Dr Laura Flannigan

Dr Laura Flannigan

Junior Research Fellow


I grew up in the historic city of Lincoln, where I attended a local state school. I studied for my undergraduate degree in History at the University of York, and then stayed on for a Masters in Early Modern History. In 2017 I joined Newnham College, Cambridge, to study for a Ph.D. on justice in early Tudor England, which was completed in June 2020. I moved to Oxford to take up a post as Stipendiary Lecturer in History at Christ Church for the academic year 2020–21, before joining St John’s as a Junior Research Fellow in October 2021.

Research Interests

Laura Flannigan - Royal Justice

I am a historian of politics and society in late-medieval and early modern England, between the fifteenth-century ‘Wars of the Roses’ and the civil wars of the 1640s. My Ph.D. work examined the principle and practice of royal justice in the early Tudor period through an analysis of the little-studied ‘Court of Requests’, a tribunal that allowed poorer people to petition the monarch about all kinds of interpersonal disputes, usually against wealthier and more powerful opponents.

In late 2023 my thesis research will be published as a monograph, entitled 'Royal Justice and the Making of the Tudor Commonwealth, 1485–1547'. This book combines a detailed analysis of the inner workings of government with attention to the social demands which influenced the development of justice-giving at the centre of power. This has the potential to alter our perception of who had a hand in shaping Tudor England – besides the monarchs and ministers with whom we are most familiar.

More generally, I am interested in the communication of governmental ideals between ordinary people and the authorities; the projection of monarchy to the ‘public’; the expansion of litigation in early modernity; and the ‘power of petitioning’. My postdoctoral research explores how people in late medieval and early modern England knew about the law, and how they applied that knowledge to ‘shop’ for justice through a range of formal and informal forums for dispute-resolution.


For undergraduates at Prelims and Final Honours, I teach the papers on the History of the British Isles III, 1330–1550; History of the British Isles IV, 1500–1700; and European and World History III, 1400–1650. I also regularly teach Historiography and Disciplines of History (Arguments and Comparisons) and offer classes in study skills and essay-writing for new undergraduates, and have previously taught the optional subject in Literature and Politics in Early Modern England. I also supervise third-year dissertations; undergraduates interested in working on any aspect of law, politics and society c.1400–1700 are welcome to get in touch.

At postgraduate level, I co-teach classes in Theories and Methods.

Awards and Distinctions

In summer 2020, one of my research articles was awarded the Sir John Neale Prize in Early Modern History by the Institute of Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society.

I am an Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am on the advisory boards for the Fifteenth Century Society and the List and Index Society.

Recent Publications

Royal Justice and the Making of the Tudor Commonwealth, 1485–1547, Cambridge Studies in Early Modern British History (Cambridge University Press, 2023)

Court of Requests - Laura Flannigan

Hearings of the Court of Requests, 1493–1538 (TNA REQ 1), List and Index Society (2 vols., Kew: List and Index Society, 2023)

'New evidence of justice-giving by the early Tudor Council of the North, 1540–43', Northern History Journal 59:2 (2022)

'Signed, Stamped, and Sealed: Delivering Royal Justice in Early Sixteenth-Century England', Historical Research 94:264 (2021)

' "Allowable or Not"? John Stokesley, the Court of Requests, and Royal Justice in Sixteenth-Century England', Historical Research 93:262 (2020)

'Litigants in the English "Court of Poor Men's Causes", or Court of Requests, 1515–1525', Law and History Review 38:2 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1017/S0738248019000440