I am an emeritus professor, having previously been Professor of Local and Regional History in the Centre for English Local History, and previously Professor of Medieval Social History in the University of Birmingham. My first post was as an assistant lecturer in history at the University of Edinburgh.
I live in Leicester; my wife is also an historian. True to my interest in peasants, I cultivate an allotment and am almost self-sufficient in some vegetables.
I work on both social and economic history, and medieval archaeology, mainly in the period 1000-1600. My publications (since 1965) include agrarian, urban, landscape, social and other themes. I cross disciplinary boundaries, not just between history and archaeology, but also with geography, literature and the natural sciences.
I am completing a number of unfinished investigations on villages, mainly sites excavated but in need of historical background, such as Houghton in Huntingdonshire. I am clearing my backlog of research on Warwickshire villages, including Westcote in Tysoe and Admington.
My long term project is a book on the history and archaeology of villages in the middle ages, which will aim to establish their significance in the past, addressing such questions as their origin, functions and internal structures.
(edited) Changing Approaches to Local History: Warwickshire History and its Historians (Woodbridge, 2022)
Peasants Making History: Living in an English Region 1200-1540 (Oxford, 2022)
‘Recovering from catastrophe; how medieval society in England coped with disasters’, in C. Gerrard, P. Forlin and P. Brown (eds), Waiting for the End of the World? New Perspectives on Natural Disasters in Medieval Europe ( Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph, 43, 2021), pp.218-38.
‘Peasants and poultry in England, 1250-1540’, Quaternary International, 543 (2020) pp. 113-18.
‘Migration in rural England in the later middle ages’, in W.M.Ormrod, J. Story and E. Tyler (eds), Migration in Medieval England (Oxford, 2020), pp. 238-64
‘Pourquoi les paysans anglais étaient-ils consommateurs (XIIIe – XVe siècles) ?’ in G. Ferrand and J.Petrowiste (eds.), Le nécessaire et le superflu. Le paysan consommateur
(Toulouse : Journées d’histoire de l’abbaye de Flaran, 36, 2019), pp. 127-46
‘The housing of peasant livestock in England, 1200-1520’, in Agricultural History Review,
67 (2019), pp. 29-50.
‘Courts and urbanisation: jurisdiction in late medieval seigneurial boroughs and towns’ in R. Goddard and T. Phipps (eds.), Town Courts and Urban Society in Late Medieval England, 1250-1500 (Woodbridge, 2019), pp. 93-116.
‘A medieval village in a Cotswold landscape : Pinbury in Duntisbourne Rous’, Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 137 (2019), pp.191-213.
- Trustee and chair of the executive committee of the Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust.
- I also serve on the committee of the Herefordshire Victoria County History.
- Vice-President of the Medieval Settlement Research Group.
- Adviser to the Aurelius Charitable Trust.
- Sections 7 and 8 of the British Academy
‘The breakdown in neighbourly relations in late medieval English villages’, Winter conference of the British Agricultural History Society on ‘Neighbourliness in Farming’, December 2020.
‘Why should studies of early towns also include the countryside?’ Seminar series on town and country, Irish Historic Towns Atlas, and the Royal Irish Academy (May, 2021)
‘Introduction’ and ‘Summing up’, Warwickshire’s Changing Past, Dugdale Society Centenary Conference (May, 2021)
‘Migration and the English village, 1200-1540: history and archaeology’, Medieval Settlement Research Group Winter Seminar , December, 2021.