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Franciscan Studies

Working with a number of Franciscan partners since 2019, the CCS is establishing a growing programme in Franciscan Studies that builds on existing strengths across the Department. These range from the medieval Franciscan intellectual tradition, and Franciscan spirituality, through to contemporary Franciscan perspectives on Catholic Social Thought and Practice.

The CCS represents a viable permanent home for the future of Franciscan Studies in the English-speaking world and beyond. We are fundraising to endow a professorial post as the foundation stone of a permanent and growing presence for Franciscan Studies at Durham University, providing the intellectual leadership to deliver quality research, outreach and impact. This will build on the success of the international conferences, scholarships, postdoctoral fellowships, online summer school and Distance Learning Programme. We aim to make a first appointment to the St Clare Chair for the 2024/25 academic year as the crucial next step and formal inauguration of a long-term programme in Franciscan Studies.

Capuchin Fellowship in the History of Catholicism


Since 2021 Dr Liam Temple has held the position of ‘Capuchin Fellow’ at the Centre for Catholic Studies, a position which has been made possible through the generous support of the Capuchin Delegation of Great Britain. Trained as a historian of religion, Liam’s project explores the history of the Capuchins in Britain from the early modern period through to the present day. Through this, he has also developed his wider interests in the Franciscan tradition and the history of the Franciscans more generally. 


The first major output of Liam’s research is a solo authored monograph under contract with Bloomsbury with the working title Radical Poverty: The Capuchins and Catholicism in Britain, 1850-2021. The book draws on a range of international archives to support its findings and recovers the important influence of the Capuchins on Catholicism in Britain in the past two centuries. It is due to be published in 2026.

A second solo-authored monograph, tentatively entitled The Capuchins, Transnational Catholicism and Britain, 1580 1700, is currently undergoing peer-review with a leading academic press.

To mark the 800th anniversary of the arrival of the first Franciscans in England in 1224, Liam has contributed to a peer-reviewed edited collection with a chapter entitled ‘The revival of the Franciscans in England and the centenary celebrations of 1924’. The collection is due to be published with ‘Franciscan Publishing’ in 2024.

Liam wrote an article for the 150th anniversary of the English Province of Capuchins for The Tablet entitled ‘In the Footsteps of Francis’. The article can be read here.

To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Capuchins in 2028, he has contributed a chapter on the history of the Capuchins in Britain and Ireland for a forthcoming edited collection provisionally entitled Ordo semper reformandus: I Frati Minori Cappuccini dal passato verso il futuro. The volume will be published in both Italian and English.

Liam has also recently worked with Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, Preacher to the Papal Household, on the English edition of his papal sermons, to be published in 2024 as Faith, Hope, and Charity.

He was the co-editor of Volume II of The Oxford History of British and Irish Catholicism with Professor John Morrill (Cambridge), which was published in 2023.

Research impact

Liam has delivered papers on the Capuchins at a range of international conferences and workshops in France, Switzerland, and Finland, as well as at major conferences in the UK. In May 2024 he was invited to be a Visiting Scholar at Tampere University, Finland, and delivered a public lecture on the mysticism and legacy of the English Capuchin Benet of Canfield.

Photo: Dr Temple speaking at the international conference ‘Popery, Politics and Prayer: British and Irish Catholicism’ held at Durham, for which he was also conference secretary.

Liam has delivered several talks for the Capuchin Delegation of Great Britain at various meetings and as part of their ‘ongoing formation’ programme. He spoke at the first chapter of the Irish Province of Capuchins to include the Delegation of Great Britain in 2022 on the topic of ‘Irish and English Capuchins: A Historic Relationship’. In 2024 he contributed on-going formation material on the topic of ‘The English Province: A periphery or something more?’. He has visited each Capuchin fraternity in England and discussed his research informally with all the friars, welcoming their input and perspective on his ongoing work.

He has also delivered a number of papers to a wider public audience, including the North East Catholic History Society and several via Zoom including the CCS’s own ‘Hidden Histories’ event.

Dr William Crozier's Leverhulme Fellowship

Billy Crozier and Bonaventure

Read more about Dr Billy Crozier's Leverhulme post-doctoral fellowship in Franciscan theology, held at the CCS at Durham University.

In the Footsteps of Francis

Liam Temple Tablet article photo-crop

You can read Liam Temple's article In the Footsteps of Francis, which was published in The Tablet on the 29th July 2023.

Distance Learning

Our Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma in Catholic Theology include a module on High Medieval Franciscan Theology.

View our available distance learning options here.

Second Franciscan Studies Conference: Retrieval and Innovation – 12th-14th March 2024

The second international Franciscan studies conference organised by Durham University will focus on the theme of retrieval and innovation in the Franciscan tradition.


  • Capuchin Franciscans of Great Britain
  • Capuchin Franciscans of Ireland
  • Capuchin Franciscans of Australia
  • Capuchin Province of St. Augustine
  • The Community of St Francis
  • The Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood
  • Society of St Francis

You can download the conference programme here: Franciscan Tradition conference delegates' booklet

Listen to the keynote papers at the links below

Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ (Franciscan School of Theology, University of San Diego): Reading Scotus today: Franciscan foundations for a renewed Christian humanism.

Giuseppe Buffon, OFM (Pontifical Antonianum University): A rule that saves? The Capuchin response to the institutional crisis.

Margaret Carney, OSF (St Bonaventure University): The Third Order Rule of 1982: Discovery, Disruption and Renewed Dedication.

The Franciscan Legacy from the 13th Century to the 21st 5th-7th November 2019

The conference was held with generous support from the Franciscan families of the UK and Ireland. Around 200 religious, academics, students, and lay people attended for an intellectually and spiritually lively three days, discussing the continuing significance of St Francis and Franciscan traditions of theology, spirituality, and action.
One of the many themes of the conference was interfaith encounter and ecumenism, honouring as it did the 800th anniversary of St Francis’ meeting with Sultan Malek Al-Kamil.


Discover the archive recordings and papers from the 2019 Franciscan Studies Conference at this page.

Franciscan Studies Summer School - 2021

View the available materials from the first online Franciscan Studies Summer School, held in May 2021. It was created to build on the momentum from the 2019 conference, and to share the riches and significance of Franciscan theology with both lay and religious.

St Francis' Friary

Visit the website of St Francis' Friary, based at the Parish of the Durham Martyrs, where four Franciscan Friars are currently in residence.