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

Thrilled to receive the first issue of @SocChurchArch journal produced under the editorship of @DrRuthNugent w/ assistance from myself, & now the new team. This was a labour of love for us but I’m proud to see it and can’t thank Ruth enough for her continued work on the journal.

Please do vote for the fabulous @AndanteTravels if you have a moment 😊

An avenues of trees with boughs rising up from the ground @CburyCathedral.

A riveting 5 minutes 😂

I just got result 'Ritualist' on quiz 'What Kind of Anglican Are You?'. What will you get? https://uquiz.com/quiz/HAHqMm?p=720104 via @uquiz

Hi, I’m Emma. I’m extremely intelligent but very “glossy”. 🙄

If you want to know the history of this marmoreal monument, pre-order #HeavenonEarth now: http://smarturl.it/heavenwells

And it’s just 1 of many featured: @WellsCathedral1, @WinCathedral, @SalisburyCath, @York_Minster, @CburyCathedral, @wabbey, @_NotreDameParis, @CatedralStgo and more!

⛪️ 1.9.22 ⛪️

Preorder #HeavenOnEarth now.

Here’s a handy link so you can purchase at your preferred bookseller:


This really is one of the world's greatest cathedrals. Thanks to Dr @Emma_J_Wells for a sneak peak at her new book which takes readers to several cathedrals, including Santa Maria del Fiore - Florence's Cathedral.

So many of you have commented on the beauty of my new book cover. It was designed by @benpriordesign for @HoZ_Books and yes, he did a magnificent job. Just wait until you see the gilding in person!

#HeavenOnEarth has a new publication date, and trust us, it will be worth the wait ⛪️

Coming Sept 1st 2022 https://twitter.com/Emma_J_Wells/status/1542093208489975812


New release date for #HeavenonEarth: 1st September 2022.

This is due to a slight printing error yet worked out for the better and the book looks spectacular thanks to @HoZ_Books. You can continue to preorder using the link in bio.

Please RT/share.

Looking forward to my keynote talk on ‘What is Pilgrimage?’ and book signing at the end of his month for @hallaton_museum #festivalofarchaeology event. If you’d like to attend, tickets are available here:


Today’s #Substack is all about how cathedral-building was, by no means, a male-only endeavour.

If you haven’t signed up yet, you can below!


The best-preserved example of an early Norman castle in England, and one of the most breathtaking.

Pick up the new issue of @Mag_Minerva now for my piece on the Birth of Gothic:


The nave of the medieval parish church was essentially akin to the village hall, allowing a variety of non-liturgical activities. Drinking was just one of these. Learn all about #booze and the #church in my latest #Substack post: