The Viney Agency


David AmbroseDr. Miranda Kaufmann read History at Christ Church, Oxford, where she completed her doctorate on ‘Africans in Britain, 1500-1640’, and where she also won two Blues for rugby.  She has published articles in journals such as Historical Research and Notes & Queries as well as contributing to reference works on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (OUP) the Oxford Companion to Black British History (OUP), and the Encyclopaedia of Blacks in European History and Culture (Greenwood).

She combines impeccable academic credentials with a passion for popularizing her subject and has written for The Times, the Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement, History Today and BBC History Magazine. Miranda Kaufmann has a growing reputation as a public historian. Her expert commentary has been sought by media outlets including The Observer, Sky News, the BBC and Al Jazeera. She has presented her work at the British Library, The National Archives and the Department for Education, as well as to various universities, schools, local history groups, libraries and conferences from Hull to Jamaica. She also enjoys sharing her work via her website,  her blog, and on Twitter. 

Her first book, Black Tudors , exploring black culture in 16th century England was published by Oneworld in 2017. It was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize and Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize. TV rights have been optioned by Silverprint Pictures who are now developing the drama series 'Southwark' with BritBox.

Her next book, Heiresses - The Caribbean Marriage Trade was contracted to Oneworld in 2018.

Praise for Black Tudors.


‘In a work of brilliant sleuthing, engagingly written, Kaufmann reclaims long-forgotten lives and fundamentally challenges our preconceptions of Tudor and Jacobean attitudes to race and slavery.'  

-John Guy, bestselling author of Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years


‘This is history on the cutting edge of archival research, but accessibly written and alive with human details and warmth. Black Tudors is a critical book that allows us to better understand an era that fascinates us like no other.'  
-David Olusoga, author of Black and British: A Forgotten History

‘Miranda Kaufmann has written a superb antidote both to the clichés of Tudor history and to the assumption that Black migration to Britain began with the Windrush. Her vivid portrait of black Tudor lives sweeps readers around the world in the company of Diego, manservant to Sir Francis Drake, and back to the life of single woman Cattelena in the Gloucestershire countryside. Grounded in precise and detailed historical research, Black Tudors promises to change perceptions of a period at the heart of Britain's national identity.'
- Catherine Fletcher, author of The Black Prince of Florence

‘A brilliant example of how to use the most detailed kind of archival data to present a broadly accessible picture of the past, and one which has enormous relevance to the present controversies about immigration and diversity.'
- Paul Kaplan

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In 1596 the future Governor of Newfoundland was publicly whipped by the African servant of an English gentleman. This scene, which took place in the hall of Sir Edward Wynter’s Gloucestershire manor, is a striking contradiction to everything we thought we knew about the position of Africans in the Renaissance world. Not only was Edward Swarthye (alias ‘nigro’) the one wielding the whip, he gave evidence in the ensuing court case, which demonstrates that the state recognised him as a free man. Swarthye was just one of hundreds of Africans living in England during the long Tudor century. Black Tudors tells their story for the first time.

They came to this island from Africa, from Europe and from the Spanish Caribbean. They came with privateers, pirates, merchants, aristocrats, even kings and queens and were accepted into Tudor society. They were baptised, married and buried by the Church of England and paid wages like other ordinary Tudors. However, their experience was extraordinary because, unlike the majority of Africans across the rest of the Atlantic world, in England they were free. They lived in a world where skin colour was less important than religion or class: before the English became heavily involved in the slave trade, and before they founded their first surviving colony in the Americas. Their story challenges the traditional narrative that racial slavery was inevitable, imported to colonial Virginia from Tudor England, and forces us to re-examine the 17th century to find out what caused perceptions to change so radically.

Black Tudors
will tell the story of some key characters and uses their lives to explore questions such as how they got here, what they did and how they were treated. Based on pioneering research that has uncovered previously unknown documentary evidence of over 360 Africans living in Britain between 1500 and 1640, Black Tudors will bring these records to life in an accessible and hugely engaging way.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Black Tudors, Oneworld, 2017.