Dr Rachael Abbiss

Visiting Lecturer
Postgraduate research student

In 2008, I completed a BA Hons in History with Archaeology at the University of Chester before starting work as a Warden at Buckingham Palace. Later in 2008 I was employed as a Curator for the Assault Glider Trust (AGT) based at RAF Shawbury. 

After achieving a First Class degree my dissertation was nominated for the Royal Historical Society/History Today Undergraduate Dissertation Prize and the History of Parliament Dissertation Competition. Whilst working full-time at RAF Shawbury, I started an MA in Military History and in 2012 graduated with a distinction.

In my role as Curator I established an archive containing paper records and artefacts, helped develop and deliver a programme of education, managed a team of volunteers, launched an oral history project and contributed to A History of Conflict: Britain At War. In the past I have also served as a curatorial/education advisor and tutor for Shropshire Museum Service, a STEM Ambassador for STEMNET and a Museum Mystery Shopper.  

In 2011 I started my PhD at Chester under the supervision of Dr Keith McLay and Professor Peter Gaunt. My doctoral thesis focused on the role of the military in imperial security policy of the British Isles during the reign of James VII & II.



BA Hons (Chester), MA (Chester), PhD (Chester).


Since 2011 I have worked as a Visiting Lecturer for the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Chester and have contributed to the lecture programme entitled ‘Europe and the Wider World: Turning Points in History, 1000-2000’ and covered topics such as witchcraft, mercantilism and colonial expansion. I have also been responsible for tutoring seminar groups at Levels 4 and 5. Topics covered in these sessions include Sir Edmund Andros, The Revolution of 1688 and The Boston Revolt of 1689. For the last three years I have been module leader for ‘Europe in the Age of Absolutism and Enlightened Absolutism’ and more recently, I have co-taught the module ‘The Supernatural in the Early Modern World’.

Since 2015 I have also worked as a Visiting Lecturer at University Centre Shrewsbury (UCS) and I am currently module leader for the following undergraduate modules:

  • The Mystery of History
  • Debates in History
  • Total War: British Conflict Experience in the 20th Century

I also contribute to the teaching of the following modules:

  • The Making of Britain: From Roman Province to Modern Nation
  • Professional Practice


My main research interests lie within early modern British history, especially the military history of the late seventeenth century and in particular the administration, composition and operational use of the army and navy, politics during the reign of James VII & II and the development of Britain as a dominant European power. Due to the focus of my doctoral research, my interests also stretch across the Atlantic including the military and political history of New England, Anglo-French conflict and the development of royal authority in North America.

In 2012 I was awarded an IHR Friends bursary from the Institute of Historical Research and a grant from the Royal Historical Society to help towards UK and US research for my doctoral thesis. 

More recently I have turned my focus to local history and more specifically the impact of war and conflict on Shropshire during the Georgian Period. In October 2016, in conjunction with Professor Tim Jenkins and Dr James Pardoe, I organised a public conference at University Centre Shrewsbury with papers covering the military history of Shropshire from the late prehistoric period through to the twentieth century. Helion & Company will publish an edited edition of the symposium papers in September 2017.

Published work

I am currently working on a comparator article focusing on the Dominion of New England and later plans of union in North America. I am also preparing a monograph based on my thesis research.

  • Forthcoming – in progress (provisional title): R. Abbiss, The King’s Other Dominion (Solihul: Helion & Company, expected publication 2019).
  • Forthcoming: R. Abbiss and T. Jenkins (eds.), Fortress Salopia: Exploring Shropshire's Military History from the Prehistoric Period to the Twentieth Century: 2016 Conference Proceedings (Solihull: Helion & Company, 2017).
  • Forthcoming: R. Abbiss, ‘The Impact of War: Shropshire during the Georgian Period, 1714-1830’ in R. Abbiss and T. Jenkins (eds.), Fortress Salopia: Exploring Shropshire's Military History from the Prehistoric Period to the Twentieth Century: 2016 Conference Proceedings (Solihull: Helion & Company, 2017).
  • R. Abbiss, ‘Conflict within Conflict: Indian War 1688’, Context, 1 (2014), pp. 4-12.