I am a medievalist at the University of Birmingham, and my broad fields of interest are Social and Economic History of Later Medieval England. More specifically I work on rural societies, and the people who inhabited them, whom we can broadly define as peasants. I have a strong interest in medieval communal structures, lord – peasant relationships, popular revolt and the position of women in rural societies. At the moment I am working on a book which explores a very interesting primarily rural manor called Heacham located on the coast of Norfolk in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Heacham makes for a particularly interesting case study, as the economic base of the manor was very complex. People made their living from a wide variety of sources, including fishing. One key theme which interests me is how the land and the sea are culturally and economically intertwined in this place. I am also working on a smaller project looking at young, under- age as well as orphaned heirs in English villages. As a result I am now finishing a monograpg about childhood in teh medieval village.
In addition I love horses, especially my pony Scooby, and I spend as much time as possible at the yard. I love hacking, and riding for hours though forests and the countryside, occasionally at great speed. I also spend quite a bit of time on my vegetable patch, where where I am in a seemingly endless battle with slugs. I have also been known to do various courses on traditional rural crafts / skills, including rag rug making, ploughing with horses and wool preparation and spinning with a drop spindle and wheel. The latter has me hooked and I can occasionally be seen spinning, especially wool, and I like playing with my peg loom when I get the time.