Dr Michael Snape BA (Hons), PhD (Birmingham)

Dr Michael Snape

Department of History
Reader in Religion, War and Society

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a historian of Christianity and war in the modern world, focusing primarily on Great Britain, the British Empire, and North America from 1700 to 1950.


  • PhD in Theology, University of Birmingham, 1994
  • BA in History and Theology (First Class), University of Birmingham, 1990


I began my career in the Department of Religious and Theological Studies at Westhill College of Higher Education, Birmingham, before joining the University of Birmingham in 1999. In 2003 I transferred from the Department of Theology to the Department of Modern History.



  • Practising History: ‘The Battle of Waterloo in National Perspective’
  • Group Research: ‘The Religious Experience of the Great War’
  • Special Subject: ‘The Sharpe End: the British Army and the Defeat of Napoleon’


Postgraduate supervision

I am able to offer supervision of research postgraduates in the field of religion and modern war and in the history of British and American Christianity, 1700-1950.


I began my academic career working on the religious history of eighteenth-century England. This research resulted in a monograph and in several other publications. In 1997 I began my research on Christianity and war in the modern world. This research is ongoing and I am currently focusing on the United States in the Second World War.

Past research

I have conducted extensive research on Anglicanism, Protestant Nonconformity and Catholicism in eighteenth-century England, my case study being Anglicanism and other religious traditions in the extensive parish of Whalley, England’s largest parish at that time. This work resulted in several essays and articles and in my first book The Church of England in Industrialising Society (Boydell and Brewer, 2003).

Other activities

I am a historical consultant for the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department and Secretary of the Church of England Record Society. I have made several appearances on national television and radio.



  • Secularisation in the Christian World (edited with Callum Brown), Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010, ix + 238 pp. ISBN: 9780754661313.
  • The Back Parts of War: The YMCA memoirs and letters of Barclay Baron, 1915 to 1919, Church of England Record Society, Volume 16, 2009, xiv + 287pp. ISBN: 9781843835196
  • The Royal Army Chaplains’ Department, 1796-1953: clergy under fire, Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008, xviii + 480pp. ISBN: 9781843833468.
  • God and the British soldier: religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars, London: Routledge, 2005, xv + 315 pp. ISBN: 0415334527. Shortlisted for the Templer Medal for Military History in 2006.
  • The Redcoat and Religion: the forgotten history of the British soldier from the age of Marlborough to the eve of the First World War, London: Routledge, 2005, x + 319 pp. ISBN: 0415377153. Shortlisted for the Templer Medal for Military History in 2006.
  • The Church of England in Industrialising Society: the Lancashire parish of Whalley in the eighteenth century, Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2003, xii + 228 pp. ISBN: 1843830140

In preparation

  • British Army Chaplains in the First World War (Ashgate, co-edited with Edward Madigan )

Refereed articles

  • ‘British Catholicism and the British Army in the First World War’, Recusant History, 26, 2002, 314-58. ISSN: 00341932.
  • 'Poverty and the Northern Clergy in the Eighteenth Century: the Parish of Whalley, 1689-1789', Northern History, 26, 2000, 283-97. ISSN: 0078172X.
  • ‘Anti-Methodism in eighteenth-century England: the Pendle Forest Riots of 1748’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 90, 1998, 257-81. ISSN: 00220469.
  • ‘“The Surey Demoniack”: Demonic Possession and Religious Conflict in Seventeenth Century Lancashire’, Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, 90, 1994, 93-114. ISSN: 09504699.

In preparation

  • ‘Anglican Army Chaplains in the First World War: Goodbye to Goodbye To All That’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, accepted for publication in 2011.

Essays in peer-reviewed publications

  • ‘Civilians, Soldiers and Perceptions of the Afterlife in Britain during the First World War’ in P. Clarke and T. Claydon (eds), ‘The Church, the Afterlife and the Fate of the Soul’ in Studies in Church History, 45, 2009, 371-403. ISBN: 9780954680954.
  • ‘British Military Chaplaincy in Early Victorian India’, in G. Teulié (ed.) ‘Victorian Representations of War’, Cahiers Victoriens et Édouardiens, 66, 2007, 357-87, ISSN: 02205610.
  • ‘British Army Chaplains and Capital Courts-Martial in the First World War’ in K. Cooper and J. Gregory (eds), ‘Retribution, Repentance, and Reconciliation’, Studies in Church History, 40, 2004, 357-68. ISBN: 0952973391.

Chapters in books

  • ‘Archbishop Davidson’s visit to the Western Front, May 1916’, in M. Barber, S. Taylor and G. Sewell (eds), From the Reformation to the Permissive Society: A Lambeth Miscellany, Church of England Record Society, Volume 18, 2010, 455-520. ISBN: 9781843835585.
  • ‘War, Religion and Revival: the United States, British and Canadian Armies in the Second World War’ in C. Brown and M. Snape (eds), Secularisation in the Christian World, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010, 135-57, ISBN: 9780754661313.
  •  ‘The Great War’ in D.H. McLeod (ed.), The Cambridge History of Christianity: World Christianities c.1914-c.2000, Cambridge: C.U.P., 2006, 131-50, ISBN: 13 9780521815000.
  • ‘The Church in a Lancashire Parish: Whalley, 1689-1800’, The National Church in Local Perspective, J. Gregory and J. Chamberlain (eds), Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2002, 243-63. ISBN: 0851158978.
  • ‘Keeping Faith and Coping: Belief, Popular Religiosity and the British People in Two World Wars’,inP. Liddle, T. Whitehead and J. Bourne (eds), The Great World War 1914-45 Vol. 2 The People’s Experience, London: Harper Collins, 2001, 398-420. ISBN: 0007116330.

In preparation

  • ‘The First World War and the Chaplains of British India’ for British Army Chaplains in the First World War.

Conference proceedings

  • ‘“Our Happy Reformation”: Anglicanism and Society in a Northern Parish, 1689-1789’, in J.P. Massaut and M.E. Hennau (eds), La Christianisation des Campagnes, Brussels: L'Institut Historique Belge de Rome, 1996, 46-55. ISBN: 9074461174.

Book reviews

  • Review articles for Social History (1995), The Expository Times (1996),  The English Historical Review (1998), Reviews in Religion and Theology (1998), Theology (2006), War In History (2008), Journal of the Royal United Services Institute (2009), British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2009).