Research entered by the Department of History as part of the University’s 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission has been recognised as internationally significant. The submission comprised a variety of research projects by leading historical researchers, including work which has allowed important historic data from the fifteenth century, and beyond, to be available to the public online for the first time.
Emeritus Professor Michael Hicks and Senior Lecturer Dr James Ross have worked on The Mapping the Medieval Countryside project, in collaboration with King’s College London, to digitise the published inquisitions post mortem for 1236-1509 on British History Online. This means that the information up until now was only accessible in great libraries, has been made available worldwide free of charge.
In addition, Professor Hicks has written a dozen books on the War of the Roses and his biographies of fifteenth century royals, such as Richard III, Anne Neville and Edward V: The Prince in the Tower, have sold thousands of copies to the general public. Anne Neville revealed that Richard III never legalised his marriage to his sister-in-law and wanted to marry his niece next. Dr Ross works on the late medieval nobility, including his recently published book on John de Vere, Thirteenth Earl of Oxford, 1442-1513.
Other research submitted to the REF included that of researcher Dr Winifred Harwood, who has been working on the Overland Trade Project which shows the inland trade of Southampton between 1430-1530 – the only region for which this is possible before 1700.
Professor Hicks said: “Winchester’s historians have been rigorously trained and contribute to historical advances. It is wonderful to have the quality of our research acknowledged as world-leading, both through competitive Arts and Humanities Research Council grants, and now formally in the REF ratings. It will encourage us to build on these excellent results in the future.”
82 per cent of the University of Winchester’s research submitted to the REF were considered to be of quality that is ‘recognised internationally’ or better in terms of originality, significance and rigour. History performed particularly strongly in the REF, with 96 per cent of research considered internationally recognised.
The aim of the Research Excellence Framework is to benchmark the performance of universities and is used to allocate around £2 billion per year in future research funding.