Profile of Shaun Evans

Dr. Shaun Evans, BA (York), PhD (Aberystwyth)
Project Manager, Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE)
01248 383617
Room 402, Main Arts


After graduating in History at the University of York, Shaun undertook his PhD project with the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS) between Aberystwyth and Bangor universities.  His doctoral thesis focused on the cultural construction of dynastic identity in 16th and 17th century Wales, through a case study based on the influential Mostyn family and estate.  After receiving his doctorate he worked on an AHRC-funded ‘Llandudno Cultural Engagement Project’, before taking up a position in the Research Team at The National Archives, where he had responsibilities for research and academic engagement strategy. 

Shaun is the Project Manager of the recently-established Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE) and has overall responsibility for directing its development.  He also teaches in the School of History and Archaeology.
Shaun is Chairman of the North East Wales Heritage Forum (NEWHF) and sits on the Council of the Flintshire Historical Society. 


In addition to his role with the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE), Shaun also teaches in the School of History and Archaeology.
He has previously convened a second and third year module entitled Wales and Europe in the Renaissance: Continuity and Change c.1450-1630, which examines cultural and social developments in Wales during the early modern period, in the context of broader European experiences.  Shaun regularly teaches on The Birth of Modern Europe, 1450-1550 module and has delivered the seminar programme for The Tudors, 1485-1603 module. 

Shaun is a firm advocate of ‘learning through evidence’ and encourages student engagement with primary sources – textual, visual and material – at all levels.  He is fully committed to ensuring that the excellent teaching resources within the university’s Archives and Special Collections are used to their full potential.  This approach is inspired by his time working at The National Archives where he was responsible for developing and delivering the ‘Researching Archives and Documents’ training module for the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) scheme.  He is also a great believer in ‘immersive learning’ and provides opportunities for his students to undertake fieldtrips to cultural heritage sites and repositories – country houses, churches, museums and galleries – as part of their learning experience. 

Research and Publications


As Project Manager of the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE) Shaun has responsibilities for promoting innovative research into the wide-ranging impacts and influences of estates and country houses on an all-Wales basis. 
His own research interests feed into this overarching mission.  They revolve around the cultural mechanisms appropriated by individuals for the construction, negotiation and performance of identities across the 16th and 17th centuries; with a particular emphasis on gentry culture, the construction of dynasty, commemoration strategies and perceptions and articulations of status, honour and authority.  His research is primarily focused on Wales and the interplay between local, regional, national and international cultural forms and movements.  This includes the cultural, political and social consequences of Wales’ incorporation into the Tudor and Stuart State, conceptualisations of Welsh identity, the transmission of Renaissance ideas and the geo-cultural significance of the English-Welsh border. 
Shaun is an interdisciplinary historian who draws upon a vast array of textual, and in particular, visual and material culture sources.  He is a firm advocate of the call for ‘an archaeology of early-modern Europe’.  Specific focuses include heraldic and funerary culture, the development of regional portraiture traditions and the fashioning of domestic and church space.  Other areas of interest include the use and function of the Last Will and Testament, landlord-tenant, master-servant relations and the performance of Welsh praise poetry. 

Thesis: ‘‘To continue in my bloud and name’: Reproducing the Mostyn Dynasty, c.1540-1692’:

In 2013 Shaun completed his PhD thesis at the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS), between Aberystwyth and Bangor universities.  This focused on the creative production of the Mostyn dynasty, one of the most prominent and influential gentry forces operational in north Wales society, across the 16th and 17th centuries.  The thesis represented a micro case-study examination of continuity and change, resorting to specific localised context and detailed empirical evidence for everyday life and practice.  It included chapters on the visual and material construction of dynasty; the negotiation of master-servant and landlord-tenant relationships; office-holding and the functioning of government in peripheral North Wales; commemoration strategies and the utilisation of church space; and Welsh bardic culture.
The thesis was pioneering in its explicit rejection of the use of the concept of ‘anglicisation’ as an appropriate term for explaining changes impacting on understanding and practices of status, honour and authority in Wales across the period.  It was also innovative in its exploration of the community negotiation and endorsement underpinning the family’s claims to gentility. 

The Mostyn Project:

In collaboration with Prof. Elisabeth Salter, Shaun was responsible for coordinating and delivering the objectives of the ‘Mostyn Project’ during its early stages of development.  This was an initiative of IMEMS which aimed at increasing both public and academic awareness and utilisation of the Mostyn family's history and archive.  Project partners included Mostyn Estates, the National Library of Wales, Bangor University Archive, Flintshire Record Office, Llandudno Museum and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust.  Shaun led on delivering the public outreach and community engagement aspects of the initiative.

Ongoing projects and future initiatives:

Shaun has recently collaborated with Prof. Robert Tittler (Concordia University, Canada) on a project focusing on the portraits produced by the 17th century Chester herald Randle Holme, which provides new perspectives on early portraiture culture in North Wales, Cheshire and Lancashire.  This initial focus on portraiture provides the foundations for a larger project which analyses how the gentry of North Wales, Cheshire and Lancashire utilised the heraldic products of the Randle Holme workshop to construct their desired image; and the implications of these engagements for cross-border gentry identities. 
Shaun is also working on a number of papers relating to heirloom traditions, Welsh funerary culture and church seating. 


