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Barbara Yorke is Emeritus Professor of Early Medieval History. She gained her BA in History and Archaeology and her PhD from Exeter University. Since has been a member of the University of Winchester's History team since 1977, first as a Lecturer, then as a Reader.

An internationally recognised expert in Anglo-Saxon Winchester and Wessex,  and she will be one of the University experts joining Prof. Michael Wood for the event 'The Legacy of Alfred: the Anglo-Saxons and the birth of England', which will take place at the Winchester Discovery Centre on 12 Sept 2018. Find out more. She delivered a keynote lecture at the 2017 conference 'Winchester, a Medieval Royal City', hosted by the University (find out more), and played a key role in the high-profile project The Search for Alfred the Great, a collaboration between the University and Hyde900.

She has been a member of the Advisory Board of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists (2006-09); an advisor to the Leverhulme Trust-funded Anglo-Saxon Assemblies project (Director Prof. Andrew Reynolds, UCL 2009-12); a member of the Advisory Panel for the Staffordshire Hoard (2014-16) and an advisor to the Leverhulme Trust-funded Travel and Transport in Anglo-Saxon England project (Director Prof. Andrew Reynolds, UCL, 2015-18). She was guest curator of the exhibition ‘King Alfred: Warfare, Wealth and Wisdom’ at Winchester Discovery Centre (2008).

She is Honorary Professor at the Institute of Archaeology at University College London. 



Recent book chapters

  • ‘Historical background’, in Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: Derbyshire and Staffordshire, ed. Janes Hawkes and Philip Sidebotham (British Academy 2018)
  • Power and Place in Europe in the First Millennium AD, joint editor with Jayne Carroll and Andrew Reynolds (British Academy, 2019)
  • ‘Historical Context’ in Blackmore, L, Blair, I, Hirst, S, and Scull, C, in The Prittlewell princely burial: excavations at Priory Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, 2003, MOLA Monogr Ser, London, 2019
  • ‘Historical background’, in Dickinson, T, Fern, C and Webster, L (eds), The Staffordshire Hoard (Society of Antiquaries monograph, 2019)
  • ‘Cnut and Winchester’, in Aethelred iI and Cnut:: Papers from the Millenary Conference Commemorating the Siege of London 1016 , ed. R. North, A. Finlay, E. Goeres (Kalamazoo institute of Medieval Studies, Northern World series, 2019)


  • Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo-Saxon England (London, 1990)
  • Wessex in the Early Middle Ages (Leicester, 1995)
  • Nunneries and the Anglo-Saxon Royal Houses (London,2003)
  • The Conversion of Britain: Religion, Society and Politics 600-800 (Harlow, 2006)

Recent articles

  • ‘Anglo-Saxon Origin Legends’, in Myth, Rulership, Church and Charters. Essays in Honour of Nicholas Brooks, ed. J. Barrow and A. Wareham (Aldershot, 2008), 15-30
  • 'The Women in King Edgar’s Life’, in Edgar, King of the English, 959-975, ed. Donald Scragg, Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (Boydell, 2008), 143-57
  • 'Adomnán at the court of King Aldfrith’, in Adomnán of Iona. Theologian, Lawmaker,Peacemaker, ed. J. Wooding et al (Dublin, 2010), pp. 36-50
  • ‘The representation of early West Saxon history in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’, in Reading the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Language, Literature and History, ed. A. Jorgens (Turnhout 2010), pp. 141-60
  • ‘West Saxon fortifications in the ninth century: the perspective from the written sources’, in Landscapes of Defence in Early Medieval Europe, ed. J. Baker, S. Brookes and A. Reynolds (Turnhout 2013), 91-110
  • ‘The Burial of kings in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Kingship, Legislation and Power, ed. G. Owen-Crocker and B. Schneider (Woodbridge, 2013), 237-58
  • ‘The fate of otherworldly beings after the Anglo-Saxon conversion’, Dying Gods: Religious beliefs in northern and eastern Europe in the time of Christianisation, Neue Studien zur Sachsenforschung 5 (2015), 167-76
  • ‘Introduction: Churches and the Christianisation of Early Medieval Britain’, in Places or Worship in Britain and Ireland, 300-950, ed. P.S. Barnwell, Rewley House Studies in the Historic environment 4 (Shaun Tyas, Donnington, 2015), 1-14
  • ‘From Pagan to Christian in Anglo-Saxon England’, in The Introduction of Christianity into the Early Medieval Insular World: Converting the Isles I, ed. R. Flechner and M. Ní Mhaonaigh (Turnhout 2016), 237-58
  • ‘King Alfred and Weland: Tradition and Transformation at the Court of King Alfred’, in Transformation in Anglo-Saxon Culture. Toller Lectures on Art, Archaeology and Text, ed. C. Insley and G. R. Owen-Crocker (Oxbow books, Oxford, 2017), 47-70
  • ‘Queen Balthild’s ‘monastic policy’ and the origins of female religious houses in Anglo-Saxon England’, in Early Medieval Monasticism in the North Sea Zone. Proceedings of a Conference to Celebrate he Conclusion of the Lyminge Excavations 2008-15, ed. G. Thomas and A. Knox, Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 20 (Oxford 2017), 7-16

Major lectures since 2011

  • ‘King Alfred and Weland: tradition and transformation at the court of King Alfred’. Toller lecture. University of Manchester. 2011
  • ‘No history, only Biography’: recreating the past through the biography of people, places and things’. Annual Reuter lecture. University of Southampton. June 2013
  • ‘The fate of otherworldly beings after the conversion’. 64th Sachsensymposion, Paderborn. September 2013
  • ‘Gender and status in the early middle ages’. Keynote lecture, annual conference of the Society of Gender Studies. Winchester, January, 2014
  • ‘Edith and the royal house of Wessex’. Winchester und Magdeburg conference. Kulturhistorisches Museum, Magdeburg. 2014
  • ‘Mercia and Wessex c. 800: connections and comparisons’. Annual Brixworth lecture. Brixworth church. November 2015
  • ‘1016: the year of three kings’. Richard Rawlinson lecture. Kalamazoo International Medieval Congress. May 2016
  • ‘Cnut’s Winchester’, Æthelred II and Cnut: millenary conference commemorating the siege of London 1016, London and Winchester. July 2016
  • ‘Early medieval queens and Winchester’, Winchester: a nation emerges. Winchester October 2016
  • ‘Abbess Ælfflaed of Whitby and the role of women in the governance of early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms’. Women Status and Power in Medieval Society. Society of Medieval Archaeology annual conference. Lincoln June 2017
  • ‘Royal burial in Winchester: context and significance’. Keynote lecture. Winchester an Early Medieval Royal City. University of Winchester. July 2017
  • ‘The making of a kingdom: an introduction to the archaeology and history of Early Medieval Kent’. Keynote lecture. 68. Sachsensymposion. Canterbury September 2017
  • ‘Æthelflaed and Anglo-Saxon traditions of female royal power’. Keynote lecture. Æthelflaed 1100 conference. Tamworth July 2018
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