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Sethina Watson
Senior Lecturer in Medieval History



BA (Carleton College, MN), DPhil (Oxon)

Sethina Watson is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History. She did her BA in the US and arrived at York after doctoral work and a research fellowship at Oxford. She works on the religious and social history of the High Middle Ages.



Sethina's research interests range widely within the social and institutional history of religion 1050-1350, with particular attention to the role of the laity in the church.

She has published on charitable houses in their many forms, investigating the legal and constitutional form of hospitals and their role in constructing relationships between the powerful and powerless. The complex position of these houses has led her to work, too, on the institutions of religious life in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. This includes canon law, monastic and religious life and the diocese. Her work has been recognized by the Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize.

She would welcome enquiries from students interested in pursuing research in the religious or social history of the High Middle Ages.

Resources available for research students in York

Good modern holdings can be found in the JB Morrell Library, supplemented by strong ecclesiastical and monastic collections in the Minster Library. These include county record society series where many deeds and registers have been published.

In addition to the archives of the Dean and Chapter held at the Minster Library, the Borthwick Institute for Archives houses the records of the Archbishopric of York, which date from the early thirteenth century and pertain to both provincial and diocesan administration. The Borthwick Institute also houses a superb collection of bishops', abbots' and civic registers, and monastic and secular cartularies on microfilm.



  •  (first year Period Topic module)
  •  (second year Histories and Contexts module)
  •  (second year Explorations module)
  • (final year Special Subject module)
  •  (final year Comparative Histories module)


  • Saving the Sinners: The Medieval Church and the Laity (MA Option module)

Contact details

Dr Sethina Watson
King's Manor K/275a
Department of History
University of York
King's Manor

Tel: Internal 3914, External (01904) 323914

Student hours

Semester 2 2023/4