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

North Yorkshire church damaged, but local firm steps in https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2022/14-january/news/uk/north-yorkshire-church-damaged-but-local-firm-steps-in?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1642553825

Heaven on Earth #countdown:

1: Owl eyes, a great kiss, scissors or strainer arch?

@WellsCathedral1 is perhaps best known for its gargantuan crossing arches, installed by Master Mason William Joy in the early C14 to save the cathedral from collapse, owing to the strain that /

Heaven on Earth: The Lives and Legacies of the World's Greatest Cathedrals by @Emma_J_Wells will be released on the 7th July 2022. You can now Pre-Order your copy on our bookshop.
👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇 https://uk.bookshop.org/books/heaven-on-earth-the-lives-and-legacies-of-the-world-s-greatest-cathedrals/9781788541947?aid=1050

This rather unassuming wooden wall is a rare surviving example from the 1200's. It is our Vestry where priests change into robes for services.

Thank you @theAliceRoberts for highlighting vital role county archaeologists and county archaeological teams play in the planning & development process on @BBCRadio4 #today. @Kent_cc we also maintains the county archaeology database & we even do a little #communityarchaeology 👍🏻

Just trawling through my camera roll to find a certain pic for Saturday’s @ArchandArch paper on the risqué playground of the medieval church. Found it! C15 male exhibitionist hidden in a choir stall canopy at @riponcathedral. He’s not easy to find, nor photograph (thanks, Joe!)

How have I only just discovered this account?! 😍

“Someone is going to have to pay for the church buildings that no longer support a congregation." https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2022/7-january/comment/columnists/press-simon-jenkins-mounts-familiar-hobby-horse?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1641860470

My look at the #colston4 case, particularly the effect the listing of the statue should have had on the criminal damage prosecution and the role of the jury #contestedheritage #planning #artlaw https://www.39essex.com/the-colston-4-and-the-listed-building/

If you haven’t read up on this tale, I advise you to. Unbelievable!

Let’s simply celebrate #heritagetreasures day. It celebrates these sites and artefacts by raising awareness of them, promoting preservation, and educating us about these important items and what they say about us as human beings.

As there’s just over 6 months until Heaven on Earth is published by @HoZ_Books, shall we count down with some beautiful images of the cathedrals featured and a few interesting tales behind their construction? I’ll also throw in other great sites I had to leave out of the book.

In honour of the humble and historic door hinge and decorative metalwork (📸Selby Cathedral) #THREAD

This is a fascinating study. I often (unconsciously) practice two sleeps—sometimes, three or even four!


When I get to 10k, I’ll do the same, though not quite C19 Samogitian peasant level 😂 congrats to Francis on hitting is goal and giving us all a chuckle!

HOW IT STARTED: chairs laid out for worshippers inside Amiens Cathedral - sandbagged - during WWI.
HOW IT'S GOING: sterile communion wafer and wine in a plastic sachet, photographed by a church-going friend over Xmas in London.

No filter necessary for this morning’s #northyorkshire red sky.