I am primarily an historian of the warfare,
military-organisational structures and combatants of late medieval
Europe. What this means in practice is that I’m not only interested
in the operational, recruitment and logistical issues that are
traditionally associated with military and naval history, but also
the political, diplomatic, socio-economic and cultural contexts of
warfare. While I am curious about developments throughout
Christendom and indeed beyond, I am above all a research specialist
in the organisation of war and the military communities of
fourteenth-century England, and the Anglo-Scottish and Anglo-French
wars of that period.
Armies and combatants
I am particularly interested in (i) the identity of the
combatant, his cultural world and socio-economic background; and
(ii) the distinctive character of the late medieval army – an
impermanent but robust entity, reliant on the socio-economic
networks within the military communities from which it was
recruited, with stiffening provided by temporary institutional
structures. I have from the outset of my career been an advocate of
prosopography (collective biography), and the abundant data
available for the study of late medieval English armies and
military service have certainly lent themselves to this approach.
Perhaps beginning with a large-scale project focussing on the
campaign and battle of Crécy (1346) , I have more recently
developed an interest in how warfare in all its aspects was
presented, in a variety of forms, in contemporary historical
While it is certainly the case that most of my publications and
a significant part of my teaching have focussed on the English wars
of the late medieval period, I should stress that I also have a
strong secondary interest in the military (indeed, wider) history
of east-central Europe, with particular reference to the kingdom of
Hungary – the ‘realm of St Stephen’. This, I believe, has helped me
to avoid the pitfall of viewing late medieval Europe exclusively
from its north-western corner; and it has also encouraged
exploration of the many and varied transcultural interfaces within
and on the periphery of Christendom.
The Anatomy of Military Disaster
In recent years I have supplemented and extended these core
interests in both the teaching and research spheres. A conviction
that I should know more about post-medieval warfare prompted me to
offer a module focussing on the circumstances of, and processes
driving, several notable military disasters during the early modern
and modern periods. After all, as the old saying has it, the best
way to learn about a subject is to teach it. And stepping out of my
comfort zone has certainly been good for me. The Anatomy of
Military Disaster has probably been, for me, the most
enjoyable module of my teaching career. I have learned a great
deal, but I am certain too that the benefit has been two-way, for
adopting a comparative approach has enabled me to highlight the
‘constants’ and continuities of warfare, as well as the more
obvious processes of change.
Ships and mariners
In the research sphere, I have recently built substantially on a
longstanding interest in the naval dimension of medieval warfare by
securing grant funding from the Economic and Social Research
Council for a project entitled Shipping, mariners and port
communities in fourteenth-century England (RES-000-22-4127),
which aims to bring greater clarity and precision to academic and
public understanding of the English merchant fleet (shipping and
manpower) during this period. A key output from the project, an
Open Access database documenting the English ships and crews
involved in over 10,000 voyages during the period 1320-1400, has
been deposited at the UK Data Service and can be downloaded from
UK Data Service.
I am a native of Dorset and very much a country dweller at
heart, but I have spent most of my working life in the big city,
first (briefly) in London, and then, from 1985, in Hull. I am, in
fact, a Hull graduate, so joining the Domesday Project team here in
1985 brought me back to a familiar campus. Having, from 1987, been
employed on the Computers in Teaching Initiative in the History
Department, I was appointed to a lectureship in 1989.
- (Co-editor, with Sir Philip Preston) The
Battle of Crécy, 1346, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005. Pp. xii,
390. Paperback edn, 2007.
- (Editor) Pál Engel, The Realm of St
Stephen. A History of Medieval Hungary, 895-1526, London and
New York: I.B. Tauris, 2001. Pp. xx, 452. Paperback edn, 2005.
- (Co-editor, with J.L. Price) The Medieval
Military Revolution. State, Society and Military Change in
Medieval and Early Modern Europe, London and New York: I.B.
Tauris, 1995. Pp. viii, 208. Paperback edn, 1998.
- Knights and Warhorses. Military Service
and the English Aristocracy under Edward III, Woodbridge:
Boydell, 1994. Pp. xiv, 304. Reprinted in paperback with new
Shipping, mariners and ports in fourteenth-century
A database of 10,289 records concerning voyages made by English
ships and mariners during the fourteenth century. Compiled during
the 18-month term (April 2011-October 2012) of an ESRC-funded
project based at the University of Hull (Shipping, mariners and
port communities in fourteenth-century England; RES-000-22-4127),
and deposited for public use at the UK Data Service. [Co-author
with the PDRA on the project, Dr Craig Lambert.]
