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Name: Thomas Rose

PhD: History

Thesis Title: Hunting, Politics and Culture in Early Stuart England


Thesis Description:

James I and Charles I have been called 'two sporting monarchs' (Griffin, 2009). In particular, they were obsessed with hunting. Yet the role hunting played in the early Stuart period has been surprisingly unstudied. My research will for the first time analyse the full social, political and cultural significance of hunting in early Stuart England. It will study the multiple roles that hunting played in this period, thereby transcending the existing scholarship, which has focused narrowly on hunting as a provoker of social protest, through the prism of the Civil Wars (eg Beaver, 2008; Manning, 1992). In this way my PhD, by analysing this activity of elite sociability, will shed crucial new light on gentry politics, the court and the politics of accessibility; moreover, through using distinctions between place and space (Jerram 2010), the study will move beyond the traditional focus on formal exchanges of politics in parliament and royal palaces. Political history will furthermore be intertwined with cultural history by drawing on novel visual sources and material culture to broaden ad enrich the analysis. 

My main research questions are:

How did hunting facilitate sociability among England’s political elite, and how far did this elite culture transcend down the social scale?

What role did hunting play in forming a gentry and aristocratic identity based around honour, chivalry, and gentility, and how does this fit into the political culture of the pre-Civil War period?

How can early Stuart hunting practices inform a broader relationship between leisure pursuits and the exercise of power?

How did royal enthusiasm for hunting affect the practice of politics, in terms of access, patronage and public perceptions?

Can any chronological patterns be seen with royal hunting, in terms of James I and Charles I primarily, but also with Elizabeth I and other contemporary European rulers where studies exist?

How did its socio-political importance manifest itself in cultural artefacts (paintings, interior decoration and material culture)?


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Julia Merritt (Department of History, University of Nottingham)

Dr Tara Hamling (Department of History, University of Birmingham)


Previous Education:

History BA (Hons), University of Nottingham - 1st class

History MA, University of Nottingham - Distinction

I have been at the University of Nottingham my whole higher education career. During the final year of my BA I first began studying the early Stuart period when I took part in the special subject on James I, led by Julia Merritt. The dissertation was loosely linked also supervised by Julia, and was entitled ‘England’s Bane’: Popular Portrayals and Perceptions of Drunkenness in Early Modern England - a cultural study of the concept of drunkenness, concentrating especially on Puritan writers.

I then moved straight into studying a Masters at UoN, earning a scholarship from the School of Humanities. It was during my MA dissertation that I began studying early Stuart hunting, in a thesis entitled The Sylvan Prince: James I and Hunting, c. 1603 – 1613. Covering the first ten years or so of the early Stuart period, I challenged the traditional historiography on the subject that saw the chase as simply the pastime of an absentee king, instead placing hunting as a crucial political act for Jacobean kingship, and occupying a central place in early Jacobean political culture. 


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

  • Over 2017 and 2018 I am working at the Queen Elizabeth Hunting Lodge in Epping Forest. This will involve a series of talks, exhibitions, and articles about poaching in Epping (or Waltham, as it was known in the early modern period) Forest, and also James I and his relationship with Wanstead House.
  • February 2018: Paper delivered to the University of Nottingham History Department seminar series, entitled ''This Sylvan Prince': James I, Hunting, and the Politics of Sociability'
  • November 2017: Paper delivered to the 2017 Midland History Conference at the University of Worcester, entitled ‘The Socio-Politics of Hunting in Early Stuart England: three case studies from the Midlands’
  • October 2017: Paper delivered to the Early Modern Discussion Group at the Sheffield Centre for Early Modern Studies, entitled ‘The Socio-Politics of Hunting in Early Stuart England: three case studies from the Midlands’.
  • June 2017: poster presentation at the M3C festival at the University of Leicester, entitled 'The Sylvan Prince: Hunting, Politics and Kingship in the Jacobean Court'.
  • 2016: Founder member and editor at the Midlands Historical Review, a postgraduate journal catered for undergrad, MA and PhD students that is set to be launched in summer 2017.

Other Research Interests:

  • Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-century politics, society and culture
  • Early Stuart political thought


University email address:


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