Samantha Nelson

Samantha Nelson

Twitter: @samanthalnelson

Thesis Title

Women, Warfare, and the Tudor Regimes, c. 1485-1603


Manchester Metropolitan University


Professor Catherine Fletcher

Research Summary

My project investigates the role of Tudor women within sixteenth-century English-based conflicts, with a consideration of how constructions of gender influenced their engagement in warfare. Through a focus on gendered discourse and concepts of performativity, it alters the narrative that warfare was chiefly the business of men to encompass the experiences and perspectives of women from all social levels in both England and Wales. Principally it shows that women – acting as military organisers/administrators, spies, camp followers, or defenders – manipulated gendered rhetoric and concepts to suit their own ends, allowing many to wield agency within a military sphere despite gendered restrictions placed on their sex.

Research Interests

My research specialisms lie in sixteenth-centuy English and Welsh history, with a focus on cultural and social histories. My principal research interests are to highlight the diverse historical experiences and perspectives of under-represented and/or marginalised groups, demonstrating that they were central, and not passive, figures within history. At present, my research is centred on warfare and using gender as a tool of historical analysis to explore women’s experiences of conflict.


‘‘Jane Loder, widowe, to provide a harnes, bowe, and arrowes’: The Military Obligations of Widows and Noblewomen in Henrician England, 1509-1547’, Weapons in Society, Royal Armouries, Leeds (2023).
‘’Light women whiche dayly do repayre owt of Englond’: The Material Culture of Wives, Washerwomen, and Prostitutes in Tudor Army Camps and Garrisons’, The Material Culture of War and Emergency, University College London (2023).
‘‘I will keep the armour and pay the price your ladyship asks for it’: Tudor Women, Gender, and War’, Difficult Pasts, Society for Renaissance Studies, Liverpool (2023).
‘Shee rather playeth the parte of a knyght thenne of a Lady’: Tudor women as the agents and facilitators of wartime violence, War and Violence SHoW, Lisbon (upcoming 2023)
Samantha Nelson and Catherine Fletcher, ‘Mercenaries, Migration and the Crew of the Mary Rose, History: Journal of the Historical Association (2022)
Guest expert with Catherine Fletcher on Not Just the Tudors podcast hosted by Professor Suzannah Lipscomb (2023).


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