Changing Climate in Early Modern England, c. 1550-1680

Meredith, Tayler (2020). Changing Climate in Early Modern England, c. 1550-1680. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (2MB) | Preview


This thesis examines the changing idea of climate in early modern England. During a period recognised as an apex of the so-called Little Ice Age, this work critically interprets the cultural and intellectual contexts in which the effects of climate were discussed, debated, and denied. By eschewing a methodological approach based on the insights of historical climatology and paleoclimatology, this thesis interprets a body of neglected sources to demonstrate the conversations that defined the early modern idea of climate. Where other histories of climate have perpetuated a deterministic idea of environmental influence, this thesis questions the variable boundaries between human, environmental, and divine agency during an episode of Global Cooling. Drawing on cultural and environmental historiography, in five chapters it analyses the explanatory power attributed to climate in medicine, society, the home, colonialism and religion. Following recent approaches in environmental and climate history, the thesis considers the early modern climate as a socio-cultural construction that informed political and ecclesiastical decision making as well as the domestic health and lifestyle choices of Englanders. Though the study is largely confined to late sixteenth and seventeenth century England, it provides a meditation on the role of climate in pre-modern history: a subject with cultural significance beyond the physical impact of weather.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Department of History
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year