  • With R. Tittler, ‘Randle Holme the Elder and the Development of Portraiture in North Wales, c.1600-1630’, The British Art Journal XVI, 2 (Autumn, 2015), pp. 24-29. 
  • ‘St. Winifred’s well, office-holding and the Mostyn Family interest: Negotiating the Reformation in Flintshire, c.1570-1642’, Flintshire Historical Society Journal 40 (2015), pp. 41-72.
  • ‘The House of Brynkir, c.1500-1700’, in M. Baker (ed.), Plas Brynkir, Dolbenmaen (Caerphilly, 2014), pp. 11-34.
  • ‘Gruffudd Hiraethog, Heraldic Display and the ‘Five Courts’ of Mostyn: Projecting Status, Honour and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Wales’, in F. Robertson and P. Lindfield (eds.), The Display of Heraldry (forthcoming).
  • With M. Chadwick, ‘The Library of Thomas Mostyn of Gloddaith, c.1670-92:  Cultural Creativity and Cosmopolitanism’, in A. Bautz and J. Gregory (eds.), Text and Manuscript Collections, 1660-1860 (forthcoming).
  • ‘‘Under an Ewe tree, where the graves of my Anncestors are’: The Hughes of Llewerllyd Tombs, c.1620-1700 – commemoration, community and continuity in a north Wales parish (in preparation).

Select conference papers and guest lectures:

17/03/2016      ‘‘To continewe and remayne as heireloomes to the house of Mostyn, for ever’: Heirlooms, Heraldry and Hauntings – Constructing the Mostyn Dynasty, c.1550-1700’, Dynasty and Dynasticism, 1400-1700, Somerville College, Oxford (!dynasty-conference/c1upt

22/10/2015      ‘‘In recognition of the great love and service I owe them’: Negotiating the community roles of the Mostyn patriarchs, c.1500-1700’, Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates Seminar Series 2015, Bangor University (

12/06/2015      ‘To vilify him, as he hath done these noble Princes’: Popish Persistence, Palsgrave Politics and Public Punishment – The case of Edward Lloyd of Llwyn-y-Maen, 1621, Medievalism Transformed – Icons of Villainy, Bangor University ( 

18/04/2015      ‘‘Metamorphosed into Englishmen?’ Welsh Ancestral Patriotism and the Gentry of 16th and 17th century Wales, Reassessing Anglicisation in Wales, c.1536-1868, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth ( 

7/9/2014           ‘Heirlooms, Heraldry and Hauntings – Constructing the Mostyn Dynasty, c.1550-1700’, Liminal Time and Space in Medieval and Early Modern Performance, The University of Kent, Canterbury ( 

26/4/2014         ‘Gruffudd Hiraethog, Heraldic Display and the ‘Five Courts’ of Mostyn: Projecting Status, Honour and Authority in Sixteenth-Century Wales’, Emblems and Enigma: The Heraldic Imagination, The Society of Antiquaries, London ( 

29/3/2014         Flintshire Historical Society Guest Lecture.

23/11/2013      ‘Mostyn Hall and its Family: Governing Flintshire, c.1550-1692’, Cymdeithas Thomas Pennant, Holywell, Flintshire (23/11/2013)

27/4/2013         ‘The Mostyn Family and their Archive, c.1500-1700', Ranulf Hidgen Society, Claus Moser Research Centre, Keele University.

28/11/2012      ‘The Building of the Gloddaith Estate and the Development of Llandudno, c.1450-1700’, Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, Telford Centre, Menai Bridge, Anglesey. 

12/09/2012      ‘Gruffudd Hiraethog, Heraldic Display and the ‘Five Courts’ of Mostyn’, Guto’r Glyn a Chymru’n Bymtheg Ganrif / Guto’r Glyn and Fifteenth-Century Wales, Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

3/08/2012         With Peter Lord and Miles Wynn Cato, ‘Welsh Portraiture and Visual Culture, c.1550-1900’, Flintshire Historical Society, Mostyn Hall, Flintshire. 

21/07/2012      Panel Member, ‘Flintshire and its Hinterland: some cross-border perspectives in local history’, Flintshire County Council, @nswers Centre, Mold Library.

23/08/2011      ‘The Heraldic Construction of Gloddaith Hall, c.1450-1600’, ‘Opening the Vaults’: Researching Welsh Families and their Archives, c.1450-1800’, Gloddaith Hall, Llandudno.

Community talks and presentations:

Shaun regularly delivers presentations on his research to local history groups in the North Wales region. 

Research reports and strategy documents:

Towards an Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates (ISWE): Development Framework and Discussion Document, Bangor University (2015). 
‘Bridgend Reach’: Rural Bridgend Tourism Asset Mapping – A Survey of Tourism Assets, N-Compass Heritage Consultants, for Bridgend County Borough Council(2015).
Architectural and Historical Research Report: Plas Uchaf, Whitford, Flintshire, Purcell UK (2015).
The National Archives’ Academic Engagement Strategy, The National Archives (2014), available at 
Our Heritage, Mostyn Estates Ltd. (2012), available at 
Mostyn Hall, Flintshire: Report on Educational, Cultural and Tourism Potential, Historic Houses Association (2011).