Dr Gabriel Byng


Power and authority in late medieval and early modern English society


Department of History 

Contact details:  


Research interests:

Dr Gabriel Byng's research concerns patterns of power and authority in local society in late medieval and early modern England. He is particularly interested in the development of parochial institutions during this period – the churchwardens, the masters, and the vestry – as they coped with economic, social and religious change. These form the topic of my current research project. 

His doctorate examined the management and financing of church construction as a study in cooperation and conflict at the parish level. It identified the social groups that ran and paid for work, the strategies they used to control cost and timescale, and the place of church building in contemporary society. He completed his PhD at Cambridge in 2014, supervised by Professor Paul Binski, and won scholarships from the Lightfoot, Ellen McArthur, and Ochs Trusts along with several other awards and prizes. He studied for his Master’s degree at the Courtauld Institute, and he was an undergraduate at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.  

Dr Byng is a Research Fellow at Clare Hall and Director of Studies in History of Art at Clare College. He is a trustee of the Mausolea and Monuments Trust and Caius House, and he has worked as a consultant for several architects’ practices and the National Trust.

Select publications and awards:


  • G Byng, ‘The Contract for the North Aisle at the Church of St James, Biddenham’, The Antiquaries Journal (2015).


  • Director's Prize for his dissertation on the liturgy of Exeter Cathedral at the Courtauld Institute
  • Winner of the Reginald Taylor and Lord Fletcher prize in 2013.