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

👏🏼 I think many students would be gobsmacked if many of my colleagues did the same—as they should be!

#OTD 1503: Abbot John Islip laid the foundation stone of Henry VII’s Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, called the ‘wonder of the world’. It was later consecrated on 19 February 1516.

Is it a parish church, is it a Manor House, is it a Minster? Why no, it’s St Michael + All Angels, Bishop's Cleeve, Gloucs. Built on site of Saxon monastery. W front and nave 1160-1190, all partly rebuilt early C14 + C17, tower c1700 by James Hill of Cheltenham. C17 gallery. 1/

Humanities won’t set you up for a career, kids - esp one in University management.

Six years ago today I #graduated @durham_uni w/ a PhD, in a freezing cold @durhamcathedral! I was so very sad to leave @durhamcastle. Alas, many of the friends I made there are now lifelong comrades. Tomorrow, my own students will graduate from @UniOfYork. Odd. How time flies! 🎓

#OTD 1570: James Stewart, Earl of Moray, illegitimate son of James V of Scotland and Regent for nephew James VI, was assassinated by firearm on Linlithgow High St by James Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots—one of 1st recorded assassinations by firearm.

‘Restoration of one of the world’s most famous paintings has been described as “a shock for everybody” after...depiction of a sheep with extremely human-like eyes.’
Lamb of (oh my) God: disbelief at 'alarmingly humanoid' restoration of Ghent altarpiece

Wow, just wow—and unfortunately so very common.

Desperately sad. And how stupid to think that history, politics, and — maybe especially — languages have no place in a "career-focused curriculum". My heart goes out to colleagues at Sunderland. https://twitter.com/DrAndreKeil/status/1219729517624938498

Guess the age of this church...oh, and one of the most famous C19 entrepreneurs is also buried here. 😏

#OTD: Feast St Vincent of Saragossa, protomartyr of Spain. A C3 deacon. Together with his Bishop, Valerius of Saragossa, he was apprehended during a persecution of Dacian the governor of Spain + subjected to cruel tortures inc flesh pierced w/ iron hooks + roasted on a gridiron.