The Medieval Studies Research Group is home to a growing community of research students and we are delighted to hear from prospective MPhil/PhD students who are interested in working on medieval and classical topics. These are some of our current students:
Thesis Topic: The impact of medievalism on the curation of castles in the 21st century
Lynsey Coombs is a part-time PhD student in the School of History and Heritage. She obtained her BA in History at Newcastle University in 2008 and her MA is Museum Studies at the University of Leicester in 2016. Lynsey has over 12 years’ experience as a heritage professional and has worked for a number of organisations including Chatsworth House, English Heritage and University of Cambridge Museums. She is currently a Collections and House Manager at the National Trust based in Norfolk.
Lynsey’s PhD thesis explores the impacts of medievalism on the presentation and reception of castles as heritage sites in England. Her research examines whether castles tell the stories of the Middle Ages through the lens of medievalism, and if they do, what impact this has on visitors’ understanding about the building’s history.
Thesis Topic: The earls and countesses of Surrey: the Warenne Family, 1248-1361
Katherine Delaney studied for her Master’s degree in Medieval History at King’s College, London, achieving a merit. Having taken her PGCE at Homerton College, Cambridge, she went on to teach primary aged children, becoming Acting Head of the Junior School at Northwood College for Girls. She has always had a passion for medieval history and is now studying with Professor Louise Wilkinson, researching the last two earls of Surrey for her MPhil / PhD.
Her thesis aims to look at the earls and countesses of Surrey, the Warenne family, from 1248 to 1361. Her research addresses these questions: what political power did the earls and countesses of Surrey enjoy at local and national levels and how did this alter over time; and how successfully did the earls and countesses of Surrey administer their estates and adapt to economic and social change.
Thesis Topic: Lincolnshire’s historical manors (PhD by Practice)
Bethany is a PhD student and an Associate Lecturer in the School of History and Heritage. She joined the University of Lincoln in 2019 to conduct research into Lincolnshire’s historical manors, as part of a PhD by Practice. In 2012, she completed a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, before completing an MSc in Forensic Investigation at Cranfield University in 2014. The use of archives for research during these studies led to her interest in the practice and she has since undertaken archival training at The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, specialising in Medieval Latin and palaeography, before completing an MA in Archive Administration at Aberystwyth University, to become a qualified archivist in 2017.
She began working on the Manorial Documents Register Project (MDR) with the National Archives in 2018. The project aims to aims to locate, revise and digitise a list of all the manorial documents for England and Wales. Having completed the project for Cheshire, she is now completing the same, for Lincolnshire as part of a PhD by Practice. Her research involves not only completing the project, but also reflecting on archival practice within a project of this scale; including the challenges of locating the records, using multiple archive catalogues and making the MDR user-friendly. In addition to this, as the MDR project is now nearing its thirtieth year and has been completed in all but three English counties, Bethany’s research analyses how the project could have been affected by advances in technology and user search methods during this timescale, as well as how the register will improve the understanding of manorial records in Lincolnshire.
Thesis Topic: Women of the lesser aristocracy and knightly class in thirteenth-century England
Rebecca Jarvis is a part-time PhD student who transferred from Canterbury Christ Church University alongside her supervisor Professor Louise Wilkinson in July 2020. She obtained a first-class degree in History with Archaeology from Canterbury Christ Church University in 2016. She then stayed on at Canterbury Christ Church to complete her MA by Research in History which she finished in 2018. Rebecca’s principal interests include the lives and role of aristocratic women during the thirteenth century.
Rebecca is now working on a doctoral thesis on ‘Women of the lesser aristocracy and knightly class in thirteenth-century England’. Rebecca’s research explores the place of women within the thirteenth-century aristocracy in two English counties, Kent and Lincolnshire. Rebecca’s thesis aims to uncover information about the lives and the experiences of women of the lesser aristocracy, a group who have been curiously neglected within existing scholarship. Her study considers how property rights affected the ability of women to exercise lordship and agency, during a turbulent period in English politics.
Nicola C. Meyrick
Thesis Topic: Continuity, martyrdom and assimilation: remaining Christian in Al-Andalus
Nicola studied for a BA in American History and Politics at Manchester, and then worked for many years at the BBC as a current affairs producer and editor. She took early retirement in 2015 and then did an MA in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at King’s College, London. She still has some involvement in journalism and is a trustee of a broadcasting charity. She has seen leaving the BBC as an opportunity to follow her lifelong passion for Spain and for medieval history. She is now researching a thesis, supervised by Dr Jamie Wood, on the lives and practices of Christians living in the parts of the Iberian peninsula under Muslim rule between (approximately) 711 and 1085.
