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Professor Neil Murphy


Department: Humanities

My main interests lie in the history of later medieval and early modern France, especially the period 1300 to 1600, as well as war and foreign relations during the reign of Henry VIII. I work principally from archival materials and I am also the reviews editor of the journal Archives.

I joined Northumbria in 2012 and was made Professor of History in 2020 and have published five books and thirty articles/chapters on a wide range of topics. In particular, I have written extensively on the history of medieval and early modern France, from the thirteenth to eighteenth centuries. My first book (Brill, 2016) examined the ceremonial entries of French monarchs in the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, and argues that they provided moments of negoiation between the king and urban elites who sought to win new privileges in return for staging these ceremonies. My second book (Palgrave, 2016) focused on the court of John II (the Good) during his period of captivity following his capture at the battle of Poitiers in 1356 and showed how he used display to assert his status as king of France during a period of great adversity. My most recent book (CUP, 2024) examines the emergence of comprehensive plague management systems in early modern France and argues that the French developed a polycentric system of plague care which drew on the input of numerous actors combat the disease. My most recent research focused on plague in early modern France is in part related to my ongoing wider interest in the urban history of pre-modern France. My next book on France with focus on the French defeat at Pavia in 1525 and the capture of Francis I, which despite being one of the most important moments in the history of Europe in the early sixteenth century has attracted relatively little attention.


Beyond my work on France, much of my recent research has focused on Henry VIII and his wars. My Tudor Occupation of Boulogne (CUP, 2019) examined Henry VIII's final war in France in the 1540s. This book investigates the consequences of this action by examining the devastating impact of warfare on the native population, the methods the English used to impose their rule on the region (from the use of cartography to the construction of fortifications) and the development of English colonial rule in France. I have also written widely about Henry's campaigns and the nature of Tudor violence in a range of articles. I have recently published a book (Boydell, 2023) on Henry VIII's war with Scotland in the 1520s, which looks at this richly documented conflict from both the English and Scottish perspectives both to understand how each country acted to defend the frontier, and consider the political issues which drove the Anglo-Scottish wars of the sixteenth century. This has led me to develop an interest in the sixteenth-century Scottish history and most recently the career of Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus (1489-1557). I am currently finishing books on Henry VIII's European ambitions and a study of spying during his reign.


Finally, my most recent research focuses on animals and particularly epizootics/panzootics, with the aim of moving non-human animal population to the centre of historical studies of disease. I am finishing a study of cattle plague in early modern focusing on how early modern populations thought about the intespecies transmission of disease.


  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Plague, Towns and Monarchy in Early Modern France, Murphy, N. 25 Apr 2024
  • The Crown and Plague, Murphy, N. 25 Apr 2024, Plague, Towns and Monarchy in Early Modern France, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press
  • Thomas Howard and the Character of English Violence during the Reign of Henry VIII, Murphy, N. 25 Apr 2024, Harfleur to Hamburg, London, Hurst Publishers
  • Episcopal entries and urban liberties in late medieval and Renaissance France, c. 1200–c. 1600, Murphy, N. 21 Oct 2023, In: French History
  • Henry VIII, the Duke of Albany and the Anglo-Scottish War of 1522-1524, Murphy, N. Mar 2023
  • Plague Hospitals and Poor Relief in Late Medieval and Early Modern France, Murphy, N. 2 Oct 2022, In: Social History
  • Plague Hospitals, Poverty and the Provision of Medical Care in France, c. 1450–c.1650, Murphy, N. 1 Jun 2022, In: Journal of Social History
  • Refugees, Forced Migration and Henry VIII’s Conquest of France, 1544–46, Murphy, N. 22 Dec 2022, Shadow Agents of Renaissance War, Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press
  • A ‘very fowle warre’: Scorched earth, violence, and Thomas Howard’s French and Scottish campaigns of 1522-1523, Murphy, N. 1 Nov 2021, In: War in History
  • La campaña de Enrique VIII en Gascuña, Murphy, N. Aug 2021

  • Adam Drake War, State and Society: Edward I, the Anglo-French War and the Relief of Gascony, 1294-98 Start Date: 01/10/2018 End Date: 11/03/2022
  • Adam Curry King Arthur in Early Tudor England: Henry VII to Edward VI Start Date: 18/01/2021 End Date: 17/07/2024

History PhD September 30 2008

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