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Shannon McSheffrey, PhD

Professor, History

Shannon McSheffrey, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2417
Website(s): Shannon McSheffrey
On sabbatical 2020-21.

Professor McSheffrey's research interests centre around law, mitigation, gender roles, civic culture, marriage, literacy, heresy, and popular religion in late medieval England.  She has published a number of scholarly articles and five books, Gender and Heresy: Women and Men in Lollard Communities, 1420-1530 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995); Love and Marriage in Late Medieval London (Medieval Institute Publications, 1995); Lollards of Coventry 1486-1522 (co-authored with Norman Tanner), Camden Fifth Series, vol. 23 (Cambridge University Press, 2003); Marriage, Sex, and Civic Culture in Late Medieval London (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006); and Seeking Sanctuary: Law, Mitigation, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550 (Oxford University Press, 2017). She has also developed several major online projects, including Consistory: Testimony in the Late Medieval London Consistory Court and Sanctuary Seekers in England, 1394-1557. Professor McSheffrey has won several awards for her research and teaching and was elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society of the U.K. in 2002. 

Professor McSheffrey's next project will explore the circumstances surrounding Evil May Day, an anti-immigrant riot in London in 1517, and she administers and continues to add to the Consistory database.

Teaching activities


2020-2021: On sabbatical

Major publications

Books and major online projects


Seeking Sanctuary: Crime, Mercy, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017)

Marriage, Sex, and Civic Culture in Late Medieval London (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Middle Ages Series, 2006).

Shannon McSheffrey and Norman Tanner, ed. and trans., Lollards of Coventry 1486-1522. Camden Fifth Series, vol. 23 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)

Gender and Heresy: Women and Men in Lollard Communities, 1420-1530 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, Middle Ages Series, 1995).

Love and Marriage in Late Medieval London, TEAMS Documents of Practice Series (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1995).

Major Online Projects

Two resources present open-access research as companions to my book 2017 book Seeking Sanctuary In the website Sanctuary Seekers in England, 1394-1557, the cases of over four hundred people who sought asylum in English churches in the 14th and 15th centuries are discussed. Information about all the instances of sanctuary seeking I’ve uncovered between the 1380s and the 1550s (more than 1800 seekers altogether) are presented in a Google Spreadsheet.

"Residents of St. Martin le Grand” (2013), a spreadsheet presenting data for all those known to have lived within the precinct of this Londonreligious house between 1500 and 1550, online at

Consistory:Testimony in the Late Medieval London Consistory Court, online at http://consistory.ca2008-. Over 400 entries in bothLatin and English, over 300,000 words or equivalent of about 500 published pages of material, have been completed and posted in an online database to date.This is an ongoing project; ultimately it will comprise 1100 witness depositions.]


“Sanctuary, Justice, and Jurisdiction in England before the Reformation,” in A Global History of Crime and Punishment in the Renaissance, ed. Laura Stokes (London: Bloomsbury,forthcoming 2018).

“Liberties of London: Social Networks, Sexual Disorder, and Peculiar Jurisdictions in the Late Medieval English Metropolis,” in
Crossing Borders: Boundaries and Margins in Medieval and Early Modern Britain, ed. Krista J. Kesselring and Sara Butler (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming 2018). Spectrum link:

“Richard Caudray (c.1390-1458): Fifteenth-Century Churchman, Academic, and Ruthless Politician,”
Medieval Prosopography (forthcoming 2018). Spectrum link:

“The Murder of Mistress Lacey’s Maid: Ad Hockery and the Law in England circa 1530,” in
Texts and Contexts in Legal History: Essays in Honor of Charles Donahue, pp. 331-347, edited by John Witte, Sara McDougall, and Anna di Robilant (Berkeley: Robbins Collection, 2016). Spectrum link:

“William Webbe's Wench: Henry VIII, History, and Popular Culture,” in The Middle Ages on Television: Critical Essays, ed. Karolyn Kinane and Meriem Pagès (Jefferson, N. C.: McFarland, 2015), 53-77. Spectrum link: 

Judith M. Bennett and Shannon McSheffrey, “Early, Erotic, and Alien: Women Dressing as Men in Late Medieval London,” History Workshop Journal 77 (Spring 2014).

"Stranger Artisans and the London Sanctuary of St. Martin le Grand," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 43:3 (2013): 545-71. Spectrum link:

"The Slaying of William Pennington: Violence, Masculinity, and Legal Narrative in the Reign of Henry VIII," Florilegium 28 (2011 [appeared 2013]): 169-203.

“A Remarrying Widow: Law and Legal Records in Late Medieval London,” in Worth and Repute: Valuing Gender in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Essays in Honour of Barbara Todd (Toronto: CRRS Publications, 2011), 231-52. Spectrum link:

Shannon McSheffrey and Julia Pope, “Ravishment, Legal Narratives, and Chivalric Culture in Fifteenth-Century England,” Journal of British Studies 48:4 (2009): 818-36; Spectrum link:

“Sanctuary and the Legal Topography of Pre-Reformation London,” Law and History Review 27:3 (Fall 2009): 483-514; Open Access link:

"Detective Fiction in the Archives: Court Records and the Uses of Law in Late Medieval England," History Workshop Journal 65 (Spring 2008). Spectrum link:

"Whoring Priests and Godly Citizens: Law, Morality, and Clerical Sexual Misconduct in Late Medieval London," in Local Identities in England 1400-1700, pp. 50-70, edited by Daniel Wolf and Norman Jones (Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).

"Heresy, Orthodoxy, and English Vernacular Religion, 1480-1525," Past and Present, 186 (February 2005): 47-80. Open Access link:

"Place, Space, and Situation: Public and Private in the Making of Marriage in Late-Medieval London," Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, 79 (2004): 960-90.   Link through Concordia Libraries:

"Men and Masculinity in Late Medieval London Civic Culture: Governance, Patriarchy, and Reputation," in Conflicting Identities: Men in the Middle Ages, pp. 243-278, ed. Jacqueline Murray (New York: Garland Press, 1999).

" 'I will never have none against my father's will': Consent and the Making of Marriage in the Late Medieval Diocese of London," in Women, Marriage, and Family in Medieval Christendom: Essays in Memory of Michael M. Sheehan, C.S.B., pp. 153-74, ed. Joel T. Rosenthal and Constance M. Rousseau (Kalamazoo: University of Western Michigan Press, 1998).

"Jurors, Respectable Masculinity, and Christian Morality," Journal of British Studies 37 (1998): 269-278. Link through Concordia Libraries:

"Conceptualizing Difference: English Society in the Late Middle Ages," Journal of British Studies 36 (1997), 34-39. Link through Concordia Libraries:

"Literacy and the Gender Gap in the Late Middle Ages: Women and Reading in Lollard Communities," in Women, the Book and the Godly, 157-70, ed. Jane H.M. Taylor and Lesley Smith (Woodbridge, Suffolk: D.S. Brewer, 1995).

"Women and Lollardy: A Reassessment," Canadian Journal of History 26 (1991), 199-223.

Blog Posts

“Gendering Popular Politics: Medieval Riot, State Formation, and the Absence of Women,” History Workshop Online, 16 October 2019,

“Isobel and Me: Medieval Sanctuary and Whig History,” OUPBlog (Oxford University Press’s Blog), 24 July 2018,

“Apostasy, Sanctuary, and Spin: The Canons of Waltham and Sanctuary at St. Martin le Grand, 1430,” on Legal History Miscellany, 12 Jan. 2018,

“Evil May Day, 1517: Prosecuting Anti-Immigrant Rioters in Tudor London,” on Legal History Miscellany, 30 Apr. 2017,

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