Giada Pizzoni

Supervisor: Dr Emma Hart

Thesis title: 'Economic and Financial Strategies of the British Catholic Community in the Age of Mercantilism, 1672-1781'



My thesis addresses and introduces the world of Catholic merchants. How they built-up their connections and how these connections created coherent trading zones. I approach their everyday activities and tactics and how they moved in the trading circuits of the British Empire. In Arundel Castle Archive, I have been studying the Aylwards’ papers, which are mainly the correspondence and accounts of John Aylward. He was a general import and export merchant and banker. His trade was with the West Indies, Spain, Italy, the Low Countries, France and  England. John was one of  the key representatives of catholic involvement in the British Empire, during the early eighteenth century.This evidence calls into question the extent to which the Catholic community was marginalised and highlights the dynamic nature of merchant and financial enterprises within the Empire.Therefore, I will offer a comprehensive study of their activities that will make a significant contribution to debates about the nature of the Atlantic World and the desire of scholars, who work in this field to move beyond the national borders that have tended to limit work to date. My project will contribute a clearer understanding of this branch of social and economic history of early modern Europe.

Previously my research interests have brought me to the Netherlands, where I studied the Dutch Catholic community during the Seventeenth Century. My Master dissertation has focused on the social conditions of this religious minority in the United Provinces, and their strategies of survival within the adverse Protestant scenario.
My interest on religious minorities has also seen a study about Protestants in Modern Italy. I studied the Roman Inquisition and its practices and attitudes towards dissenters.


  • ‘Diabolic Unions, Life and Marriage of Catholics in the United Provinces’, University of Newcastle, E- Journal, Discovery, Invention and Reinvention, February 2015.
  •  'A pass [...] is not denied to any Romanist' Strategies of the Catholic Merchant Community in the Early Atlantic World. Cultural and Social History Journal, November 2014.