Who were the Nuns? English Convents in Exile 1600-1800

Public History Podcast

Authors: Dr Andrew Foster and Dr Caroline Bowden., last updated: 25th January 2013

An HA Public History Podcast featuring Dr Andrew Foster and Dr Caroline Bowden discussing the project: Who were the Nuns? A Prosopographical study of the English Convents in exile 1600-1800.

'Who were the Nuns?' is a funded project at Queen Mary, Universty of London that has been making a comprehensive study of the membership of the English convents in exile. That is, the period between the opening of the first English convent in Brussels to the nuns' return to England as a result of the French Revolution and associated violence. Most were enclosed convents, in theory cut off from the outside world. However in practice the nuns were not isolated and their contacts and networks spread widely.

As well as studying the members and their families the project is collecting data on sponsors and patrons on both sides of the Channel. Their website provides a range of materials for the history of the convents, including edited texts as they are finished and ultimately a fully searchable database of members.

1. Introduction to the project.

2. Work to be done.

3. How many orders are we talking about? Where were the Nuns coming from, what were their backgrounds?

4. The website database - how to use the database. Family trees. Finding members of your family. Local historians.

5. The advantages of the digital era. Statistical analysis.

6. Ongoing research.