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Dr Alice Taylor

Dr Alice Taylor

Lecturer in Medieval History

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7261 
Address Department of History
King’s College London
C5, East Wing
London WC2R 2LS


Alice Taylor joined the department in September 2011 as a Lecturer in Medieval British History. She did her undergraduate and masters degrees in Oxford (2004, 2005) and completed her doctorate in 2009, also at Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Richard Sharpe and Dr John Maddicott. Between 2008 and 2011, she held a Research Fellowship at King's College, Cambridge, where she was also Equal Opportunities Tutor.

Research interests and PhD supervision
  • Law and legal compilations
  • Medieval Scotland
  • Social rituals and hierarchy, particularly homage
  • Medieval states and governments

Dr Taylor’s current research focuses on communality as a key part of medieval law and law enforcement.  She is examining the written legal traditions of the British Isles from the seventh to the thirteenth centuries to see how the logic of communal duty – as opposed one of rights, wrongs and exchange – was worked out in written law, encompassing a whole host of actions and practices that we would now class as crimes, punishments and compensatory fines. Her past research used the untapped evidence of early Scottish law to rewrite the history of the state in Scotland during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. She has also worked on the early Scottish chronicle tradition.

Her wider research project is on homage, the major performative ritual of the Middle Ages. This was the ritual that cemented hierarchical relations, whether in the world of law and property rights, lord-peasant relations, or, even, diplomacy between kings. Yet it was a restrictive ritual: only certain people (mainly men) could do homage in particular circumstances. This project will be a comparative one across Europe and will use many different types of evidence, both written and visual.

Dr Taylor is happy to receive PhD proposals on:

  •  Medieval Scotland, 1100–1330
  • Chronicle writing in medieval Britain, 1100–1300
  • Medieval law
  • Feudalism and the feudal revolution
 For more details, please see her full research profile.
Selected publications
  • Alice Taylor, The Shape of the State in Medieval Scotland (Oxford: Oxford University Press), forthcoming.
  • Alice Taylor (forthcoming), ‘Lex Scripta and the Problem of Enforcement: Welsh, Scottish and Anglo-Saxon Law Compared’, in Judith Scheele and Fernanda Pirie ed., Legalism: Volume 2: Justice and Community
  •  Alice Taylor (2013), ‘Homo Ligius and Unfreedom in Medieval Scotland’, in M.H. Hammond ed., New Perspectives on Medieval Scotland (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer)
  •  Alice Taylor (2012), ‘The Assizes of David I, king of Scots, 1124–53’, Scottish Historical Review 91:232, pp. 197–238   
  • Alice Taylor (2011), ‘Common Burdens in the Regnum Scottorum: the evidence of charter diplomatic’, in D. Broun ed., The Reality behind Charter Diplomatic in Anglo-Norman Britain: Studies by Dauvit Broun, John Reuben Davies, Richard Sharpe and Alice Taylor (Glasgow: Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies), pp. 166–234.
For a complete list of publications, please see Alice's full research profile.
Expertise and public engagement

Alice Taylor co-convenes the Earlier Middle Ages Seminar and the European History Seminar 1100-1500 at the Institute of Historical Research. She also sits on the International Advisory Group for the AHRC-funded project, 'The Breaking of Britain', led by the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and King's and is a trustee for the Society for Scottish Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Alice also jointly runs 'History and Anthropology', with an anthropologist, Dr Anastasia Piliavsky. This is a research seminar series, held at King's College, Cambridge, and part funded by the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH).


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