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Biography

I joined the department in September 2011 as a Lecturer in Medieval British History. I did my undergraduate and masters degrees in Oxford (2004, 2005) and completed my doctorate there in 2009 under the supervision of Professor Richard Sharpe and Dr John Maddicott. I then held a research fellowship at King’s College Cambridge until 2011.

Between 2014 and 2017, I was Co-Investigator on the AHRC project ‘Models of Authority: Scottish Charters and the Emergence of Government, 1100-1250’, and, between 2017 and 2020, am Principal Investigator of the AHRC project ‘The community of the realm in Scotland, 1249-1424: history, law and charters in a recreated kingdom’. I have been a member of the editorial board of Past & Present since 2017, won the Royal Historical Society’s Whitfield Prize for my first book (published in 2016), and am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Medieval states and government (Europe, 11-13th centuries)
  • Law and legal norms
  • Feudalism and lordship
  • Medieval Scotland, 11-15th centuries, particularly its law.

I am currently researching and writing a comparative history of European states and governments in the long twelfth century. My previous research focussed on the form of the medieval state in Scotland, particularly on uncovering its early legal tradition from its later medieval manuscript tradition.

I would be interested in PhD proposals from students wishing to work in any of the above areas. I am currently or have previously supervised students on medieval cartularies, communal law enforcement, universal chronicles and the letters of medieval queens.

Teaching

I teach modules at levels of the undergraduate course, from survey lectures on aspects of medieval British history, to the cultural and social history of the aristocracy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, to a module which uses anthropological and sociological work to understand the medieval past.

Expertise and public engagement

I co-convene the Earlier Middle Ages seminar and the European History Seminar, 1150-1500 seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, London. I also co-host the podcast Medieval History for Fun and Profit with my colleague, Alice Rio, a fortnightly show where we attempt to answer questions from members of the public on anything they would like to know about the Middle Ages. I also have contributed to the Times Literary Supplement and have appeared on BBC Radio 4’s History of Ideas Series and the long-running radio programme, Making History.