Image of fragment of Lincoln Cathedral lectionary
A Picture of a Fragment of Easter Readings from St John’s Gospel, a 9th century Lectionary, Lincoln Cathedral Dean & Chapter Archive, A/2/20/1

The Medieval Studies Research Group hosts regular seminars and other events, including conferences of national and international significance.

For examples of past seminars follow this link. For our current seminars, see below.

For examples of past conferences follow this link.



Medieval Studies Research Seminars for 2021-22

We are online, so please email Dr Renee Ward ( for details on how to register.


Monday 6 December 2021, 6pm (in collaboration with the Lincoln Branch of the Historical Association)

Dr Paul Webster (Cardiff University)

The Medieval Kings of England and the Ghost of Christmas Past: Kingship, the Cult of Thomas Becket and the Politics of Sanctity

This talk will be held online. To receive the details of the talk and join the online session, please complete this form.

Abstract: King Henry II was widely perceived as responsible for the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in December 1170. Faced with the immediate development of an immensely popular cult, the ruling family acted quickly to counteract any threat this presented to their authority, claiming St Thomas as their own. This lecture explores the interaction of successive generations of kings with the cult of St Thomas, examining their pilgrimages, gift-giving, marriages, and appeals to the saint in wartime, at Canterbury Cathedral and beyond. By the reign of Henry IV, this involved anointing with the so-called ‘holy oil’ of St Thomas, and royal burial in the shadow of the shrine. In engaging with the foremost cult in medieval England, the Plantagenet dynasty sought to use Canterbury’s martyr to project an image of royal authority backed by the divine.

Speaker biography: Dr Paul Webster is Lecturer at Cardiff University, where he co-ordinates the Exploring the Past adult learners’ pathway, a partnership between the Division of Continuing and Professional Education and the School of History, Archaeology and Religion. He teaches and researches medieval history, including kingship, piety and the cult of the saints.


Dr Kathryn Dutton (University of Leeds)

The Cartulary of Kirkstead Abbey: Interpreting Form, Function and Fortunes c.1259-1650

Abstract: This paper presents some key findings of recent AHRC-funded work to transcribe and ultimately edit the unpublished 13th-century cartulary of the Cistercian abbey of Kirkstead, Lincolnshire. Discussion will focus on the cartulary’s function, the reasons for its compilation and its context within the monastic archive, as well as briefly outlining what it reveals about the evolution of the abbey’s context in the local landscape, with particular reference to common rights, lordship and hunting. Consideration will also be given to new evidence for the cartulary’s life in the century or so between Kirkstead’s dissolution and the manuscript’s successive acquisitions by prominent antiquarian collectors, providing a rare insight into how such codices might form a part of legal and familial disputes in the early modern period.

Speaker biography: Dr Kathryn Dutton is based at the University of Leeds and is Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the AHRC-funded project Sacred Landscapes of Medieval Monasteries (Universities of Leeds and Wales Trinity St. David). She is part of a team of historians and archaeologists producing a new history of Kirkstead Abbey and is currently working on an edition of the abbey’s cartulary. Her background is in charter studies, specifically in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman and Angevin world, and she has produced a number of articles on the charters and rulership of the counts of Anjou. Her first monograph, Power and Political Culture in Greater Anjou, c.1090-1189, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. She held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the University of Manchester (2012-17) and has previously taught at the universities of Liverpool and Glasgow.

Monday 31 January 2022, 6pm (in collaboration with the Lincoln Branch of the Historical Association)

Dr Dean Irwin (Independent Scholar)

‘Neither a lender nor a borrower be’: Christian Debtors and Jewish Creditors in Thirteenth Century Lincolnshire

This talk will be held online. To receive the details of the talk and join the online session, please complete this form:

Abstract: In the early summer of 1266, a band of the Disinherited descended on Lincoln. There they, rather ambitiously, laid siege to the castle before heading downhill and attacking the town itself. One of their primary targets, we are told, was the chest which help the records of Christian indebtedness to Jewish creditors. They promptly removed those documents from the chest in which they were held, stomped them under foot and then, for good measure, burned them. This paper will explore the significance of that chest (and its replacement) and the documents it explored before turning to explore the identities of the debtors and the creditors named in them. As a result it will be possible to gain deeper insights into who borrowed money and from whom, as well as considering the business and social networks which bound debtors and creditors, and which brought the two communities together.

Speaker biography: Dr Dean Irwin completed his PhD at Canterbury Christ Church University in 2020, on a scholarship from the School of Humanities. His thesis, supervised by Professor Louise Wilkinson and Dr Leonie Hicks, analysed the records generated by Jewish moneylending activities in England between 1194 and 1275/6. He is now an independent researcher exploring many esoteric interests in medieval Anglo-Jewish history. He is also a member of the Jewish Historical Society of England’s advisory board and a board member of the MedievalJewishStudiesNow! blog. Dean has published a number of articles and chapters on the Anglo-Jewry, including “The materiality of debt to Jews in England, 1194-1276”, Jewish Historical Studies, 49 (2017), pp. 56-71, and “From Chirograph to Roll: The Records of Thirteenth-Century Anglo-Jewish Moneylending” in Ionut Epurescu-Pascovici (ed.), Administrative Accountability in the Later Middle Ages (Brepols, 2020).

Medieval Studies Research Seminars for 2020-2021

For a colourful summary (using SWAY) of the research seminars in semester A, please follow this link.

Tuesday 24th November 2020, 5.00-6.00pm

Mr John Sandy-Hindmarch (Lincoln)

‘Enacting the Memory of a Distant Past: Exploring Reenactors’ Perceptions of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings’.

(co-sponsored by the LSFM and LSEJ Research Groups)


Monday 11th January 2021, 5.30-6.30pm

Dr Marianne Wilson (York, TNA)

‘Peacock Feathers and Pater Nosters: The Post-Mortem Commemorative Identity of Sir Thomas Burgh (c. 1430-1496)’.

(co-sponsored by the Lincoln Record Society)


Monday 8th February 2021, 5.00pm-6.00pm

Professor Julia Bray (St John’s College, Oxford)

‘Medieval Arabic Emotions: Where We Are’.


Tuesday 13th April 2021, 1.00pm-2.00PM

Paul Murphy (Lincoln)

Roman Law and its Vernacularisation in Thirteenth Century Castile: From Dominium and Iuristicio to Señorío in The Legal Works of Alfonso X of Castilla y León (r.1254-1284)’.


Wednesday 21 April 2021, 6.00-7.00pm – Joint ANNUAL LECTURE with the Lincoln Record Society

Dr Alison McHardy (formerly Nottingham)

‘The Voice of the People? Petitions from Lincolnshire’.


Tuesday 18th May 2021, 1.00pm-2.00pm

Dr Jamie Wood (Lincoln)

‘Beyond the Pillars of Hercules: Byzantium and the Far West of Hispania in the Mid-Sixth Century’.