Visiting Fellowships-Durham Residential Research Library

Fellowships for the academic year 2019–2020

The new Durham Residential Research Library is delighted to invite applications from researchers for Visiting Fellowships, from one to three months in duration. In addition, a series of named fellowships are available to work on particular collections or subject areas.

The Durham Residential Research Library aims to enable and foster research across the three historic collections of Durham – those held by Durham Cathedral, Ushaw College, and Durham University, including Palace Green Library and the Oriental Museum. They include not only libraries, but also archives, collections of visual and material culture, and architectural assets. The purpose of the Visiting Fellowships is to support research into these globally significant collections.

Named Fellowships

In addition to the general scheme, there are several named visiting fellowship programmes. The Lendrum Priory Library Fellowships specifically support work on the surviving contents of Durham Cathedral’s medieval priory library. This collection is currently the focus of a large-scale digitisation project, Durham Priory Library Recreated. The Holland Visiting Fellowships support research into any of the collections held in Durham.

Fellows will be encouraged to work collaboratively with academic subject specialists, librarians, archivists and curators to realise the collections’ research potential, and to develop innovative research agendas. They will also be encouraged to participate in the life of the University, particularly its broad range of seminar series.


Applicants should submit a short CV together with a summary of the project and materials they propose to work on, and the expected publications or other outcomes (maximum two sides of A4). Applications should demonstrate a serious research interest that focuses on primary source material within the collections held at Durham. Applicants who plan to collaborate with Durham academic staff are especially welcome and should mention this in their application.

We aim to be flexible with fellowship dates – applicants should indicate their preferred dates and their preferred fellowship duration (i.e. one, two or three months). They should also indicate to which university department(s) and/or research centres their research most relates. Applications should be submitted by noon on 14 November 2018. We shall aim to notify successful candidates by early in December.

Fellows will be granted an honorarium of £1,800 per month towards their transport and subsistence costs. Self-catered ensuite study bedrooms at Ushaw College (3.5 miles from Durham city centre) will be available at a competitive rate. Please note that fellows will be expected to arrange their own travel. Fellowships will generally last for one month but can last up to a maximum of three months. Those applying are advised to consult with the relevant collections staff to ensure that the materials they wish to work with are available at the times of their visit.

Information about the collections can be found here:

Academic enquiries: Dr James Kelly

Please send applications to:

CFP Missionaries, Modernity and Education

Call for Proposals Missionaries, Modernity and Education (MiMoRA), Leuven, 13-21 September 2018

Over the past years, the history and impact of missionary movements have become of interest to diverse disciplines within the humanities, including anthropology, theology, architecture and heritage studies, history, and educational sciences. However, this interdisciplinary booming of the field has also led to divergence. This is why KU Leuven researchers from several faculties decided to set up MiMoRA: the Mission and Modernity Research Academy. It aims at bringing together expertise, stimulating international research in Leuven collections, and steering it towards new thematic frontiers by providing a forum for academic debate and creating new networks for young scholars across the globe. MiMoRA is coordinated by KADOC, the interfaculty Documentation and Research Center on Religion Culture and Society at KU Leuven. See our website.

The first Research Academy will study the theme of Christian Missionaries, Modernity and Education and take place from 13 to 21 September. It welcomes researchers working on all types of topics related to Christian missionaries and education in the modern era (1850-), both in a colonial and a postcolonial context. It will address analysis of agency, target audiences, curricula, material culture, heritage, etc. preferably from a comparative perspective (e.g. cross-cultural, diachronic, Catholic/Protestant, …). It obviously is very interested in the religious factor, including inter-religious collaboration or inspiration, as well as the relationship with the secular and the profane. We feel very strongly about innovative and interdisciplinary aspects, examining how, for example, language, acoustics, material culture, and sports and leisure have contributed to the construction and deconstruction of identities and difference in (post-)colonial contexts. More information.

MiMoRa I will take place in Leuven from 13 to 21 September 2018. All participants will be offered accommodation (with a maximum of ten nights); participants from beyond Europe and North America will also receive funding for travel costs. In order to apply, please upload your research proposal (max. 1,500 words, including both your current research and its link with Leuven collections), a CV (max. 1 page, with a picture and language skills), copies of your diplomas, a letter of motivation (ca. 500 words), and a letter of recommendation by your supervisor on our website: application form on the webpageDeadline for submissions is 30 April. The selection of candidates will be based on the application file as well as on geographical and thematic criteria. The selection of candidates will take place before 15 May. After the Research Academy, we aim at publishing a number of research papers in an edited volume with a university press.

