I am a Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University, having worked previously at Manchester Metropolitan University. My research interests chiefly concern the female court and household of Queen Henrietta Maria, above all the political, social and religious roles that Caroline court women played in the period 1625-1669. However, my research is not just a gender study, but focuses upon the pivotal role that elite women played in Caroline domestic and international policy that has hitherto been ignored in Stuart historiography as politically insignificant.
I am currently working on transnational relations between the Dutch Republic and the Stuart crown in 1641-3. My mode of enquiry is the visual, artistic and ceremonial court culture of the House of Orange and the journey of Henrietta Maria to the United Provinces. My research considers the complex domestic, dynastic, confessional and continental issues within which the queen was forced to operate. This will form part of a wider project that explores the transnational nature of royalism.
More generally, I would welcome undergraduate and postgraduate interest in early modern court history, gender, politics and diplomacy in Britain or in Europe.
Introduction to Early Modern History (Module Convenor)
The Tudors (Module Convenor)
Sex, Deviance and Death in the 16th century (Module Convenor)
Research and knowledge exchange
Research Funding and Awards
2016: HEIF Funding
2016: Research and Enterprise KE Funding
2014: HEIF Funding
2013: Scouloudi Historical Research Award
2012: Travel Participation Grant, European Science Foundation (ESF) http://www.courtresidences.eu/index.php/grants/awarded-grants/
2011: Overseas Conference Travel Grant, British Academy
2011: Travel Grant, Royal Historical Society
2010: Travel Grant, Royal Historical Society
2008: Travel Grant, Royal Historical Society
2007-2008: Friend’s Bursary, Institute of Historical Research, London
2005-2007: AHRC Doctoral Award
2004-2007: Graduate School Doctoral Fellowship, University of Durham
2003-2004: Master’s Studentship, Arts and Humanities Research Board
I have supervised postgraduate dissertations working on the Jacobean Catholic court community, the reign of the Major Generals in northern England, and, the Leveson Family of Kent. I am currently supervising research students looking at renegades in Jamestown.
Teaching and subject expertise
Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy
Times Higher Education Most Innovative Teacher of the Year Award
Teaching and Subject Expertise
British and European History in the 16th and 17th centuries
The Royal Court, Power and Art
Early Modern Women's History
Royalism during the British Civil Wars and Interregnum
Applied Humanities: Employability Module
Member of the History UK (HE) Steering Committee
Advisory Board Member Royal Studies Journal
Committee Member, Historical Association Kent Branch
Committee Member, Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library User Group
Layout Editor, Royal Studies Journal, 2014-2015: Interview with Royal Studies Journal https://royalstudiesjournal.wordpress.com/2015/08/18/interview-with-dr-sara-wolfson/
Publicity Officer, The Society for Court Studies, 2013-3016
Feature Writer, www.jobs.ac.uk:
To be or not to be an academic
Adapting your PhD for a Professional Career
Transitioning from a Professional to an Academic Career
What To Expect From Online Postgraduate Qualifications
The Pros and Cons of a Distance Learning PhD
Preparing For A Professional Job Interview After The PhD
Selected Research Papers
'Stuart foreign policy relations: The Duchesse de Chevreuse and Marie de Médicis at the court of Charles I, 1638-1641', IHR Seminar Series (February 2016, by invitation)
'Rethinking Diplomacy: Queen Henrietta Maria's journey to the Dutch Republic, Merton College, University of Oxford (October 2015, by invitation)
'Factional Politics at the court of Charles I', German Institute of Historical Research, Rome (November 2014, by invitation)
'Bedchamber women and Henrietta Maria's foreign policy agenda, 1627-1638', paper delivered at the Society for Court Studies (November 2014, by invitation)
'Dévot politics and Caroline foreign policy' delivered at the Splendid Encounters Conference, University of Warsaw (September, 2013)
‘The Anglo-French marriage treaty and the breakdown of diplomatic relations, 1625-1626’, Kings and Queens Conference, Winchester (July 2013)
‘The Establishment of Queen Henrietta Maria’s Household, 1625-1626’, Early Modern Seminar Series, Keele University (15 May 2012, by invitation)
‘Henrietta Maria at the court of Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, 1642-43’, paper delivered for the inaugural Early Modern North Western Seminar Series, University of Manchester (March 2013, by invitation)
‘Queen Henrietta Maria’s female court service post-1642’ paper delivered at Seventeenth Century Seminar, Institute of Historical Research (December 2012).
‘Distinguished Guests, Diplomacy and Foreign Policy at the Caroline Court, 1638-1641’, Palatium Colloquium, Culture of Access (November 2012).
‘Henrietta Maria and the Anglo-French alliance, 1625-1626’, Tudor and Stuart Seminar series, Institute of Historical Research (October 2012 by invitation)
Publications and research outputs
- Caroline court women, 1625-1669 (under contract with Manchester University Press).
- With Marie-Claude Canova-Green (eds.), The Wedding Journey of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625 (Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming).
- With Valentina Caldari (eds.), Stuart Marriage Diplomacy. Dynastic Politics in their European Context, 1604-1630 (Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming)
Chapters in edited collections
‘The Female Bedchamber of Queen Henrietta Maria; Politics, Familial Networks and Policy, 1626-1641’ in Nadine Akkerman and Birgit Houben (eds.), The Politics of Female Households: Ladies-in-Waiting across Early Modern Europe (Leiden, 2013).
‘The Welcoming Journey of Henrietta Maria in 1625’, in Marie-Claude Canova-Green & Sara Wolfson (eds.), The Wedding Journey of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, 1625 (Routledge, forthcoming)
- 'Practical proselytising: the impact of counter-Reformation Catholicism at the Caroline court, 1625-1626', in Sara J. Wolfson and Valentina Caldari (eds.), Marriage Diplomacy: Early Stuart Dynastic Politics in their European Context (Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming)
- ‘A ‘Diplomatic’ Journey; Henrietta Maria in the Dutch Republic, 1642-43’, Women's History Review Special Issue (forthcoming, 2017)
'Queen Henrietta Maria', 'Anne Boteler, Countess of Newport', 'Elizabeth Darcy, Countess of Rivers', and 'Elizabeth Feilding, Countess of Guildford' in A Biographical Encyclopedia of Early Modern Englishwomen 1500-1650: Exemplary Lives and Memorable Acts. Edited by Carole Levin, Anna Riehl Bertolet, and Jo Eldridge Carney (Abingdon, 2016).
Major book reviews
- Kevin Sharpe, Reading Authority & Representing Rule in Early Modern England (Bloomsbury: London, 2013) in Reviews in History (2014) http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/1643
- Erin, Griffey, On Display Henrietta Maria and the Materials of Magnificence at the Stuart Court (Yale: Yale University Press, 2016) in The Art Newspaper, Vol. XXVI, No. 285 (December, 2016)
- Carolyn Harris, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe: Henrietta Maria and Marie Antoinette (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2016) and Erin Griffey, On Display Henrietta Maria and the Materials of Magnificence at the Stuart Court in Royal Stuart Journal 7 (2016).