Areas of interest
My research interests focus on the high Middle Ages (specifically the long twelfth century) and on experiences of health, ill health, and healing, including miraculous cures. I am also interested in medieval lived religion, and in medieval women and childhood. My research explores these topics primarily through analysis of high-medieval collections of posthumous miracles. Accounts of healing miracles, for instance, provide fascinating insights into the experiences and practices of ‘cure-seeking’, and its place within the wider healthcare milieu. These miracles, attributed to the power of God and worked through the intercession of the saints, provide tantalising insights into the lived experiences of those who sought what we might call today ‘alternative medicine’.
You can read more about my research interests and teaching in our History Stories.
I am happy to discuss potential PhD projects relating to high-medieval healthcare, lived/popular religion, pilgrimage etc.
I am currently supervising research on:
- Female piety and lay patrongage to Cistercian monasteries (Caroline Johnson)
- The cult of St Christopher and lived religion in later medieval England (Stephen Evans)
- Everyday Life in a Medieval Town: Reading, 1100-1500
- Research Skills and Opportunities in History (convenor)
- Medieval Medicine
- Women in the Medieval World
- Dissertation supervision
- Health, Healthcare and Healing in the Middle Ages [special subject option]
Postgraduate MA (postgraduate taught)
I supervise students on:
- Medieval Monasticism
- Christian Hagiography
- English Local History
- Medieval Healthcare
I am currently working as a postdoctoral research on the AHRC-funded project ‘The Medieval Ritual Landscape: Archaeology, Material Culture and Lived Religion’ (MeRit). MeRit is a collaboration between the University of Reading and the British Museum’s Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). It explores the evidence for everyday religion in medieval England (c. 1100-1600), i.e. material culture used in household devotion, healing, protective charms, grave goods (such as pilgrim badges, papal bullae, book fittings, dress accessories/objects with sacred inscriptions). While the primary focus of the project is on the archaeological evidence, my work into the surviving documentary evidence will aid in providing an insight into the practices and into materials that have not survived.
Further information about this project can be found on the MeRit webpages.