Chris Toole

Chris Toole


I am an English Language and Literature graduate from Oxford University who has pursued an interest in Modern History outside my professional career in the worlds of financial services and education.

I have studied at various evening classes and day schools, including obtaining a Certificate in Local History at the Centre for Continuing Education at Leeds University. I atttended regular seminars at the equivalent Centre for Lifelong Learning at Bradford University. 

I am an active member of Halifax Antiquarian Society and have published several book reviews in their annual Transactions series, attended many of their day schools on various local historical themes and have given a lecture at one of their meetings. I am also a member of the Halifax Civic Trust, which is engaged in conserving the built environment in Calderdale.

I obtained an MA in Modern History from Leeds University in 2018. My thesis title was ‘Paternalism in Mid-Nineteenth Century Halifax: An Examination of the Akroyd and Crossley Families’ Impact on the Town.’ This covered the motivation behind the paternalism, the contemporary reaction by recipients and commentators and the continuing legacy for Halifax.

Research interests

My current research centres on the life of Rev. Oliver Heywood (1630–1702), who was a Nonconformist minister based in the parish of Coley between Halifax and Bradford. The primary source is the collection of his diaries, notebooks, sermons and treatises which were collated and published in the early 19th century. The research aims include an examination of how far religious legislation was adhered to in the provinces and the related question of the relationship between the state and the individual over religious matters in the Restoration period. Using the methodology of local history and the specific experience of Heywood, the research will analyse the sustained campaign of civil disobedience by the Nonconformists who were ejected from their parishes by the Act of Uniformity of 1662 and also the authorities’ responses. It will seek to establish the networks of support that the ‘ejected ministers’ enjoyed from three constituencies: their congregations or religious societies, their fellow clergy across various denominations and elements of the local gentry, all of which allowed them to continue their mission.


  • BA (Hons) English Language and Literature (Oxon.)
  • MA English Language and Literature (Oxon.)
  • MA Modern History (Leeds)
  • PGCE - Secondary Education (Bradford)