Thesis Topic: Political thought in the thirteenth-century kingdom of Castile and León: the legal and historical works of Alfonso X (r.1252-1284)
Paul studied for a BA in History at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (2005), and a BA in Law at the University of Law, London (2007), before qualifying as a solicitor and then working as a teacher. Having worked as a senior leader in various schools, he stepped back to Head of History in order to pursue his PhD in Iberian Political Thought. Paul’s principal research interests include political theory and thought, medieval law, the intersection of law and education and 13th century Iberia.
He is currently working on a doctoral thesis under Dr Antonella Liuzzo-Scorpo and Dr Jamie Wood, focussing on political thought in the legal and historical works of Alfonso X of Castile and León (r.1252-1284). His work aims to trace the movement of ideas across linguistic, cultural and legal boundaries (particularly from the Italian Universities to Castile), to establish the nature of the vernacular political theories in the Alfonsine legal and historical corpus, and to better locate Castilian political thought within the broader trends found across Medieval Europe.
Thesis Topic: The Memory of the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings among Reenactors and Living Historians
John Sandy-Hindmarch is a PhD student in the School of Film and Media. Having achieved a 1st in History at Nottingham Trent University in 2016, he then went on to obtain an MA in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies from the University of Nottingham. Since completing his MA in 2018, John’s research interests have shifted from analysing these early medieval peoples in their historical context towards how they have been perceived and remembered since their historical occurrence, particularly in the present.
In this context, John’s PhD project explores how the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings are understood, received, and connected with by Anglo-Saxon and Viking reenactors and living historians. Employing a qualitative method, John looks to uncover the nature of these individuals’ understanding of the Anglo-Saxon and Viking past, how this understanding is formed, and the extent to which their connections to the period are emotionally charged. Through this research John hopes to make a valuable contribution to the fields of both medievalism and memory studies, exploring how a period of the distant medieval past is brought into relation with the present.
Thesis Topic: The Impact of Christian Philosophies of Animal Rationality on Ecclesiastical Hunting Practices in 13th Century England
Paula Del Val Vales
Thesis topic: Iberian and English queens’ households in the thirteenth century
Paula Del Val Vales is an MPhil/PhD student in the School of History and Heritage. She obtained her BA in History in the Universidad Complutense of Madrid with distinction in 2019. In 2020 she completed her MA in Medieval Studies at King’s College London. Her research interests include Iberian and English queenship, royal households, and women’s history.
She is currently working on her thesis supervised by Louise Wilkinson and Antonella Liuzzo. Her work aims to study comparatively queens’ households and courts in the thirteenth century across three kingdoms: Castile, Aragon, and England. Through this thesis she aims to explore the queens’ establishments, their resources and personnel, and whether their households constituted their own power bases or not. This thesis will also have a particular focus on the unedited household and wardrobe accounts of Eleanor of Provence, queen of England.
We also work closely with research students in Classics, who share similar interests in Latin culture:
Thesis topic: The epigrammist Martial as social commentator on Flavian Imperial Rome
Joe Broderick has recently started his PhD with the School of History and Heritage, following his graduation with a First-Class Honours Degree in History BA, and a Distinction Pass in his MA in Medieval Studies. He specialised in Roman and early to mid-medieval history, particularly the Roman army and their relationship with the emperors, and Anglo-Saxon England. His supervisors for his project are Dr Graham Barrett and Dr Jamie Wood, with Graham acting as lead supervisor.
His thesis concerns the first-century AD epigram writer Martial, and his potential role as social commentator. We can see through his work, in his presentation of the everyday life occurrences in the Rome of his day. Broadly speaking, this research project will aim to fill in some of the gaps in the social history of early imperial Rome through Martial’s Epigrams and analysis of the literary genre, giving us greater awareness of the picture of Rome and her people Martial sought to portray, within the framework of a social (and to an extent literary) history study. Many historians have pointed out that, due to the nature of Martial’s writing and the contradictions present within the Epigrams, his presentations of everyday life cannot be taken at face value. Some have even gone so far as to dismiss Martial as a source of any serious historical study, a chief reason for this selection of Martial for my thesis. This does not negate the value of the source for research, it just needs a more gentle and nuanced examination. It is arguable that Martial’s Epigrams offer richer and more varied depictions of Rome’s places, objects, and structures than any previous work in the Roman poetic tradition, and it is through these examinations the aims can be achieved.