David L Wykes, BSc (Dunelm), PhD (Leicester), FRHistS


Director, Dr Williams's Library, and Co-Director of the Dr Williams's Centre for DissentingWykes Studies

email: Director@DWLib.co.uk

David Wykes is an historian of late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century dissent, and late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century rational dissent and Unitarianism. He has a particular interest in dissenting academies and the contribution made by dissent to business, society and politics. Because of the great variation in the pattern of provincial dissent he is especially interested in the use of local evidence. He taught for several years at the University of Leicester before being appointed Director of Dr Williams's Trust and Library in 1998. He is currently working on a study of religious dissent during the twenty-five year period after the Glorious Revolution. With Isabel Rivers he has co-edited Joseph Priestley, Scientist, Philosopher, and Theologian (2008) and Dissenting Praise: Religious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales (2011). He is a Co-Investigator and Project Partner for the Dissenting Academies Project.


He is an Honorary Reader of Queen Mary, University of London.

He is the author of many essays and articles including:

  • 'The Revd John Aikin senior: Kibworth School and Warrington Academy', in Religious Dissent and the Aikin-Barbauld Circle, ed. Felicity James and Ian Inkster (2012)
  • ‘Religious Dissent, the Church, and the Repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts, 1714-1719’, in Politics, Religion and Dissent, 1660-1832: Essays in Honour of James E. Bradley, ed. Robert D. Cornwall and William Gibson (2010)
  • ‘ “So bitterly censur’d and revil’d”: Religious Dissent and Relations with the Church of England after the Toleration Act’, in Persecution and Pluralism, ed. R. J. Bonney and D. Trim (2006)
  • 'Ralph Thoresby's "Lives and Characters" ' in The World of Roger Morrice, ed. Jason McElligott (2006)
  • 'Parliament and Dissent from the Restoration to the Twentieth Century' in Parliament and Dissent, ed. Stephen Taylor and David Wykes (2005)
  • ‘From David’s Psalms to Watts’s Hymns: the Development of Hymnody among Dissenters following the Toleration Act’, in Studies in Church History, ed. R. N. Swanson (1999)
  • 'To revive the memory of some excellent men': Edmund Calamy and the Early Historians of Nonconformity (1997)
  • ‘The Contribution of the Dissenting Academy to the Emergence of Rational Dissent’, in Enlightenment and Religion: Rational Dissent in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. K. Haakonssen (1996)

He is also an Associate Editor of The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004), to which he contributed fifty-two articles including Matthew Henry, Edmund Calamy, and Daniel Williams, and an online article ‘Subscribers and non-subscribers at the Salters’ Hall debate (act. 1719)’ (2009).