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Name: Esther Lewis

PhD: Medieval History

Thesis Title: Popular Piety in Pre-Reformation Bristol, 1400-1500. 


Thesis Description:

My research focuses on popular piety in the city of Bristol during the fifteenth century. It will investigate the relationship between topography, neighbourhood, parish and piety, employing ideas about networks in this analysis. This work aims to study all of the 18 parishes that comprised the town, positioning itself at the juncture of social and institutional history.  It will consider economic, social and spatial aspects that may have contributed to the pieties of Bristolians.  It will also consider orthodoxy and heterodoxy as two ends of a spectrum of belief which people moved between. This work has three broad research questions. First, what is the relationship between neighbourhood and piety? Second, what influences on popular piety in fifteenth-century Bristol can be identified. Third, to what extend did religious choice shape the pious life of the town. 



Supervisors and Institution(s):

Dr Rob Lutton, Univeristy of Nottingham

Dr Richard Goddard, University of Nottingham


Previous Education:

History BA (Hons), First Class - University of Nottingham

History MA, Distinction - University of Nottingham


Scholarly/Public Engagement


  • 4/7/2019, 'A Prayer Book and a Will: Reconstructing the Life Cycle and Possessions of Isabel Ruddok', Leeds International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds.
  • 11/5/2019, 'Prayer Books, Wills, Possessions and Priorities: A Discussion of Isabel Ruddok's Piety', International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA. 
  • 8/3/2019, 'Markers of Pious Belonging in Fifteenth-Century Bristol Wills', The Late Medieval Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, London. 



  • 4/7/2018, 'Bristolian Burgesses: Urban Piety in Fifteenth-Century Testamentary Evidence', Leeds International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds. 
  • 25/6/2018, Organiser of Negotiating Networks: New Research on networks in social and economic history, Institute of Historical Research, London. Blog post here.
  • 24/5/2018, Research Relay, Midlands 3 Cities Research Festival, Birmingham
  • 16/5/2018, 'Pious preference in the wills of late medieval Bristolians', Medieval Postgraduate Research Seminar, University of Nottingham. 
  • 4/5/2018, 'The Parish, Suburb and City: A Discussion of Boundaries in the Pious Lives of Fifteenth-Century Bristolians’, Medieval Midlands Postgraduate Conference 2018, University of Nottingham
  • 11/4/2018, 'Resistance, self-defense or sticking up for your friends?: a discussion of purgation in fifteenth-century lollardy trials', Heretical Self Defense, University of Nottingham
  • 11/10/2017, 'Mainstream piety and dissent in a fifteenth-century Bristolian parish: the case of St Thomas the Martyr', History Research Seminars, University of Nottingham.





  • Introduction to the Medieval World

Associate Fellowship of the Academy for Higher Education, May 2019. 



  • E. Lewis, ‘Resistance, self-defence or sticking up for your friends?: a discussion of purgation in the prosecution of fifteenth-century lollards’, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 64 (2019), pp. 169-190.

  • E. Lewis, ' ‘The Right Ordering of Souls’: The Parish of All Saints’ Bristol on the Eve of the Reformation (by Clive Burgess)', Nottingham Medieval Studies, 63 (2018). Review Article.
  • E. Lewis, 'The Hidden History of St Thomas the Martyr in the fifteenth century': 
  • E. Lewis, ‘Uncovering the Past’, Pinnacle 05 (Spring 2018), pp. 28-32. 
  • E. Lewis, ‘The Squint’, Pinnacle 04 (Autumn 2017), p. 37.


Professional Associations

  • The Bristol Record Society 
  • Associate Member of the Regional History Centre, UWE.
  • Social History Society


Email address:

Twitter: @EL_1434


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