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Shannon McSheffrey, PhD

Professor, History

Shannon McSheffrey, PhD
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 2417
Website(s): Shannon McSheffrey
Availability: In-person Office Hours (LB 1001-25), Winter 2024: Wednesdays 15h-16h00.
At other times on zoom: email for appointment.

Professor McSheffrey's research over the last thirty years has centred on the social, legal, and cultural history of England between the Black Death and the mid-sixteenth century. She has written on immigration, popular revolt and riot, law, mitigation, gender roles, civic culture, marriage, literacy, heresy, and popular religion, publishing many scholarly articles and six books on these topics. Her most recent books are Seeking Sanctuary: Law, Mitigation, and Politics in English Courts, 1400-1550 (Oxford University Press, 2017), and (co-authored with Ad Putter of Bristol University) The Dutch Hatmakers of Late Medieval and Tudor London (Boydell & Brewer, 2023), available Open Access. 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, and contributes to blogs and podcasts from time to time. 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 has several projects on the go right now: she is writing a book exploring the circumstances surrounding Evil May Day, an anti-immigrant riot in London in 1517; she is working on a chapter on the gendering of late medieval murder indictments; and she administers and continues to add to the Consistory database.

Teaching activities


Fall 2023:

HIST 200, Introduction to History: Murder in Medieval England and Wales
HIST 206, Medieval Europe

Winter 2024:

HIST 342, Crime and Punishment in Medieval Europe
HIST 350, Medieval England

Major publications

Books and major online projects

Shannon McSheffrey and Ad Putter, The Dutch Hatmakers of Late Medieval and Tudor London: The Bilingual Texts and Contexts of a Migrant Craft Community (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2023). Available Open Access: 

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).


Sanctuary Seekers in England, 1394-1557, a blog-style website presenting the cases of over four hundred people who sought asylum in English churches in the 14th and 15th centuries. 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.

Consistory:Testimony in the Late Medieval London Consistory Court, online at http://consistory.org2008-. 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.]


“Anti-Immigrant Riots,” a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Travel, Immigration, and Race in Early Modern England, ed. Nandini Das (Oxford: Oxford University Press: forthcoming).


“Robin Hood and Social Protest,” a chapter in Historians on Robin Hood, ed. Stephen H. Rigby and Helen Phillips (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer: forthcoming).


“Disorder, Riot, and Governance in Early Tudor London: Evil May Day, 1517,” English Historical Review, published advance access 9 Aug. 2023  ( 


“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).


“The Legend of John Baptist Grimaldi: Sexual Comportment and Masculine Styles in Early Tudor London,” in Patriarchy, Honour, and Violence: Masculinities in Premodern Europe, ed. Jacqueline Murray (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, 2022), 23–48. Spectrum link: 

“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 and Podcasts

Murder in Sanctuary: Liberty Jurisdictions and the Prosecution of Felony in Early Tudor England,” on Legal History Miscellany, 19 Jan. 2021,


"The Case of Rolandina Ronchaia, a 14th - century transwoman?" Video podcast featuring Roisin Cossar, Ruth Mazo Karras, and Shannon McSheffrey, 28 Nov. 2020, on Middle Ages for Educators, (Edited and produced podcast)


"Going Medieval with Twitterstorians," featuring Shannon McSheffrey and John Wyatt Greenlee, 4-part podcast series by Augmented Humanity, New Mexico Humanities Council/National Public Radio, 2-24 November 2020,


"Sanctuary with Shannon McSheffrey," The Medieval Podcast with Daniele Cybulskie, 26 Jan. 2020,

“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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