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John Jenkins
Teaching Fellow and Research Associate



BA (Hons) (Oxon), MA (Lond), DPhil (Oxon)

John joined the Department as a Research Assistant in 2014 on the AHRC-funded 'Pilgrimage and England's Cathedrals' project before becoming a Teaching Fellow in 2017. He is a medieval historian specialising in the social history of religion, and the relationship between ecclesiastical institutions and the laity. Prior to joining the Department he completed his doctorate at the University of Oxford, where he subsequently held a number of teaching and research posts.



John's research focuses on the interactions between ecclesiastical institutions and the laity, mainly in late medieval England. Since 2014 he has been studying the use of shrines in England's major cathedrals, and particularly how these sites were curated and apportioned to suit the needs and expectations of visitors, pilgrims, and resident communities. His work is based on extensive archival research and strongly interdisciplinary, working with sociologists, ethnographers, digital archaeologists, and cathedral and heritage practitioners to recreate past experiences and shed light on current practice. He is currently editing the 1428 'Customary of the Shrine of St Thomas of Canterbury' for publication, and working on a monograph investigating the presence of the laity in medieval English cathedrals.

He is part of a project looking at avenues of commemoration for the 850th anniversary of Thomas Becket's death in 2020, and in this regard is researching the often-overlooked role of Becket as medieval London's patron saint.

John's doctorate analysed the relationship between rural monasteries and their localities in medieval Devon, and he continues to write and publish on Devonian and monastic history. He also has an interest in twentieth-century English Catholicism and Westminster Cathedral in particular.





Selected publications

'Replication or rivalry? The ‘Becketization’ of pilgrimage in English cathedrals', Religion 49:1 (2019)

'More English than the English, more Roman than Rome? Historical signifiers and cultural memory at Westminster Cathedral' (with Alana Harris), Religion 49:1 (2019)

'Visibly different: continuity and change at Westminster Cathedral' (with Marion Bowman, Simon Coleman, and Tiina Sepp), in D. Goodhew & A-P Cooper (eds.), The Desecularisation of the City: London's Churches, 1980 to the Present, (London: Routledge, 2018), p. 300-328

''Despite the Prohibition of the Lord Bishop': John Grandisson and the Limits of Episcopal Power' in Episcopal Power and Local Society in Medieval Europe 1000-1400, (eds.) P. Coss, C. Dennis, A. Silvestri, & M. Julian-Jones,(Turnhout, Brepols, 2017), p. 208-221

'Monasteries and the Defence of the South Coast in the Hundred Years' War' Southern History 32 (2012), p. 1-23

Contact details

Dr John Jenkins
Teaching Fellow and Research Associate
Department of History
University of York
Vanbrugh College
YO10 5DD

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