorian asylum
  • Susie Johns (2020-present): ESRC-funded CASE studentship with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service: Popular Perceptions of Time, c. 1550-1800
  • Ceri Fowler (2020-present): Foreign Contagion: Venereal Disease and National Identity in Restoration Literature
  • Hannah Smith (2021-present): ESRC-funded CASE studentship with Staffordshire Archives and Heritage Service: Staffordshire and Slavery: Histories and Memories of an Inland Region


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