Our medieval experts
From the Late Classical period in the Mediterranean and Anglo-Saxon Britain to the Renaissance, our medievalists are leading specialists in their fields. Emeritus Professor Michael Hicks is the nation's foremost expert on Richard III, 'the king under the car park'. Dr Ellie Woodacre specialises in kingship and gender and runs the Royal Studies Network, while Dr Robert Houghton investigates representations of the Middle Ages in modern media. Dr James Ross focusses on the nobility and gentry in England from the late 14th to the early 16th century.
Dr Ryan Lavelle (photo, being interviewed for BBC Radio 4) is an expert on King Alfred and Anglo-Saxon warfare. He has recently been acting as a historical advisor for the BBC2 hit series The Last Kingdom, the dramatisation of Bernard Cornwell's best-selling books about the life of King Alfred and the birth of England as a nation. Dr Lavelle also works with Romsey Local History Society on their Anglo-Saxon Project, alongside Archaeology lecturer Nathalie Barrett.
History academics also work closely with colleagues from other departments such as from the Department of Theology, Religion & Philosophy (TRP)
(e.g. Medieval Jewish Winchester, see below), as well as with local,
regional and national organisations (e.g. Winchester Cathedral, see Partnerships & Links). Medieval expertise also exists in the Faculty of Arts, such as Dr Carolin Esser-Miles, who specialises in the history of the English language and medieval drama, and Dr Eric Lacey,
an expert in Old and Middle English who is currently working on the
formation of the scientific tradition in Middle English, and the
development of falconry in early and high medieval Europe.
Thursday 27 April: Medieval Research Day 2017
This year, medieval experts across the University are once again delighted to present their research during the annual Research and Engagement Week.
21 Feb 2017: Death, sin and purgatory in late medieval England
A talk by Dr Christina Welch, Senior Fellow in Theology and Religious Studies. Dr Welch will explore the concepts of purgatory and indulengences and what these meant for late medieval people. Winchester Cathedral, 12.00.
We are delighted to announce the following new publications:
Cindy Wood Studying late medieval history – a thematic approach. (Routledge 2016)
Carey Fleiner and Ellie Woodacre (Eds) Virtuous or Villainess? The image of the Royal Mother from the early medieval to the Early Modern era (Palgrave Queenship and Power Series 2016)
Recent funding awards
Dr James Ross was awarded nearly £300,000 by the Leverhulme Trust for the project Kingship, court and society: the Chamber Books of Henry VII and Henry VIII, which aims to publish a major reappraisal of early Tudor kingship and the culture of the court (see below for more information or read the press release).
Dr Carolin Esser-Miles was awarded £30,000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the project The Siege of London, Aethelred II and Cnut. For more information on this project, see below.
Medieval Research Day 2016
Following the success of the 2015 Medieval Research Day (see link in right-hand column), in 2016 our medieval specialists once again presented their work during the
University's annual Research and Engagement Week, at the end of April (find out more).
The Siege of London, Aethelred II and Cnut
This project, an AHRC-funded collaboration between Dr Carolin Esser-Miles from the University of Winchester, University College London, Birkbeck College in London and the Hampshire Cultural Trust, arose from the millennial anniversary of King Cnut’s ascendancy to the English throne. In 1016, following numerous sieges of London and an agreement with the English political elite, Cnut (image, from a medieval manuscript) became the ruler of an empire that spanned Denmark, England and Norway. He made the royal city of Winchester central to his rule and today his bones rest in a casket at Winchester Cathedral.
“As the University of Winchester has substantial expertise in the Viking and Anglo-Saxon period, the Old English language and the history of Winchester, we are the ideal partner in this exciting collaboration”, said Dr Esser-Miles. The project team, which also includes Dr Ryan Lavelle and Dr Eric Lacey, is currently working on a digital exhibition and local projects with Hampshire Cultural Trust and Winchester City Council (the Royal Winchester Project).
Kingship, court and society: the Chamber Books of Henry VII and Henry VIII
The expense and receipt books of the King's Chamber are the single most important source for understanding both the public rule (kingship, government and state finance, including the infamous bonds and recognisances) and the private life (material culture, alms-giving, and the rhythms of daily life at court) of Henry VII and Henry VIII up to 1521. Historians have long used the Chamber Books, but never systematically, as a result of their bulk (over 4000 mansucript pages) and their organisation, which is mainly into daily entries, and they have never before been published. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Dr James Ross, this project, which started in Sept. 2016, will provide a freely accessible digital edition, fully searchable and manipulable. Based on this resource, the project team will publish a major reappraisal of early Tudor kingship and the culture of the court.
The Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology, founded in
2004, encourages and coordinates research within the Wessex region
(defined as the historic counties of Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire).
It covers the regional past from prehistory to date, with a particular
focus on the medieval period.
interdisciplinary project in which academics from across the Faculty of
Humanities and Social Sciences are working closely with Winchester City
Council to rediscover Winchester's forgotten Jewish history and
heritage. (Image: medieval portrait of a Jew in the Holy
Sepulchre Chapel of Winchester Cathedral. Photo Christina Welch)
The Overland Trade Project presents data from brokage books from the
period 1430 - 1540 in a fully searchable and interactive database,
linked to a mapping system originally developed by the GeoData
Institute. In spring 2015, this culminated in the long-awaited publication of the volume English Inland Trade 1430 - 1540: Southampton and its region (Oxbow, 2015), edited by Michael Hicks. The book was formally launched on 17 June 2015.
Post Mortem (IPMs) are important sources of information for the social
and economic history of medieval England. The IPM Project aims to make
all the surviving IPMs from 1236 to 1447 and from 1485 to 1509 freely
available online in fully searchable texts. (Image: an example of an IPM
Winchester Seminars on Comparative Medieval Cultures
Launched in 2012, the Winchester Seminars on Comparative Medieval Cultures series seeks to foster greater dialogue in a broad range of medieval researchers. Sessions generally consist of two speakers, followed by a Q&A. For more information, contact Alexandra Kendell in the Archaeology Department.
Many of our experts have published groundbreaking works, such as Ryan Lavelle's award-winning Alfred's Wars, Michael Hicks's seminal The Wars of the Roses and medieval archaeologist Simon Roffey's The medieval chantry chapel. An archaeology. Find out more:
PhD students with a focus on the medieval period can be found right across the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences: