Jonathan Garton

DPhil in English Local History


Charity Law and Poverty in Early Modern England

Research abstract

My DPhil project seeks to understand the impact of charity law on pauper lives in early modern England.  Although plenty has been written on the relationship between charity and poor relief, and on the role played by the former within the 'economy of makeshifts', the particular role of charity law—the discrete body of legislation and Chancery decrees that regulated the creation and administration of charitable uses and trusts—in the lives of the poor has been largely overlooked.  The project examines the impact of a number of charity law landmarks on the landscape of poverty and voluntary giving in Yorkshire between 1600 and 1800, using a range of sources including the inquisitions and decrees of the Yorkshire Commissioners for Charitable Uses, selected chancery pleadings, and the poor law and probate records of selected parishes.


Dr Jonathan Healey, Associate Professor in Social History


I am a Professor of Law at the University of Warwick, where my research is focused on the law of charities and other civil society organisations, and on the law of trusts.  My work is increasingly moving in a historical direction and in 2015-2017 I read for the MSc in English Local History.