TEACHING AND RESEARCH
|TASC: Trans-national Database
and Atlas of Saints' Cults
|Forests and Chases
of England and Wales
ECAI and Sanctity in World Religions
|Medieval and Late Antique studies
Celtic Studies Library catalogues
About me: I became an academic in 1996 after being awarded my PhD. Currently I'm at St John's College, University of Oxford, as Research Assistant to Dr Jack Langton, working on the history and geography of English and Welsh Forests. The research has been supported by a two-year Special Project grant by the Marc Fitch Fund, awarded in 2007, and by St John's College and the British Academy. I'm based in the St John's Research Centre, and am also a Senior Research Associate of Oxford University's School of Geography and the Environment. My monograph Saints in the Landscape, published in October 2007 by Tempus, is the first comprehensive overview of religious dedications and their cultural geography and history (my other major research interest), and follows an edited volume, Saints of Europe: Studies towards a survey of cults and culture (Donington, Shaun Tyas, 2003). With John Langton I edited Forests and Chases of England and Wales, c. 1500 to c. 1850: Towards a survey and analysis (Oxford, St John's College, 2005, distributed by Oxbow Books) and a companion volume is in press, Forests and Chases of Medieval England and Wales, c. 1000- c. 1500.
I was awarded my PhD at the University of Leicester, in the Department of (now Centre for) English Local History, where I subsequently held a Leverhulme Special Research Fellowship (1997-9). Between 2000 and 2003 I was Lecturer in English Topography, covering the teaching of Professor Harold Fox during his British Academy Readership, and I am now Honorary Visiting Fellow. I have taught on four MA courses at Leicester, Skills in English Local History, Landscape Studies, Humanities, and Medieval Studies (for the Centre for Medieval Research). I continue to teach medieval and regional studies for the BA Humanities programme, lecture on history and culture to the Catalan Studies element of the BA Modern Languages programme, and direct the Certificate course in Local History.
I am also a part-time tutor for the University of Cambridge and contributed to the Certificate course in Anglo-Saxon Studies. I have taught in the School of Historical Studies at Leicester for two undergraduate modules, Anglo-Saxon England (with Dr Jo Story) and The Vikings (Dr Kari Maund). In 1999 I was appointed Stott Fellow in the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, where I computerised and supplemented the Parochiale Wallicanum and assisted Professor John Koch in the preparation of an Atlas of Celtic Studies.
In 2003 I was awarded three additional research grants. The Aurelius Charitable Trust allowed me to extend the TASC project to cover the Archdeaconry of Berkshire; a month's Aufenhaltsforschung mit Stipendium (my second) enabled me to visit the Max-Planck-Institut fur Geschichte in Gottingen to complete a devotional geography of the Diocese of Munster; and the British Academy funded a three-year joint programme of research with scholars of the Georgian Academy of Sciences which began with a month's fieldwork. In 2004 I was awarded a two-week residency at the Geographical Information Science Center in the University of California at Berkeley.
My visit to Catalunya this year (2009/10) is the eleventh in a programme of research into Catalan saints and religious devotion which has been grant-aided by the Arts Faculty Research Board and School of Historical Studies at Leicester and is in association with the University of Barcelona, Department of Anthropology and the Catalan National Archives. Click on TASC in the menu box and also view data uploaded to Google Docs: Catalunya and its Saints.
I have recently completed my term as a committee member of the Society for Landscape Studies and am Reviews Editor and former Joint Editor of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society Transactions
A head for heights!: Abseiling to raise money for Oxford's Children's Hospital. In May 2010 I was elected an Oxford City Councillor. I support Christian Aid, Oxfam, Amnesty, UNA, and the European Movement.
Available on these pages...
...Information about my work as a Leverhulme Special Research Fellow on the first part of an Electronic Atlas of Saints' Cults in England and Wales, and the collaborative project which led from it, the Trans-national Database and Atlas of Saints' Cults (TASC).
...Access to about 200 web-sites of practical use to students of religious culture past and present, and the medieval world , most having their own onward links. These linked sites include the Netserf Medieval Internet Connection, the ORB On-Line Reference Book for Medieval Studies, and many specialist sites, including that maintained by the Society of Bollandists, the Jesuit researchers who have been working on matters hagiographical since 1615. There are also links to library catalogues, worldwide holiday dates, translation services, etc.
...Saints at a Glance, a compilation of thumbnail sketches of more than a thousand saints commemorated in the Christian year, authored by Dr Carolyn Muessig with the help of fellow members of the Internet discussion list Medieval-Religion
...Discussion and images of the cult of Sant Magi de Brufaganya, a local saint of Catalunya, which demonstrates, in the range of its devotional apparatus and associations, religious and secular, something of the probable extent of our loss of knowledge about saints' cults in Britain.
The illustrations here: The cult of Britain's best-known early martyr, Alban, was promoted by Offa, king of Mercia, whose coin portrait appears above, right. The fifteenth-century illustration from the Register of Benefactors of the Monastery of St Albans, on the left, shows Offa holding the church of St Albans which he has endowed. The register is in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (CCCC Ms 7, p. 205).
Offa has figured a good deal in my work. He may well have given an important stimulus to the veneration in Britain of St Helena, for example, as well as devotion to more local saints, like St Ethelbert of East Anglia. He held meetings of the Mercian Council in south-east Leicestershire and his possible impact on the territory and landscape is only now becoming recognised.(Tony Brown's thoughts on field systems complement mine on administrative organisation.) He may even have had an influence on what emerges in later centuries as our system of forests. The Frankish forest laws were available for adaptation in the period when Offa was working hard at adopting Carolingian practices.
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