Accessibility statement

Migrants in Medieval England

Research projects

CMS faculty are involved with the following major projects (most of which are also based at the Centre).

Centre for Medieval Literature
The Centre for Medieval Literature (CML) is a Centre of Excellence founded in 2012 and funded for ten years by the Danish National Research Foundation. It is based at the History Department of the University of Southern Denmark (Odense) and the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York.

The ‘Codex’ project, ‘Decoding domesticate DNA in archaeological bone and manuscripts’, will use state-of-the-art genetic tools to build up a ‘DNA data matrix’ of domestic animals over the last 10,000 years. The matrix could help identify key genetic changes that accompany domestication and subsequent animal management strategies.   

Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA)
The Corpus Vitrearum Medii Aevi (CVMA) is the international research project dedicated to recording medieval stained glass. In Great Britain, the CVMA is a British Academy Research Project, hosted by the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York. 

Cultural Heritage 360 A Scoping Project for ‘Where Next?’, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK. Based at Durham University, UK with partners at the universities of York, Oxford, Oslo, and Texas A&M.

Digital Creativity and the Wall Paintings of 'Shakespeare's' Guildhall, Stratford Upon Avon
Close collaboration between academics and heritage and conservation professionals has resulted in the development of a digitally creative solution to explain the complex medieval cultural inheritance of one of Europe's greatest playwrights. 

Landscapes of (Re)Conquest: Dynamics of Multicultural Frontiers in Medieval SW Europe
This project investigates the dynamics of medieval frontier societies in Southwest Europe through the lens of the cultural landscape. It compares diverse regional borderlands in Spain, created by successive waves of Islamic and Christian conquests, with the Pyrenean frontier on either side of the Albigensian Crusade and aims to reconnect the castles of frontier authorities with their associated territories from a heritage perspective.

The Northern Way: the Archbishops of York and the North of England, 1304-1405
‘The Northern Way’ is a research project funded by the AHRC and based at the University of York in partnership with The National Archives and with the support of York Minster.  The project aims to make the administrative records of the archbishops of York more accessible to both students and the general public, and to provide a history of the role of the Archbishops in governing the region over that period.

The Ordered Universe: Interdisciplinary Readings of Medieval Science
The Ordered Universe Project is an international research project dedicated to the scientific works of
the remarkable English thinker Robert Grosseteste (c.1170-1253). The project has been running
since 2010, and is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).

Siblings and Sibling Relations in Later Medieval England, 1300-1550
The Sibling Studies Network encourages, inter alia, those working with anthropological, educational, historical, psychological, scientific, and sociological perspectives to communicate their insights on siblingship across their disciplines, so as to enter into conversation with other approaches. Moreover, the Sibling Studies Network endeavours to be part of a wider global pursuit that seeks to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners. 

Sicily in Transition: The Archaeology of Regime Change
The project investigates the Byzantine-Arabic-Norman-Swabian transition (sixth to thirteenth centuries
CE) in Sicily with a special focus on changes in social structure, agriculture and trade.

Tents to Towns
Our archaeological evaluation of the site where the Great Army over-wintered in AD 872-3 at Torksey, in Lincolnshire, has demonstrated that further research here has the potential to tell us a huge amount about this critical period, including the composition of the army, what it was doing, and what its legacy was. Based upon our evaluation, ‘Tents to Towns’ is a five-year project which addresses a broad range of inter-disciplinary research to allow us to place Torksey in context.

Urban Ecology and Transitions on Zanzibar
The project is an exploration of the ways that early urban centres on Zanzibar drew on, utilised, and affected their resource landscapes during two major periods of urban growth. Fieldwork at Unguja Ukuu (7th – 15th centuries) and Tumbatu (11th – 15th centuries) on Zanzibar will explore domestic contexts in detail, analysing the ways that local resources were used and built into the spaces of the towns. 

