Her research combines her twin passions – history and music. It focusses on the cultural, social and political history of early modern England and, in particular, the ways in which the political and religious upheavals of the sixteenth century were reported and rationalised in ballads. She has published articles for both journals and popular magazines, not just on sixteenth-century England but also on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the local history of north-west England. Singing the News: Ballads in Mid-Tudor England is her first monograph.
As a former teacher, Jenni loves sharing history with others. She has taught undergraduate courses on the Tudors and Stuarts, witchcraft and twentieth-century Europe, and gives regular A-level lectures on early modern English history. She has recently begun to write GCSE revision podcasts for Audiopi. Jenni also enjoys speaking to groups of the general public, often through her work with the Historical Association but also to groups such as the Women’s Institute.
Jenni is a classically-trained soprano; her voice was once described as ‘pure bel canto’ by the acclaimed voice teacher Barbara Robotham, and her current singing teacher is the international soloist and Hallé Choir vocal coach, Margaret MacDonald. As a teenager, she was offered a choral scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge. As well as her experience of singing with choirs and as a soloist, Jenni enjoys performing on the folk scene. She recorded a full length CD, Aisling’s Dream, with her former trio, Triptych.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Jenni also has an interest in digital humanities, and has combined this with an interest in sixteenth-century popular religious history to develop a research project on the persecution of Protestants during the reign of Mary I and her husband, Philip of Spain.
As part her undergraduate degree at Manchester University, Jenni completed a first-class dissertation on the transmission of culture in Aztec Mexico and the impact of the Spanish conquest. She used this as the basis for her first publication, an article for the Historical Association magazine, and retains a strong interest in the subject.
Jenni is a qualified teacher and has taught GCSE music as well as history, English literature, English language and drama.
Jenni's wider interests include needlework, baking, reading, gardening and birdwatching.