English Catholic Nuns in Exile

This book arises out of a major AHRC-funded research project, Who Were the Nuns? A Prosopographical study of the English Convents in exile 1600-1800, hosted online since 2012 at Queen Mary University of London, wwtn.history.qmul.ac.uk. Led by Dr Caroline Bowden, this was the first systematic inquiry into the composition of over twenty convents in exile established mainly in Northern France and the Southern Netherlands between 1598 and 1678 for English women, where they remained until the French revolution and associated wars. Forbidden to practice their religion at home, by the end of the sixteenth century many English Catholics were choosing to defy laws preventing them from going abroad to seek a Catholic education or entering the religious life. Enclosed in their convents in exile, working through family groups and networks the English nuns sought to play a role in the mission to bring England back to union with Rome, or at least to regain tolerance of Catholicism.

All the information on over 4100 individual nuns available online since 2012 is found in this Biographical Register, which has benefitted from several years of additional research by editor Dr Katharine Keats-Rohan, much of it summarised in the detailed annotated genealogical tables found on the accompanying CD.

Visit Katharine Keats-Rohan’s website to order.