Worked in Stone
In 2018 the project won substantial funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to enable the completion of the project. Across 2018 to 2022 we will complete full coverage of every early medieval sculpture in England, bringing to press all remaining published volumes. In addition, working with the Archaeological Data Service, we will complete the online release of the full catalogues for every region so it remains readily accessible as a free resource for academics and the public alike. Our international conference 'Worked in Stone: Early Medieval Sculpture in its International Context' takes place next year in Durham. Find out more.

Recently Completed Projects

Archaeologies of the Norman Conquest
Archaeologies of the Norman Conquest is a new research network examining the cultural, social, and political implications of the Norman Conquest through an explicit focus on archaeology and material culture. Its chief aims are to highlight the new insights and nuanced interpretations that archaeology can bring to this fundamental turning point in British history, and to articulate an inclusive research framework for the 11th and 12th centuries that brings together the scientific, humanistic, academic, professional, and public engagement arms of archaeology. 

The Becket Connection
This one year AHRC-funded follow-on project, running between 2018-2019, aimed to foster collaboration and innovation to present the fascinating story of Thomas Becket to visitors to the city of Canterbury. The project brought together partners from Canterbury’s heritage, business and tourism sectors, including Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Archaeological Trust, Visit Canterbury, Canterbury Museums and Canterbury BID.

CitiGen: Identity, Citizenship and Nationhood in the Post-Genome Era
It is explored the ways in which the humanities disciplines can approach the findings and implications of modern genomic research and contribute to debates about ancestry, migration, identity and rights in contemporary Europe.

England's Immigrants, 1330-1550
With our research we have provided major evidence for this small-scale but significant migration to England between 1330-1550. We created a fully searchable database containing the names and details of over 64,000 people who settled in England in the late Middle Ages.

The Inquisition Records of Languedoc, 1235-1244
The project was focused on four mainly unedited inquisition registers that were produced during the earliest years of inquisition in Languedoc, 1235-44. The research team is now producing an edition and English translation of these, together with technical apparatus, that will be published by Brill. These materials will provide the foundation for research that will transform our understanding of inquisition into heresy in the crucial first decade of its development.

Reading the genetic history of parchment manuscripts
The project is part of the EC-funded SCRIBE project investigating the burgeoning field of molecular codicology, having developed and implemented an exciting new minimally destructive DNA sampling technique, derived from routine
parchment conservation practice.

The Register of Walter de Gray, Archbishop of York (1215–55)
The project studied one of England’s greatest administrators and made available, for the first time, a full critical edition of his register. Walter de Gray, Archbishop of York, was at the forefront of two pivotal movements of his era: the birth of institutional record-keeping and the European-wide mission to transform the Church.

Rising from the depths: Utilising Marine Cultural Heritage in East Africa to help develop sustainable social, economic and cultural benefits
This AHRC GCRF International Network Plus is aimed at understanding the marine cultural heritage of coastal east Africa over the long term. It is part of a clear impact agenda in the region, in which we aim to raise awareness of the rich maritime heritage of the region, as well as conducting research into the past that has clear application to contemporary challenges.

St Stephen's Chapel Westminster: Visual and Political Culture, 1292-1941
As a monument to medieval kingship and a setting for parliamentary government, St Stephen’s Chapel in the Palace of Westminster has helped to shape the political culture of the nation. Funded by the AHRC (2013-17), our project explores the history, art and architecture of the royal chapel which became the first dedicated House of Commons. 

The Watershed: The European Significance of Alcuin of York
Alcuin’s most striking innovation, the introduction of the idea of non-scriptural learning as an intrinsic good, has been overlooked. By linking the first extended study of that theme to an investigation of the way Alcuin’s social network fostered the dissemination of his ideas, Dr Garrison will offer an integrated account; brief comparisons from the Latin West and the Islamic world contextualise Alcuin’s significance.

White Rose Network on Marginalisation and the Law: medieval and Modern
This project brings together four historians with expertise on medieval law and two scholars of contemporary socio-legal theory in order to examine the key elements that have underpinned the processes of marginalisation in the medieval and modern periods.