Dr Emma J. Wells

Dr Emma J. Wells


Dr Emma J. Wells is an historian of religious and architectural history, specialising particularly in the medieval and early modern eras. She is a passion advocate of the buildings history approach which seeks to understand people and the past through their surroundings. Her expertise covers everything from parish churches and cathedrals, the saints, pilgrimage and stained glass, to historic buildings in the modern age. Emma is the author of Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles (Hale, 2016) and is the midst of finalising another on the senses in the medieval church for OUP. Her next book, Heaven On Earth: The Lives & Legacies of the World’s Greatest Cathedrals will be published by Head of Zeus (2020/21).

Emma writes often and reviews for newspapers and magazines, including BBC History, History Today, the Times Literary Supplement, History Revealed and BBC Countryfile. A lively broadcaster and frequent acclaimed public speaker at literary festivals, academic conferences and corporate lectures, Emma’s experience also stretches beyond the world of religion and architecture, having lectured in archaeology, history, and art. She wrote and presented a three-part documentary for Viral History on St Cuthbert’s Way and appears often as a talking head as well as podcast contributor, with appearances on History Hit’s Art Detective, History Extra, and as a ‘Don’ on BBC Radio 4’s The 3rd Degree.

Emma gained her PhD from Durham University, for which she was awarded the 2011-12 British Archaeological Association Ochs Scholarship and Society for Church Archaeology Research Grant. She is now a lecturer and Programme Director of English Building History and Parish Church Studies at the University of York, and a Research Associate within the Department of Archaeology.

She gained her racing licence aged 18 and previously raced with Formula Woman.

Dr Emma J. Wells @Emma_J_Wells

To round up #HistoryWritersDay2022, I’m offering a signed copy of Heaven On Earth to one lucky winner (UK based). To enter, please ensure you’re following me, then like and RT this post. I’ll choose a winner at random on Wednesday.
Good luck!

Churches & their Naughty Bits: Happy Advent! https://emmawells.substack.com/p/happy-advent?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=auto_share&r=1d2s3m

One publication I can reveal is an edited volume on medievalism published by @Brepols for which @ClaireKennan and I are co-editors. I believe a 2023 publication date—so watch this space… #HistoryWritersDay2022

And, finally, for this #HistoryWritersDay22, my third book will be… 🤫 sorry, I can’t announce the details just yet but it’s contracted and in progress. Happy to take guesses on the subject matter, though!


For #HistoryWritersDay2022 here’s my 2nd book. Heaven on Earth @HoZ_Books narrates the messy realities of life of the Church + competition among them as they vied to become number one + fought over relics/privileges etc.@Books2Cover

📸2/3: @Portaspeciosa

On #HistoryWritersDay22 my first book was Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles: it leads the modern traveller along 7 medieval pilgrim routes of Britain (those with historic origins), taking in world-famous sites such as Canterbury and Lindisfarne.


Happy #AdventSunday!

🖼 Creation of the stars, BL Royal E IX, f. 3v

Good evening to those celebrating #HistoryWritersDay22. My 2nd book Heaven on Earth shares human stories behind 1000 years of cathedral-building; how they shaped modern Europe + influenced art, culture + society around world—the first of its kind. DM for signed copy @Books2Cover

#HistoryWritersDay22 is here! Heaven on Earth @HoZ_Books. The Times called it ‘an impeccable guide’, The Spectator ‘accessible, authoritative’, + Simon Jenkins said I brought the cathedrals ‘vividly to life’. A @Waterstones best book of 2022. http://emmajwells.com

Heaven on Earth out in the wild and front and centre at @HatchStPancras and @WaterstonesHarr!
📸 Annabel B and @TurnipRail

Proofs just in for my most recent article in the Journal of the @SocChurchArch, on the connection between the architectural design of shrines and the need for interaction in devotion by medieval pilgrims.

Delighted to hear that Heaven has been @HoZ_Books best-selling hardback for some weeks! That’s down to all of you lovely lot—so thank you, immensely.

Faith Kitchen notes that many heritage organisations struggle to see beyond two years but sustainability is key to future, with many objectives already in place. Engaging staff and visitors primary way to achieve net zero target. #heritagedebate2022

Let’s keep heritage accessible to keep it alive and in order to invest in it and place for the future. Communities ar here the custodians of heritage, says @WandaWyporska. I agree entirely. #heritagedebate2022

An important point as I listen to the #heritagedebate2022. Let’s hope archaeology can become a key career choice in twenty years time. So very poignant given the sector at the moment.

A timely plug from @PamAlexanderAoU here for #VAT to be equalised on repair with new build which will not only support environmental agendas but also help keep construction going during recession. #HeritageDebate2022 https://twitter.com/heritage_lizzie/status/1595835088113401857

Is anyone attending this @Heritage_NGOs debate tonight who may possibly be able to share the link please? I’ve purchased a ticket via PayPal (and have the email confirmation) but no tickets with the link have come through via Eventbrite or email!