Professor Darren Oldridge
Professor of Early Modern History
History, Politics and Sociology
tel: 01905 85 5302
Darren Oldridge is a specialist in sixteenth and seventeenth-century religious history. His interests include witchcraft and the Devil, the supernatural, and the religious context of the English Civil Wars. A recurring theme of his work is the rationality underpinning apparently strange beliefs: this is reflected, most recently, in the new edition of Strange Histories (Routledge: 2017). More broadly, he is interested in the relationship between poetry and film and the past.
At Worcester Darren teaches modules that reflect these interests, including The Early Modern World and Witchcraft and the Devil. At present he is editing the third edition of The Witchcraft Reader, to be published by Routledge in 2018.
- BA (Hons), History, University of Nottingham
- PhD, History, University of Warwick
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Teaching & Research
All aspects of the Devil in Tudor and Stuart England
All aspects of the late Elizabethan and early Stuart Church
The English Civil Wars
The supernatural in early modern England
European witch trials
Currently Darren is working on demons of the mind. That is, the widespread belief in early modern England that the Devil could implant foreign thoughts into peoples heads. This belief had consequences for seventeenth-century medicine and pastoral theology; it also raises interesting questions about contemporary concepts of mental health.
Previously, the subjects of Darren's research have included fairy beliefs, the theological problem of evil, the religious origins of the English Civil Wars, and the Devil in the Reformation. Outside the early modern period, he has written on the nineteenth-century press and the poetry of R. S. Thomas.
Darren has acted as a consultant on many TV and radio programmes. Recent examples include A Map of Hell (National Geographic Studios, 2016), Witch Hunt (Channel 5, 2015), and The Walking Dead (BBC Radio Scotland, 2014).
Darren is presently working with Worcester Cathedral and Mayflower 400 on the anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower in 1620. He is also leading projects with The Commandery, Worcester, and Harvington Hall, near Kidderminster, to engage the public with early printed books.
Strange Histories (Routledge: 2nd edition 2017)
The Supernatural in Tudor and Stuart England (Routledge: 2016)
The Devil: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press: 2012)
Fairies and the Devil in Early Modern England, The Seventeenth Century, Vol. 31, No. 1, March 2016
Light from Darkness: The Problem of Evil in Early Modern England, The Seventeenth Century, Vol. 27, No. 4, December 2012
- Reader for Yale University Press, Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, Journal of British Studies, and Northern Studies
- Examiner for the University of Gloucestershire, the University of Hertfordshire, and the University of Wolverhampton