Dr Nigel Aston

Nigel AstonHonorary Fellow

Contact details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5939
  • Email: na343@le.ac.uk
  • Office: Room 502, Attenborough Tower.

Personal details


I gained my first degree at Durham University and my doctorate at Christ Church, Oxford. I have taught History at several British Universities since the 1980s, and most recently held Lectureships at Luton and then Warwick before I came to Leicester in 2001.



  1. Art and Religion in eighteenth-century Europe (348pp., Reaktion Books: London, 2009).
  2. Christianity in Revolutionary Europe, 1750-1830 (396pp., Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2003).
  3. The French Revolution 1789-1802: Liberty, authority and the search for stability, 1789-1804 (336pp., Palgrave/Macmillan: Basingstoke, 2004).

Articles and chapters

  1. Nigel Aston, 'Necker and aristocratic constitutionalism: the British connection' in Julian Swann (ed), Post-Revisionist perspectives on the politics of later eighteenth-century France (British Academy 2012)
  2. Nigel Aston, 'Petty and Fitzmaurice: Lord Shelburne and his brother' in (ed), Studies in Early Modern Political, Cultural and Social History (Boydell Press 2011)
  3. ‘Archbishop Markham and political preaching in wartime England, 1776-77’, in Religion, Politics, and Dissent, 1660-1832. Essays in Honour of James E. Bradley, eds. Robert D. Cornwall and William Gibson (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2010), pp. 185-218.
  4. ‘The Dean and Canons of St George’s in the eighteenth century’, in eds. Nigel Saul & Tim Tatton-Brown, St George’s Chapel, Windsor. History and Heritage (The Dovecote Press, Wimborne Minster, 2010), pp. 150-6.
  5. Hutchinsonians (act. c.1724–c.1770)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online edn, Oxford University Press, Oct 2008
  6. ‘The Court of George II: Lord Berkeley of Stratton’s Perspective’, The Court Historian 13 (2008), pp. 171-93.
  7. ‘Church and State in Continental Catholic Europe’ in the Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. VII, Enlightenment, Reawakening and Revolution 1660-1815, eds. Timothy Tackett and Stewart J. Brown (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 15-32.
  8. ‘The D’Epresmesnil of the Clergy: Lauzières de Thémines, Bishop of Blois, and the politics of the Pre-Revolution’, French History 19 (2005), pp. 236-57.
  9. Essay on 'Jesus in French spirituality' in Jesus in History, Culture and Thought: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.L. Houlden (ABC-Clio: Oxford, 2005), pp. 299-305.
  10. 60 biographical essays (mainly on eighteenth-century divines and politicians) for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004).
  11. ‘From personality to party: the creation and transmission of Hutchinsonianism, c.1725-1750’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 35 (2004), pp 625-644.
  12. ‘St Paul's cathedral and the public culture of eighteenth-century Britain’, part of the St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London 604-2004, eds. Derek Keene, Arthur Burns and Andrew Saint (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2004), pp. 363-71.
  13. '"Achitophel Firebrand" at St Asaph: Dean Shipley and the withering of Whiggism in the Church of England', in Religion, Politics and Identity in Britain, 1660-1832, eds. W. Gibson and R. Ingrams (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2004), pp. 299-320.
  14. 'Burke and the conspiratorial origins of the French Revolution: some Anglo-French comparisons', in Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theory in Early Modern Europe: From the Waldensians to the French Revolution, eds. Barry Coward and Julian Swann (Ashgate: Aldershot, 2004), pp. 213-33.
  15. 'French Protestants and the French Revolution' in the Encyclopedia of Protestantism, ed. Hans J. Hillerbrand (4 vols., Routledge: London, 2004), i. 405-10.
  16. ‘John Wesley and the Social Elite of Georgian Britain’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 85 (2003), pp. 123-36.
  17. Contributor to ed. Alan Charles Kors, Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment, 4 vols., (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). Essay on royal courts and dynasties (iii. 482-7); biographical entries on Edward Gibbon (ii. 127-30) and John Wilkes (iv. 257-8).
  18. Contributor to the Reader's Guide to British History, ed. David Loades (London; Fitzroy Dearborn/Routledge, 2 vols., 2003). Entries on William Pitt the elder (ii. 820-5); Lord North (ii. 675-9); Convocation of the Church of England (i. 134-7); City of Leeds (i. 110-12)



My research over the last 35 years has centred on the history of religion in western Europe during the ‘long- eighteenth century of c.1680-1830 (especially in France and Britain), with a particular focus on the clergy in politics and intellectual life. However, I also have a strong interest in élite politics in the same era, especially the parliamentary role of the British peerage and the life and times of William, 2nd earl of Shelburne (1737-1805). Secondary research areas include eighteenth-century religious art; Anglo-French interactions and exchanges, particularly in religion and politics; court culture and ceremonial; state patronage and the political uses of the honours system. The distinctive character of my work in political and religious history is well known across the United Kingdom, in France and in the United States. It is recognised both by publishing contracts with Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and Reaktion Books, and financial awards for study in French and North American archives.

Current projects

I am completing a book provisionally entitled Oxford and the Enlightenment: the University and the cultural life of eighteenth-century Britain. It is a wide-ranging monograph of approximately 140,000 words to be published by Oxford University Press in 2017. My second major project is a research edition of volume two of The Correspondence of James Boswell and William Johnson Temple 1756-1795, part of the Yale Editions of the Private Papers of James Boswell. I am also completing two articles on the eighteenth-century Premier, the earl of Shelburne.


Clerical politics (either in France or Britain) during the long eighteenth-century; the Churches' relationship with the Enlightenment; inter-denominational relationships; and the role of royal courts.

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