Ms Lara Thorpe

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Personal profile

Educational Background

  • MA Early Modern History, Birkbeck, University of London (2013-2014)
  • BA Humanities with an Emphasis in History, Brigham Young University (2007-2010)


Research Interests

Thesis Title: 'In middest of death': Medical Responses to the Great Plague of 1665

I am interested in the cultural and social history of England in the seventeenth century. My PhD researches on the wide variety of medical responses to plague in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, using the correspondence of John Allin--an ejected Puritan preacher, alchemist, astrologer and irregular medical practitioner-- to more closely examine the print culture of plague remedies, the experiences of parish nurses assigned to quarantined homes and the changing face of plague medicine over the period.

More generally, I am interested in early modern conceptions of health, wellness, and healing; how ideas and practices were informed by and diverged from printed medical texts; and everyday life in early modern London. My wider research interests include early modern medicine, chemistry, medical printing and social networks in London, 1500-1800.


 Teaching Qualifications:

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in recognition of attainment against the UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and learning support in higher education (2016)
  • inSTIL Teaching Course (accredited by the Higher Education Authority) (2015-6)


Teaching Experience:

  • Visting Teacher, Public Speaking for Historians, Royal Holloway, University of London (2016-present)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, Power, Culture and Belief in Europe 1500-1800, King's College London (2016-7)
  • Visiting Teacher, Rome to Renaissance: An Introduction to the Middle Ages, Royal Holloway, University of London (2016-7).
  • Visiting Teacher, The Sacred and Profane: Cultural Life in Renaissance Europe, Royal Holloway, University of London (2016).
  • Visiting Teacher, The Rich Tapestry of Life: Early Modern England, Europe and the Wider World (1453-1789), Royal Holloway, University of London (2015).



  • ‘Communal Responses to Epidemic Disease in Elizabethan Plague Literature’, Beyond Ebola Workshop, Royal Holloway, University of London (23 April 2015).
  • ‘John Allin and the Philosopher’s Stone’, Beyond Leeches and Leprosy, University of Edinburgh (2 May 2015).
  • ‘Panaceas for Plague: Alchemical Cures in Mid-Seventeenth-Century Plague Literature’, Magic and the Supernatural in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, University of Cardiff (21 July 2015).
  • ‘Sickness and Health: Experiences of a Physician in Restoration London’, Royal Holloway History Postgraduate Seminar (7 October 2015).
  • ‘Women and the Medical Marketplace’, Premodern Girls Workshop, Royal Holloway University of London (4 March 2016).
  • 'John Allin's Plague: Reactions to Epidemic Disease in London in 1665', Religion and Medicine: Healing the Body and the Soul from the Middle Ages to the Modern Day (15 July 2016).
  • 'A Restoration Recusant: John Allin's Life as Ejected Minister in London', Society for Renaissance Studies 7th Biennial Conference (19 July 2016).
  • '"A designed business": post-Fire anti-Catholic Hysteria according to Puritan Ejected Minister John Allin' The Great Fire: Reconsidered (3 September 2016).
  • '"At the Mercy of a Strange Woman": Plague Nurses and Fear in 1666', Cultures of Exclusion in the Early Modern World, Enemies and Strangers 1600-1800 (18-9 May 2017).
  • 'Pills, Potions and Preservatives: Habits of Health During the Great Plague of 1665', Habitual Behaviour in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1750 (1-2 June 2017).



  • PhD Tutor, The Brilliant Club (July 2015-ongoing)
  • Organiser, 'Surviving the Plague', a series of drop-in sensory activities at Egham Museum for children recreating some aspects of life in plague-stricken London. These included concocting and tasting popular remedies, painting houses with red crosses, listening to church bells and making the infamous plague doctors' mask (April 2017)
  • Organiser, Workshop at Egham Museum in conjunction with their exhibit 'The Plague Comes to Egham'. The evening was divided into two sections: during the first, we brewed, tasted and discussed some of the most popularly recommended plague remedies. The second half of the evening was a talk given by me 'mythbusting' some of our most commonly held beliefs about London's early modern plagues (5 April 2017).
  • Writer, Piece on the Plague of 1665 and Yersinia pestis for History Today, September 2016 (
  • Conference Organiser, Great Plague 350th Anniversary Public History Conference (7 November 2015). Review in the local paper: (

Other Activities:

  • Co-chair, Royal Holloway History Postgraduate Seminar (January 2015-April 2017)
  • Schools Volunteer, Museum of London (2014-2015)
  • Visitor Services Volunteer, Kensington Palace (2014-2015)


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