John Craig

Office: AQ 6242



Future courses may be subject to change.


Like many, I am the product of families that have moved to make a living. My middle name is Semple after my grandmother Alice Semple of Kintyre who married William Craig of Glasgow and who moved in 1920 from Glasgow to Halifax, Yorkshire. My mother's name is Raine and although she was born in Coventry, her family comes from Northumberland. Complicating matters, I was born in Wrexham in what used to be called Denbighshire in Wales, began my schooling in Kampala, Uganda, and continued in Birmingham before emigrating with my parents to Canada in 1971. We lived for one year in Swift Current, Saskatchewan before moving to Brandon, Manitoba. I took my BA Hons (1986) and MA (1988) degrees from Carleton University where I worked with Robert Goheen. Thanks to the award of a research studentship at Peterhouse, I went to Cambridge for my doctoral degree which I completed in 1992 under the supervision of Patrick Collinson. I held a research fellowship at Robinson College, Cambridge from 1992-94 before coming to Simon Fraser University in September 1994. Promoted Associate Professor in 1999 and Professor in 2005, I served as Chair of the department of History from 2005-2008.

Research Interests

I am currently working on a study of the politics of reading in the English parish, 1536-1642. Although early modern English social and cultural historians have long probed the significance of the acquisition of literacy in the period between the emergence of English Protestantism and the outbreak of the English Civil War, an important body of material has largely escaped their attention. By 1640, many parish communities owned small collections of books, kept in the parish church for the use of parishioners. Through a systematic examination of the surviving books, parish inventories, glebe terriers and churchwardens' accounts found in county archives, it will be possible not only to catalogue the books owned and purchased by the parish churches of England and Wales, but also to construct an entirely new set of data that permits important questions to be asked about the dissemination of print, the development of popular forms of Protestantism and the political consciousness of parishioners prior to the English Civil War.
I am also working on the soundscapes of worship in early modern England and the cultural politics of prayer, both of these the subject of recent conference papers.



  • ‘Bodies at prayer in early modern England’, in Worship of the Parish Church in Early Modern England edited by Alec Ryrie and Natalie Mears (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 2013), pp. 173-196.
  • ‘Sermon Reception’ in The Oxford Handbook of the Early Modern Sermon edited by Hugh Adlington, Peter McCullough and Emma Rhatigan (Oxford, 2011), pp. 179-193.
  • ‘Erasmus or Calvin? The politics of book purchase in the early modern English parish’ in The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain and Ireland edited by P. Collinson and P. Ha , Proceedings of the British Academy 164, (Oxford for the British Academy, 2010), pp, 39-62.
  • ‘Parish Religion’, in The Elizabethan World edited by Susan Doran and Norman Jones (Routledge, 2010).
  • "The growth of English Puritanism" in J. Coffey and P. Lim eds., The Cambridge Companion to Puritanism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 34-47.
  • "A Sermon by Robert Barnes, c. 1535" with Korey Maas, The Journal of Ecclesiastical History lv, (2004): 542-551.
  • "Psalms, Groans and Dogwhippers: the soundscape of worship in the English parish church, 1547-1642" in W. J. Coster and A. Spicer eds., Sacred Space in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). pp. 104-123.
  • "Forming a Protestant Consciousness? Erasmus' Paraphrases in English Parishes, 1547-1666" in Holy Scripture Speaks: Studies in the Production and Reception of Erasmus' Paraphrases on the New Testament, eds., Hilmar Pabel and Mark Vessey (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), pp. 313-358.
  • "Reformers, Conflict and Revisionism: The Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Hadleigh", Historical Journal, xlii (1999): 1-23.
  • "The 'Cambridge Boies': Thomas Rogers and the 'Brethren in Bury St Edmunds", Belief and Practice in Reformation England: A Tribute to Patrick Collinson from His Students, eds., Susan Wabuda and Caroline Litzenberger (Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1998), pp. 154-176.
  • "Introduction", with Patrick Collinson, The Reformation in English Towns, 1500-1640 eds., Patrick Collinson and John Craig, (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1998), pp. 1-19.
  • "The 'Christian Brethren' in Suffolk", Religious Dissent in East Anglia III, ed., David Chadd (Norwich: University of East Anglia, 1996), pp. 29-49.
  • "Wills as Religious Propaganda: the Testament of William Tracy", with C. J. Litzenberger, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, xliv (1993): 415-431
  • "Cooperation and Initiatives: Elizabethan Churchwardens and the Parish Accounts of Mildenhall", Social History, xviii (1993): 357-380.
  • "The 'Godly' and the 'Froward' Protestant Polemics in the Town of Thetford, 1560-1590", Norfolk Archaeology, xli (1992): 279-293.
  • "The Bury Stirs Revisited: An Analysis of the Townsmen", Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History, xxxvii (1991): 208-224.
  • "The Marginalia of Dr. Rowland Taylor", Historical Research , lxiv (1991): 411-420.
  • Twelve articles for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004): Samuel Bird, Thomas Rogers, John Walker, Sir Robert Jermyn, Sir John Heigham, Sir Owen Hopton, Sir Roger North, John Still, John Jewel, John Copping, George Withers and Miles Mosse.
  • Twelve articles for Puritans and Puritanism in Europe and America (Santa Barbara, California: ABC Clio, 2006) eds. Frank Bremer and Tom Webster: John Beadle, Samuel Bird, Nicholas Bownd, John Burgess, Samuel Fairclough elder, Samuel Fairclough junior, Miles Mosse, John Phillips, Oliver Pigge, Nathaniel Ranew, John Ward, Samuel Ward of Ipswich. Forthcoming.
  • "Thomas Thornbury" and "Austin", Private Libraries in Renaissance England, Vol. IV, eds., R. J. Fehrenbach and E. S. Leedham-Green (Binghamton, New York: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1995), pp. 9-10, 112-115.
  • "James Johnson", "John Conner" and "Lisle", Private Libraries in Renaissance England, Vol. III, eds., R. J. Fehrenbach and E. S. Leedham-Green (Binghamton, New York: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1994), pp. 134-5, 156-63, 228-230.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

English Social and Cultural, and especially Ecclesiastical History, 1500-1700; The English Reformation; English Puritanism.

Former Graduate Students: 


  • Visiting Fellow, Peterhouse, Cambridge, 2009-2010
  • Katherine F. Pantzer Senior Fellowship in Bibliography 2009
  • Gordon Duff Prize, University of Cambridge, 2003 for "Forming a Protestant Consciousness? Erasmus' Paraphrases in English Parishes, 1547-1666"
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, 2003
  • Munby Fellowship in Bibliography, Cambridge University Library, 2002-2003
  • Visiting Fellow, Darwin College, Cambridge, 2002-2003
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Simon Fraser University, 1997.
  • No. 1 Ranking, SSHRC Research Grant Competition, 1997.
  • Prince Consort Prize and Seeley Medal, Cambridge University, 1994, for the best dissertation in History.
  • John Nichols Prize, University of Leicester, 1991, for the best essay in English local history.
  • Archbishop Cranmer Prize, Cambridge University, 1991, for the best essay on an aspect of the English Reformation.
  • SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellowship, 1992-1994.
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship, 1988-1992.
  • Peterhouse External Studentship, 1988-1991.
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 1986-1988