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Ruth Salter

Staff profile placeholder
  • Acting Admissions Tutor (2021-22)
  • Convenor of Part-One core module HS1RSO
  • Convenor of the Part-Two optional modules HS2O4, HS2O56
  • Convenor of the Part-Three special subject HS3SHH
  • Member of the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
  • Steering Committee Member for the Centre of Health Humanities (CHH)

Postgraduate supervision

My postgraduate supervision/teaching is predominantly focussed on the GCMS's MRes in Medieval Studies. I supervise students for their option A/B modules on the topics: medieval medicine, medieval monasticism, and local history.

I have previously also contributed to the teaching and administrations of the Department of History's MA in History.

Research centres and groups

  • Member of the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
  • Steering Committee Member for the Centre of Health Humanities (CHH)


Previously, Social Media Administrator for the Department of History and the GCMS.

Previously, researcher, content creator and educator for the FutureLearn MOOC 'A History of Royal Food and Feasting' (a UoR collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces)

My research focuses on the high Middle Ages (specifically the long twelfth century) and on experiences of health, ill health, and healing. Both the undergraduate modules 'Medieval Medicine' (HS2O56) and 'Health, Healthcare and Healing in the Middle Ages' (HS3SHH) are based on these interests.

Miracle accounts of miraculous healing have fascinated me for many years as they can provide tantalising insights into the lived experiences of those who visited the shrines of the saints and requested saintly intercession. My AHRC-funded doctoral thesis inspired my first book Saints, Cure-Seekers and Miraculous Healing (2021) published by York Medieval Press (YMP) and Boydell and Brewer. This is the first volume in YMP's new series 'Health and Healing in the Middle Ages'.

However, my interests in medieval medicine do not stop at the shrine and I have become increasingly interested in thinking about medicine as experienced and understood within monastic communities as well as within society more broadly. My interest in childhood health and holy healing is the focus of my contribution to an edited volume on medieval children:

'Minors and the Miraculous: The Cure-Seeking Experiences of Children in Twelfth-Century English Hagiography', in Kids Those Days: Children in Medieval Culture, ed. L. Preston-Matto and M. A. Valante (Leiden, 2021), pp. 67-94.

Through my studies of twelfth-century hagiographies I came to be particularly fascinated by St Æbbe of Coldingham. Æbbe is a rather unknown female saint who founded a double monastery (for monks and nuns) in what is now the Scottish Borders during the later seventh century. My own work on Æbbe and her cult can be found in two publications:

'Memory, Myth, and Creating the Cult of St Æbbe of Coldingham', Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies 9 (2020), 31-49.

'Beyond the Miracula: Practices and Experiences of Lay Devotion at the Cult of St Æbbe, Coldingham', in Northern Lights: New Directions in Late Medieval Insular Sanctity, ed. C. Whitehead et al. (Turnhout, forthcoming)

I am the organiser of the quadrennial conference series 'The Maladies, Miracles and Medicine of the Middle Ages'. The first of these was organised in 2014, with selected papers published in the peer reviewed The Reading Medievalist: A Postgraduate Journal, including my own contribution to the conference:

'Only Half Healed: The Unusual Accounts of the Deaf and Mute in Twelfth-Century English Hagiography', The Reading Medievalist: A Postgraduate Journal 2 (2015), 85-108.

A second conference, 'The Maladies, Miracles and Medicine of the Middle Ages, II: Places, Spaces and Objects' took place in 2018. The third conference of the series 'The Maladies, Miracles and Medicine of the Middle Ages, III: Patients, Prayers and Pilgrims' will be held in Spring 2022.

Away from medieval history, I have been involved in the researching and teaching of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) 'A History of Royal Food and Feasting' and have had the pleasure to discuss the history of food twice on BBC Berkshire.

Current projects

I am developing a research project into health, ill health and healing within the high-medieval monastery.