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Chris read Modern History at Merton College, Oxford, and completed a DPhil there in 1985 on the effects of the Norman Conquest on the Welsh Marches. From 1982 to 2009 he was on the staff of the Victoria History of the Counties of England (VCH), successively in the Central Office at the Institute of Historical Research (working mainly on Cambridgeshire), as county editor for Cheshire at the University of Liverpool, and as county editor for Sussex. He was Director of the annual Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies 2005–2010, and remains a member of the programming committee of the Leeds International Medieval Congress and a council member of the Haskins Society for Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Anglo-Norman, and Angevin History.

Research interests

Chris is working with Stephen Baxter and Duncan Probert on the Leverhulme-funded Profile of a Doomed Elite: The Structure of England Landed Society in 1066

Besides his work on English and Welsh history in the Central Middle Ages (900–1200), his current interests include the history of English local history in the earlier 20th century, and the social history of naming (specifically house names of the 1920s and 1930s).

Selected publications


‘Edgar, Chester, and the kingdom of the Mercians, 957–9’, Edgar, King of the English 959–975: New Interpretations, ed. Donald Scragg (Woodbridge, 2008), 104–23

‘Welsh territories and Welsh identities in late Anglo-Saxon England’, Britons in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Nick Higham (Woodbridge, 2007), 129–43

‘Companions of the Conqueror’, group article in online Oxford DNB (May 2007)

‘Gruffudd ap Cynan and the reality and representation of exile’, Exile in the Middle Ages, ed. Laura Napran and Elisabeth van Houts (Turnhout, 2004), 39–51

‘Joining the Dots: a methodology for identifying the English in Domesday Book’, Family Trees and the Roots of Politics: The Prosopography of Britain and France from the Tenth to the Twelfth Century, ed. K. S. B. Keats-Rohan (Woodbridge, 1997), 69–87

‘Gruffudd ap Cynan and the Normans’, Gruffudd ap Cynan: A Collaborative Biography, ed. K. L. Maund (Woodbridge, 1996), 61–77

‘The French in England before the Norman Conquest’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 17 (1994), 123–44

‘The Domesday jurors’, Haskins Society Journal, 5 (1993), 17–44

‘The formation of the honor of Chester, 1066–1100’, Journal of the Chester Archaeological Society, 71 (1991), 37–68

‘The early earls of Norman England’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 13 (1990), 207–23

‘The earldom of Surrey and the date of Domesday Book’, Historical Research, 63 (1990), 329–36

‘The king and Eye: a study in Anglo-Norman politics’, English Historical Review, 104 (1989), 569–89

English Local History

‘William Page (1861–1934), general editor of the Victoria County History 1902–34’, Making History: The Changing Face of the Profession in Britain (released Nov. 2008) <>

A History of Kirtling and Upend: Landowners and People in a Cambridgeshire Parish, 1000–2000 (Wallasey, 2000)

‘The architect of the Chester Infirmary of 1761’, Cheshire History, 34 (Autumn 1994), 25–7

(ed., with C. R. J. Currie) English County Histories: A Guide (Stroud, 1994); chapter on ‘Huntingdonshire’, ibid. 196–207

‘John Chapman’s maps of Newmarket’, Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 80 (1991), 68–78

Particular Places: An Introduction to English Local History (London, 1989)

Parish histories and other sections in VCH Cambridgeshire, 9 (1989) and 10 (2002); VCH Cheshire, 5: City of Chester (2 vols, 2003–5); VCH Sussex, 5, Part 2 (2010)


Anglo-Norman Studies, 28–33 (2005–10)

Haskins Society Journal: Studies in Medieval History, 7–9 (1995–7)

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 139–49 (1990–2000)


Critical review of publications on British and Irish history 900–1200 for Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature since 1994