Lincoln, Britain and the North Atlantic

Our Research

Members of the Medieval Studies Research Group work on a wide range of topics relating to the medieval city and diocese of Lincoln, medieval England, and the wider North Atlantic, including: the archaeology and history of medieval Lincolnshire; the church in the medieval diocese of Lincoln; English royal government in the thirteenth century; landscape and built environment in Britain; and trade and exchange in the medieval North Atlantic.

The Archaeology and History of Medieval Lincolnshire

Our research focuses on the archaeology and history of the medieval city of Lincoln and county of Lincolnshire in the centuries before the Black Death. We are interested in the physical remains and documentary evidence for rural communities in the county, and their manorial histories. We also work on the estates and settlements within the duchy of Lancaster, and on what its records reveal about the people of medieval Lincolnshire, and the evolution of regional identities and structures of lordship within the baronies of Bolingbroke and Brattleby between the late twelfth and the fourteenth centuries.

The Church in the Medieval Diocese of Lincoln

The medieval diocese of Lincoln was the largest episcopal see in England. Our research focuses on the records and careers of the medieval bishops of Lincoln, including Bishop Henry Burghersh (c. 1290-1340). We also study the history of Lincoln cathedral, its manuscript collections, and the early histories and records of local religious houses. Members of our research group serve as councillors, and include the general editor, of the Lincoln Record Society.

English Royal Government in the Thirteenth Century

The thirteenth century was a pivotal period in English political life. It witnessed the birth of Magna Carta and the emergence of the parliamentary state in the reigns of Henry III (1216-72) and Edward I (1272-1307). It also saw a growing level of sophistication and bureaucracy in the machinery of royal government, which was reflected in its record keeping. Our research focuses on the study of medieval government records, on the politics of the First Barons’ War of 1215-17, and on the later period of baronial reform and rebellion in England (1258-67). Our group includes the joint general editor of the Pipe Roll Society.

Landscape and the Built Environment in Britain

Our research examines medieval settlements through the study of both the landscape and the built environment in Britain. We are interested in the late medieval landscapes of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and particularly in the field systems of those areas; our current fieldwork examines the character of Norse farming in Shetland. We are similarly interested in the archaeology of high medieval buildings in Britain, particularly those pre-dating 1200; long-term projects include the study of excavated timber buildings between 900 and 1200, and standing masonry buildings of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Trade and Exchange in the North Atlantic

Our research focuses on trading systems and the operation of commerce in the North Atlantic. Currently, our members are collaborators in an AHRC project examining the impact of commerce on the Northern Isles of Scotland in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, something which marked the end of the medieval period there.



Image: The battle of Lincoln in 1217, from the Chronica Majora by Matthew Paris. Cambridge, Corpus Christi MS 016 II. Image reproduced by kind permission of the Parker Library, Cambridge.