Thomas Roebuck
  • 2.25b Arts and Humanities Building

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Tom is delighted to hear from potential PhD students interested in a whole host of early modern texts and contexts - from book history to the history of scholarship, trans-national exchanges, and early modern religion. Topics of recently completed doctorates which he has supervised include the manuscripts of the early modern Inns of Court, the travel writings of Edward Browne (1644-1708), the theology of Lucy Hutchinson (1618-1681), and the queer historiography of Polydore Vergil (c.1470-1555).

Personal profile


Originally from West Yorkshire, Tom Roebuck came to UEA in 2013 from the University of Oxford.  He works on the intellectual cultures of Renaissance and early-modern England (spanning the period roughly from 1580 to 1710), especially on the ways in which the scholars of the period read, wrote, thought, and argued with one another. This has meant he is often to be found in archives, exploring scholars' letters, notebooks, and annotations. At UEA, Tom leads the teaching of seventeenth century literature for second-year students, and of Shakespeare for third years. All Tom's teaching is motivated by a belief that we have a great deal to learn from the careful and passionate reading of the minutiae of texts' language.

Tom is Associate Dean for Admissions in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and he always welcomes questions from students interested in joining our world-leading community of scholars and practitioners. Prospective undergraduate or postgraduate students can contact him on UEA's Ask Us platform

Key Research Interests

Tom's research focusses on the scholars and scholarship of Renaissance and early-modern England (1580-1710), especially on the development of historical scholarship in England, the study of classical, biblical and Jewish texts, and the ways in which scholarship was shaped by complex religious and political commitments. He uses letters, notebooks, annotated printed books, and other original documents from archives around the world (including in libraries local to him in Norfolk), to reconstruct the ways in which scholars of the past worked, thought and argued with one another.

Tom is currently engaged in an intellectual biography of the clerical scholar, orientalist, antiquary and non-juror, Thomas Smith (1638-1710). He has recently published articles on the scholarly, religious and political contexts surrounding the study of Josephus, English medieval historians (including William of Malmesbury), and the ancient Jewish text, the Mishnah, and on the archaeological study of the near east in the late seventeenth century. Among other things, he is currently working on three articles on remarkable annotated books, one a copy of the 1646 vocalized Amsterdam edition of the Mishnah in the Bodleian Library, another a copy of Henry Savile's edition of twelfth-century historians in the British Library, and the third a copy of Plutarch's Lives in the Norfolk Heritage Centre.

Since 2015, he has run the Unlocking the Archive project, which has found innovative ways to make the early modern learned books of libraries in the East of England (including Blickling Estate, home to National Trust's largest and most internationally significant library) accessible to the whole community through creative projects and a unique interactive digital resource.

Tom is also the early modern editor for the Oxford University Press journal, Notes and Queries, a member of the Council of the Society for Renaissance Studies (for which he co-edits the Society's Bulletin), and regularly presents his work at leading international conferences.    

Administrative Posts

Associate Dean for Admissions, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, 2021-present.

Director of Admissions, School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, 2017-21.