Dr Jonathan Healey

Profile details


Jonathan Healey is a social historian of early modern England. He directs the MSc in English Local History and the Undergraduate Diploma in English Social and Local History. He is keen to hear from postgraduate research students interested in early modern social history and the history of the English Civil War and Revolution.  

He completed his doctorate in 2008 at Magdalen College, Oxford and has worked at Oxford Continuing Education since 2012. His first book came out in 2014: entitled The First Century of Welfare (Boydell), it was an in depth study of poverty and the poor laws in seventeenth century Lancashire. Aside from working on the poor laws, he has also written about the history of common lands, famine, local courts, and landholding. He has a particular interest in the history of England’s northwest, especially the Lake District.  

His current research is on the court of Star Chamber, social policy, and popular legalism and politics. Abolished in the revolutionary year of 1641, the Star Chamber was an expression of the royal prerogative, and Jonathan’s current work considers the role played by the court and by the Attorney-General in formulating social and agrarian policy.  

Jonathan is also very keen to foster wider engagement in history. He tweets (as @socialhistoryox) and has appeared in various magazines, podcasts, and TV and radio shows. His history of seventeenth century England, The Blazing World: A New History of Revolutionary England (Bloomsbury) was released in 2023. It is aimed at the general reader and was a Times book of the week and the subject of major features in the New Statesman and the New Yorker.