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Lyn Boothman BA MSt PhD

Lyn Boothman BA MSt PhD

Affiliated Researcher, Faculty of History

I work on issues of stability, mobility and kinship in the English past. My doctoral research used extensive records relating to Long Melford in Suffolk to investigate the 'stayers' or the immobile in the local population from the early modern period to 1861.



  • 1970- 2007 Work in careers advice and information management
  • 2008-13 PhD student, part time, supervised by Professor Richard Smith
  • 2014 to date Affiliated researcher with the Cambridge Group


  • PhD Geography, University of Cambridge, 2013
  • MSt English Local History, University of Cambridge, 1996
  • BA (Hons) Sociology, University of Nottingham, 1969


My interests centre on issues of population and kin linkage; how the stability/immobility of some individuals and families relates to high levels of population mobility in the past. I have developed a database of materials relating to the population of Long Melford, Suffolk, with a population reconstruction based on records from many sources.

My MSt research used a series of listings of the Melford population in the 1670s-80s which, combined with the population reconstruction, allowed detailed analysis of population stability and movement. This included identifying certain parts of the parish where most families were long-established and had close kin in the local area, and others where most inhabitants were new to the parish, and poor. Levels of kinship identified were significantly higher than in some other studies from the early-modern period.

My doctoral research measured stability in two ways: in terms of the number of generations the ancestors of an individual have been in Melford and also in terms of the proportion of couples remaining, as adults, for at least 30 years.

My doctoral research concentrated on 1661-1861. It centred on these topics:

  • Levels of stability (measured in several ways) across two hundred years, and the social status of the stable families
  • Inter-generational continuity – long-established families and their social characteristics
  • Kinship links – the extent of kin links amongst the more stable families
  • Residential location – do the patterns identified for the seventeenth century persist?
  • Immobility and the elite - office holders, their levels of stability, social status and kin links
  • Immobility and the poor – the relationship between poverty, kin links and intergenerational continuity


  • Studying the Stayers: kinship and social status in Long Melford, Suffolk 1661-1861, Local Population Studies, Autumn 2018 (forthcoming).
  • Studying the Stayers: the Stable Population of Long Melford, Suffolk, over Two Hundred Years, Local Population Studies No. 95, Autumn 2015 pp. 9-28.
  • Boothman, L. and Hyde Parker, R. Savage Fortune: an aristocratic family in the early seventeenth century, Suffolk Records Society, Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2006
  • Boothman, L. The Plague of 1604 in Long Melford in 'Long Melford the last 2000 Years', Long Melford Historical and Archaeological Society, 2000
  • Boothman, L. 'Sitting in Church, 1774' in 'Long Melford the last 2000 Years', Long Melford Historical and Archaeological Society, 2000
  • Boothman, L. 'Mobility and stability in Long Melford, Suffolk, in the late seventeenth century'. Local Population Studies, 62 (1999), 31-51.
  • Boothman, L. 'On the accuracy of a late sixteenth-century parish register'. Local Population Studies, 49 (1992), 62-67.