- ‘A maritime community in war and peace:
Kentish ports, ships and mariners, 1320-1400’ [co-author with Craig
Lambert], Archaeologia Cantiana, 134 (2014), 67-103
- ‘János Thuróczy: Chronica
Hungarorum’, in Christian-Muslim Relations: A
Bibliographical History, Volume 5 (1350-1500), ed. D. Thomas,
A. Mallett et al., Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013, pp.
- ‘The mariner in fourteenth-century England’
[co-author with Craig Lambert], in Fourteenth Century England
VII, ed. W.M. Ormrod, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2012, pp.
- ‘Military service and the dynamics of
recruitment in fourteenth-century England’, in The Soldier
Experience in the Fourteenth Century, ed. A.R. Bell, A. Curry
et al., Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011, pp. 9-59.
- ‘Armies and military communities in
fourteenth-century England’, in Soldiers, Nobles and Gentlemen:
Essays in Honour of Maurice Keen, ed. P. Coss and C. Tyerman,
Woodbridge: Boydell, 2009, pp. 215-39.
- ‘From Muhi to Mohács: armies and combatants
in later medieval European transcultural wars’, in
Transcultural Wars from the Middle Ages to the Twenty-First
Century, ed. Hans-Henning Kortüm, Berlin: Akademie-Verlag,
2006, pp. 213-47.
Chapters in A. Ayton and P. Preston, eds,
The Battle of Crécy, 1346, Woodbridge: Boydell, 2005:
- ‘The battle of Crécy: context and
significance’: pp. 1-34
- ‘The Crécy campaign’: pp. 35-107
- ‘The English army at Crécy’: pp. 159-251
- ‘Crécy and the chroniclers’: pp. 286-350
- ‘Topography and archery: further reflections
on the battle of Crécy’ [co-author with Sir Philip Preston]: pp.
Entries in the Oxford Dictionary of
National Biography. OUP: Oxford, 2004:
- Thomas Ashton (supp. fl. 1346), ODNB,
- Sir Hugh Hastings (d. 1347), ODNB, xxv,
- Laurence Hastings, twelfth earl of Pembroke
(d. 1348), ODNB, xxv, 769-70
- Robert Morley, second lord Morley (d. 1360),
ODNB, xxxix, 236-7
- John Northwood, first lord Northwood (d.
1319), ODNB, xxxxi, 155-6
- Thomas Ughtred, first lord Ughtred (d. 1365),
ODNB, lv, 860-1
‘Sir Thomas Ughtred and the Edwardian military
revolution’, in The Age of Edward III, ed. J.S. Bothwell,
Woodbridge: York Medieval Press/Boydell, 2001, pp. 107-32
‘Arms, armour and horses’, in Medieval
Warfare. A History, ed. M. Keen, Oxford, OUP, 1999 (paperback
edn, 2001), pp. 186-208
‘Edward III and the English aristocracy at the
beginning of the Hundred Years War’, in Armies, Chivalry and
Warfare in Medieval Britain and France, ed. M. Strickland.
Harlaxton Medieval Studies, 7. Stamford: Paul Watkins, 1998, pp.
Chapters in A. Ayton and J.L. Price, eds,
The Medieval Military Revolution. State, Society and
Military Change in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, London
& New York: I.B. Tauris, 1995:
- ‘The military revolution from a medieval
perspective’ [co-author with J.L.Price]: pp. 1-22
- ‘Knights, esquires and military service: the
evidence of the armorial cases before the Court of Chivalry’: pp.
‘English armies in the fourteenth century’, in
Arms, Armies and Fortifications in the Hundred Years War,
ed. A. Curry & M. Hughes, Woodbridge: Boydell, 1994 (paperback
edn, 1999), pp. 21-38. Reprinted in C.J. Rogers, The Wars
of Edward III, Woodbridge: Boydell, 1999, pp. 303-19
‘The English army and the Normandy campaign of
1346’, in England and Normandy in the Middle Ages, ed. D.
Bates & A. Curry, London & Rio Grande: The Hambledon Press,
1994, pp. 253-68
‘Katonai forradalom a 14. századi Angliában’
['The military revolution in fourteenth-century England'],
Aetas: történettudományi folyóirat, 1994, no. 4, 5-26
‘Military service and the development of the
Robin Hood legend in the fourteenth century’, Nottingham
Medieval Studies, 36 (1992), 126-47
‘War and the English gentry under Edward III’,
History Today, 42 (March 1992), 34-40
‘Domesday Book re-bound, c. 1346’, Notes
and Queries, New Series, 36/3 (September 1989), 298-9
‘John Chaucer and the Weardale campaign,
1327’, Notes and Queries, New Series, 36/1 (March 1989),
‘William de Thweyt, esquire: deputy constable
of Corfe Castle in the 1340s’, Notes and Queries for Somerset
and Dorset, 32/329 (March 1989), 731-8
‘Ecclesiastical wealth in England in 1086’
[co-author with V. Davis], in The Church and Wealth, ed.
W. J. Sheils & D. Wood, Studies in Church History, 24, 1987,