Between Captives and Consuls: Searching for the ‘Little English’ of Barbary


  • Nat Cutter


In the early modern period, many Britons freely took up residence in the Islamic world, in search of wealth, freedom or self-actualisation. However, little is known about these people and their lives, beyond incidental mentions in other sources. Drawing on little-known correspondence from the English consulate in late seventeenth century Tunis, this lecture traces the lives of servant apprentice William Newark, renegade translator Hassan Agha, and housekeeper-turned-merchant Edith Stedham to shed light on the everyday lives of these non-elite expatriates. In the spirit of Greg Dening, I hope to allow the ‘little people’ of the past to speak for themselves.

The following is the written version of the paper presented by Nat Cutter at the annual Greg Dening Memorial Lecture held at the Forum Lecture Theatre, University of Melbourne, 15 October 2019.






The 2019 Greg Dening Memorial Lecture: Listening Across Boundaries