Professor Richard Cust BA, PhD

Department of History
Professor of Early Modern History

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am professor of early modern history at the University of Birmingham, specialising in the political and cultural history of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century England.


Richard Cust was an undergraduate at Queen Mary College University of London, and a postgraduate at Bedford College, University of London. There he was supervised by Professor Conrad Russell and produced a 1984 PhD thesis on ‘The Forced Loan and English Politics 1626-1628.’ He was appointed to a lectureship in the Modern History Department at Birmingham in 1978 and has worked there ever since.


Richard Cust’s teaching covers a full range of undergraduate and MA courses, mainly focusing on the political and local history in 16th and 17thc. England. He teaches a Special Subject on the English Civil War and Local Society, an option on Military revolutions and European warfare c.1300-1650, a Group Research course on Women and the English Revolution.

He also teaches on three MA courses, concentrating on gentility and political culture in the MA on Shakespeare, Stratford upon Avon and the Cultural History of Renaissance England, on the Reformation at royal courts and in the towns in the MA on Reformation and Early Modern Studies and on the west Midlands and the English Civil War in the MA in West Midlands History.

Postgraduate supervision

Richard Cust has supervised a wide range of doctoral dissertations topics relating to English political, religious and cultural history in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

The topics he has recently supervised include:

  • ‘Images of the Royal Court under Queen Elizabeth’
  • 'The Lieutenancy and Elizabethan Warfare 1585-1603’
  • ‘Urban gentility in Stratford upon Avon 1560-1640’
  • ‘Thomas Hall and his Library: a Puritan Minister in the English Revolution'

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Richard Cust’s research interests range across late Tudor and early Stuart politics and political culture. He is currently writing a book on ‘Charles I and the Aristocracy, 1625-1642’, investigating the ways in which the king sought to bolster the position of the aristocracy within English society and mobilise their support in the political crises that he faced from 1639 onwards. It draws extensively on work carried out with Dr Andrew Hopper on an AHRC funded research project on ‘ The High Court of Chivalry 1634-1641’ and research on the political history of Charles I’s reign for his 2005 book, Charles I. A Political Life (Longman/Pearson).

Other activities

Along with Dr Andrew Hopper of the University of Leicester, Richard Cust has developed the Court of Chivalry web site  which provides calendared, electronically searchable, transcripts of proceedings for over 700 cases heard in court between 1634 and 1640.

He is also (with Dr Stephen Roberts of the History of Parliament), editor of the journal Midland History.


Richard Cust’s main publications include:

  • Charles I. A Political Biography. (Longman/Pearson, 2005)
  • Politics, Religion and Popularity (Cambridge, 2002) (edited with Thomas Cogswell & Peter Lake)
  • The Forced Loan and English Politics 1626-1628 (Oxford University Press, 1987)
  • Conflict in Early Stuart England (edited with Ann Hughes) (Longman, 1989

View all publications in research portal


Society and politics of late 16th and early 17th century England