Please send further inquiries to

For more information:

CFP urbanisation of Catholic communities

CFP volume of essays examining the urbanisation of Catholic communities in England in the generation after the Relief Acts of 1778 and 1791. (18 George III c. 60 and 31 George III. c. 32.) 

The great majority of this post-Relief generation of lay Catholics lived by profit made in trade and manufacture, or in the provision of professional services. The number of the Catholic gentry was declining to a few hundred, and old missions on their estates were in many cases being transferred to towns.

By 1840 there were over 700 Catholic missions in England, almost all in towns- county towns, ports, leisure towns and, most frequently, industrial towns.  They each had a good-even handsome- church, a presbytery, Sunday schools and charity schools. Their chapels stood on the High streets, alongside the new chapels of the Methodists, the Baptists and the Independents, and in their Classical architecture asserted their pride in the one true faith.  These were paid for by the middle class of the town missions, in the same way as their fellow townsmen who were Church of England or nonconformists, supported their new churches, chapels and schools.

This generation of English Catholics, replaced old habits of getting along with a new assertion and pride.   Catholic life was conducted within the hortus conclusus of home, church and school, secure in the conviction that the Catholic Church was the only true church. Catholics became- and remained well into the 20th century -a fortress church, defending themselves against the not infrequent outbursts of local popular anti-Catholicism, and strengthening their networks of support.

The work of John Bossy, Leo Gooch, and Michael Mullet has  transformed understanding of the laity in this period but to take the work further there is need to dig deeper into the experience of Catholic lay men and women of the poor, working and middle class. This requires a collection of specialist local studies using the tools and techniques of social and local history, as well as ecclesiastical sources. Much work of this kind has been done in the last twenty-five years, but published only locally or in unpublished Ph.D. theses.

Possible topics for such essays could include

  • Catholics, their occupations, relationships, wills.
  • Church buildings, sacred space, architecture, finance, location in the town.
  • Ritual, prayer, services other than Mass, Mass attendance in towns.
  • Church music, at weekly services and for special occasions.
  • Catholic social events, publications, printers and bookshops
  • Social conditions and circumstances of the Catholic poor, location in the town.
  • Sunday schools, Charity schools, education, middle class schools.

Interest is already being shown by contributors concerning towns in the North West and Midlands but such a volume should include London and towns in the North East and South.

Please reply to

Catholics in England 1680-1840 database launch

The Catholic Family History Society (CFHS) is planning the launch of a major new electronic database with a paper delivered by Br. Rory G Higgins FSC of Australia at a seminar on Saturday 7 October 2017 in the Conference Rooms, 24 Tufton Street London SW1P 3RB 10am-4pm.

An Index to the Names and Details of over 250,000 Catholics and their Friends in England 1680 – 1840

Rory Higgins has spent many years compiling this work with support from the Catholic Family History Society, his Superiors and others. The database will be a hugely valuable resource for church, social, political, local and family historians, both in England and around the world. On it are men, women and children from all walks of life, including priests and foreigners living in England. Where available there are details of age, of occupation and of location. References guide the user to the many sources which he has trawled, both original and printed, in order to collect the information together into this database. His earlier successful database is the Australian Nuns Index. Individuals and representatives of organisations involved in records and archives, as well as historians of all interests, will find his latest database to be the research tool everyone has been waiting for.

CFHS hopes you will not miss this opportunity to be amongst the first to explore the potential of this new resource. To express your interest and reserve a place contact:

The period 1680-1840 covers the centuries when Catholicism was effectively outlawed. Records of Catholics are scattered in civil record offices, in Catholic and in Anglican Church archives throughout the country. CFHS are pleased to have William D. Shannon, PhD, to speak on his research in in this era under the title:

Using the Records of the Forfeited Estates Commission (1715-1724) at TNA to reconstruct Catholic Lancashire before and after the First Jacobite Rebellion.

Dr Shannon has delved into the fate of the Catholics involved in the 1715 Battle of Preston, not just those executed, imprisoned or exiled, but also those less directly involved.

Philip Gale will arrange a presentation on the development of The National Archives finding aid Discovery, with particular reference to Catholic records.

Funding available from the CFHS to support research

The Catholic Family History Society is keen to support the research into Catholics within the United Kingdom. The Society has limited funds available and is desirous to assist those interested in undertaking such research which will be of benefit to Catholic family  historians. Small Research Awards will be made on an annual basis.

For more information visit their website, read their blog or find them on facebook