The GCMS draws in expertise from many parts of the university. We have members who work in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Henley Business School and the Faculty of Social Sciences. We represent the Departments of Archaeology, Classics, Economics, English, French, History, History of Art, and Italian. In addition, we have several occasional lecturers and a number of visiting lecturers and Fellows. As a self-governing centre within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, its Director is drawn from its contributing departments on a three-yearly basis, and a Board of Studies of its entire teaching staff administers it.
The GCMS publishes its own interdisciplinary journal, Reading Medieval Studies. Members of the GCMS also contribute to the editorship and content of specialist journals such as The Italianist. In addition, proceedings from conferences organised by postgraduate GCMS students have been published in The Reading Medievalist.
Two databases are housed in the Henley Business School both the work of Adrian Bell. Both have been featured in the media recently, and have been used by GCMS MA students as key resources for their dissertations:
The University Library located on the Whiteknights campus has particularly rich collections in all aspects of medieval studies. It also houses various specialist libraries of value to medievalists (now located a short distance away from Whiteknights):
The Overstone Collection of antiquarian and rare books:
The Stenton Library is based upon the personal libraries of Sir Frank and Lady Doris Stenton who established Reading's reputation for medieval studies.
The Stenton Coin Collection, which is particularly strong in Anglo-Saxon and medieval English coins.
There is also a research library for agricultural and landscape history in the Museum of English Rural Life.
The GCMS has its own seminar room within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities for teaching and private study, equipped with a computer, a laser printer and a small reference library. State-of-the art IT facilities are also available to GCMS students in the Main Library (Whiteknights) and in dedicated postgraduate computer rooms such as those in the university's Graduate School, which is located near the HUMSS building, in Old Whiteknights House.
The Town and University of Reading
Reading is the major town in the Thames Valley to the west of London. It enjoys excellent communications by road and rail with London, Heathrow Airport, Oxford, Wales and the South West, being close to the M4, M25, M40 and forming the hub of several rail networks.
Near the town centre are the ruins of Reading Abbey, which was founded by King Henry I in 1121 and which became one of the most important and richest religious houses in England. See the website of the Friends of Reading Abbey:
Reading Museum (housed in the fine Victorian Town Hall) has on show the unique nineteenth-century embroidered facsimile of the Bayeux Tapestry as well as artefacts and Romanesque sculpture from the Abbey and a display concerning the nearby deserted Roman town of Silchester:
Students with an interest in local history are encouraged to use the Berkshire Record Office, which is conveniently located in the centre of Reading:
The town has an excellent shopping centre as well as various arts and sports complexes.
Reading is also conveniently located for visits to Oxford, Winchester cathedral, Bath Abbey (all about an hour away or less), the abbey of Dorchester-on-Thames (Oxfordshire), and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which includes sites of importance to medievalists, such as Windsor Castle (still a royal residence), and Eton College, which was founded by King Henry VI.
Information about the university
The University is situated about a mile from the town centre, towards the M4, and has over 15,000 students. It is located in a 300-acre park, Whiteknights, laid out in the early nineteenth century by the Marquis of Blandford. His lake and contrived Wilderness, complete with grotto, still survive, and the campus contains many species of rare trees as well as a botanical garden. It is amongst the most attractive campuses in the UK, offering a semi-rural environment a stone's throw from a major conurbation. The teaching buildings and library are in the centre of the campus with halls of residence around the periphery. Hall accommodation is generally available to those who wish it and who apply in good time. Otherwise there is a good stock of rented accommodation and lodgings in the vicinity and the University Accommodation Office can give advice.
Useful links for research
Manuscript illuminations can be found on the following websites:
British Library Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts
Manuscrits enlumiés des bibliothèques de France
There are regular branch meetings and events of the Reading branch of the Historical Association. See the HA website, www.history.org.uk.
For branch meetings, see: