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Dr Tom Hamilton

Assistant Professor (Early Modern European History)

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Assistant Professor (Early Modern European History) in the Department of History +44 (0) 191 33 47352
Member of the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies  


I work on the social and cultural history of early modern Europe, with a particular focus on France. My book, Pierre de L’Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion, interprets France’s troubles from the perspective of an extraordinary diarist and collector, Pierre de L'Estoile (1546-1611), who lived through the civil wars in Paris and shaped how they have been remembered ever since. Published by Oxford University Press in the Past & Present book series, it was shortlisted for the R. Gapper Prize for the best book in French Studies.

My current research explores the role of criminal justice in the legal culture of the old regime. In particular, I am currently working on criminal justice at the end of the Wars of Religion, funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Research Grant. Recent and forthcoming publications related to my wider interests in criminal justice have focused on hearsay and oral evidence, public execution rituals, political crime and sedition, the sexual crimes labelled as ‘sodomy’, and theft. I maintain an online bibliography linked to my teaching interests in early modern crime and justice here.

I am keen to encourage closer connections between historians on both sides of the Channel and serve on the committee of the Society for the Study of French History.

Before coming to Durham in 2018, I studied History as an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and as a graduate student at New College, Oxford, interspersed with study abroad at the Université de Lille III and Sorbonne Université, where I was an associate member of the Centre Roland Mousnier. After completing my doctorate, I taught at Hertford College, Oxford, and held research fellowships at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt am Main.

I am happy to supervise graduate students working on topics in early modern French history, and in early modern social and cultural history more generally. I particularly welcome interest from applicants working on topics related to my areas of research within these wider fields.

Research interests

  • France c.1500-c.1800
  • Criminal justice
  • Violence
  • Memory
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Visual and material culture


Authored book

  • Hamilton, Tom (2017). Pierre de L'Estoile and his World in the Wars of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chapter in book

Edited Journal

  • Hamilton, Tom & Linden, David van der (2020). Remembering the French Wars of Religion. French History, 34 (4).
  • Hamilton, Tom & Hammond, Nicholas (2019). Soundscapes. Early Modern French Studies, 41 (1).

Journal Article

Supervision students