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Faculty of Divinity



An Irishman educated largely in England, he did his doctoral work at Cambridge under Owen Chadwick and Gordon Rupp, and taught formerly at the University of Durham and at King’s College London. He is Chairman of the editorial board of the Calendar of Papal Letters relating to Great Britain and Ireland, a multi-volume project which aims to publish all the Vatican material relating to these islands between the fourteenth and the sixteenth centuries. A former member of the Pontifical Historical Commission, he sits on numerous editorial boards and advisory panels, including the Fabric Commission of Westminster Abbey. He is a Fellow of the British Academy,  a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries,  an Honorary Fellow of the Ecclesiastical History Society, an Honorary Professor in the Department of Theology at Durham, and holds honorary Doctorates from the University of Hull, King's College London, Durham and the Pontifical Institute for Medieval Studies in Toronto. He is a frequent broadcaster on radio and television.


  • Iconography and history of medieval and early modern Christian art
  • Popular religion in the Middle Ages and Reformation
  • The History of the Papacy

Professor Duffy's research and teaching interests centre on the history of late medieval and early-modern popular religious belief and practice, on Christian art and material culture, on the history of the English Roman Catholic community, and on the history of the papacy.


Key publications: 

In addition to many articles and edited collections, his books include:

The Stripping of the Altars: traditional religion in England 1400-1570, (Yale 1992), which won the 1994 Longman History Today Prize. It has had a wide influence not only on the historiography of the reformation, but on thinking about the art, architecture and literature of late medieval and early modern England.

The Voices of Morebath, Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village, 2001,  a micro-study of the impact of the reformation on a single Devon village. It was awarded the 2002 Hawthornden Prize for Literature, and was shortlisted for the BBC’s Samuel Johnson prize.

A book of essays on religious topics Faith of Our Fathers, reflections on Catholic Tradition, was published in 2004, and a collection of University sermons, Walking to Emmaus, in 2006. His 2005 Riddell Lectures at the University of Newcastle were published as Marking the Hours, English People and their Prayers 1240-1570, in 2007.

Saints and Sinners, a history of the Popes, was first published in 1997 in association with a six part television series: it has since been translated into many languages, including two versions in Chinese. The Folio Society edition was presented to Pope Benedict XVI by the Mayor of London during the papal visit in September 2010. A new and revised edition is scheduled for Spring 2014.

Fires of Faith, Catholic England under Mary Tudor, which dealt with the controversial topic of the burning of 284 protestant men and women by Mary I’s government, appeared in 2009.

Ten Popes Who Shook the World (2011) was the text of a BBC Radio Series of the same name.

Saints, Sacrilege and Sedition: Religion and Conflict in the Tudor Reformations (2012) is a series of studies in the personalities, history and material culture of late medieval and Tudor Catholicism.

The Heart in Pilgrimage: a Prayerbook for Catholic Christians (2014) is a collection of classic prayers and devotions from the first to the twenty-first centuries.

Teaching and Supervisions

  • Image and Icon in Christian Tradition
  • The Doctrine of God: Love and Desire
  • John Henry Newman: life, thought and legacy
Research supervision: 

His current graduate students are at work on topics ranging from the cult of the saints in the late Middle Ages, to the impact of the Second Vatican Council and the history of the English Roman Catholic episcopate.

Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity
Fellow of Magdalene College
Professor Eamon  Duffy

Contact Details

Email address: 
Not available for consultancy