Dr. Pádraig Lawlor is a published historian and lecturer at Saint Leo University, FL where he teaches courses on European History. He received his B.A. (Double Honors: History and English) and H.Dip. in Irish History from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; his M.Phil. in Early Modern European History from Trinity College Dublin; and his Ph.D. in European History from Purdue University.
Specializing in theology and religious culture in Medieval and Early Modern Britain and Ireland, he has published on the nature of religious culture and the mechanisms of theological thought. Prior to joining Saint Leo University, he taught an array of European history courses at both Purdue University and University of South Florida. Dr. Lawlor’s teaching was recently recognized by Purdue University when he was awarded the 2019 Center for Instructional Excellence Graduate Teaching Award, an honor awarded to instructors for “their outstanding teaching contributions to the university.” When not working on scholarship, he teaches a number of lower and upper division courses relating to the history of Europe including, “Western Civilization I and II,” “Witchcraft and Magic in History,” “The Real Game of Thrones: Medieval Monsters and Monarchies,” and “Insurrection to Independence: Ireland 1568 – 1921.”
I was born and raised in Mountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland, and from an early age remember having a fascination with history. My first area of interest was Egyptology, often spending hours reading books relating to the ancient era. It was during this time I expanded my interests in history and stumbled upon the complexities involved with Ireland’s past. Naturally, Ireland’s past is inextricably linked with Britain. I later began incorporating wider British history into my readings and I became intrigued with Britain’s early modern era. Religious culture, in particular, was central to my interests; an attraction that still remains with me today.
I am currently working on my book manuscript, titled, “God’s Preservationists: The Championing of Conformity in Interregnum England, 1649 – 1660.” This project explores the preservation of the Church of England in Interregnum England. It incorporates a microhistorical analysis of parish life in four Puritanical counties located in East Anglia, namely Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex. In the current historiography on the Church of England, scholars of religious history have traditionally associated both Puritan and sectarian activity with the political upheaval, religious reform, and the collapse of cultural norms that accompanied the English Interregnum. Absent from this scholarship, however, are the voices and actions of those devoted parishioners who refused to abandon their parish church after its disestablishment in 1649. These followers, henceforth called “Conformists,” both fostered and maintained a shared cultural system that stabilized their communal interaction in a period exemplified by politico-religious chaos. In a period characterized by bloody conflicts, their instruments were not swords, but sermons. Thus, this project reveals that the perseverance of Conformists amid the persecution of Cromwellian England was not arbitrary, but a disciplined reaction in which spiritual guidance was actively sought and developed. Central to this response were the actions of sequestered Conformist ministers who guided their displaced congregations by administering forbidden sacraments and emboldening communal engagement.