Dr Richard Jones

Associate Professor of Landscape History

School/Department: History Politics and International Relations, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2764




I am a medieval landscape and environmental historian whose research explores the complex relationships that developed between rural communities and their locales/environments in England, Wales, and France across the whole of the Middle Ages (c. 500-1500AD). My work sits within the interstices of several disciplines including history, archaeology, physical and historical geography, and toponomastics.

My studies of place-making, agricultural practice, and responses to environmental threats in medieval England and Wales have been conducted at local regional and national scales. Underpinning all of my research is the belief that medieval history can and should play a central role in addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges of the present.



Funded Research (PI and Co-I):

2019-22: AHRC Research Network Grant (Landscape Decisions): 'Enhancing UK Flood Resilience: Past Floods, Present Threats, Future Responses' £44,937 (PI)

2016-18: Leverhulme Trust Research Grant: 'Flood and Flow: Place-Names and the Changing Hydrology of English and Welsh Rivers' £375,816 (PI)

2011-15: Leverhulme Trust Research Programme Grant: 'The Impact of Diasporas on the mMaking of Britain: Evidence, Memories, and Invention' (PI Joanna Story), £200,000 of £1,331,804 (Co-I)

2008-9: AHRC Research Network: 'Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England' £15,200 (PI)


B. Pears, A.G. Brown, J. Carroll, P. Toms, J. Wood and R. Jones, 'Early medieval place-names and riverine flood histories: a new approach and new chronostratigraphic records for three English rivers', European Journal of Archaeology 23.3 (2020), pp. 381-405 

R. Jones, 'Vers une comprehension du fumier et de la fumure médiévale: quelques enseignements d’Angleterre', in M. Conesa and N. Poirier (eds), Fumiers! Ordures! Gestion et usage des déchets et Moderne, Flaran 38 (Toulouse: Presse Universitaires du Midi, 2019), pp. 17-34.

R. Jones, R. Gregory, S. Kilby and B. Pears, 'Living with a trespasser: riparian names and medieval settlement on the River Trent floodplain', European Journal of Post-Classical Archaeologies, 7 (2017), pp. 33-64.

R. Jones and C. Dyer (eds), Farmers, Innovators, Consumers: the World of Joan Thirsk (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2017), 247 pp.

R. Jones, 'Responding to modern flooding: Old English place-names as a repository of Traditional Ecological Knowledge', Journal of Ecological Anthropology 18 (2016).

R. Jones, The Medieval Natural World (London: Longman Pearson, 2013), 208 pp.

R. Jones, 'Settlement archaeology and place-names', in J. Carroll, & D. N. Parsons (eds.), Perceptions of Place: Twenty-first Century Interpretations of English Place-Name Studies (Nottingham: English Place-Name Society, 2013), pp. 181-208.

P. Cullen, R. Jones, and D.N. Parsons, Thorps in a Changing Landscape (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2011), 224 pp. 

R. Jones (ed.), Manure Matters: Historical, Archaeological, and Ethnographical Perspectives (Farnham: Ashgate, 2012), 262 pp.

R. Jones and S. Semple (eds), Sense of Place in Anglo-Saxon England (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2012), 364 pp. 

C. Dyer and R. Jones (eds), Deserted Villages Revisited (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2010), 207 pp.

R. Jones, 'The village and the butterfly: nucleation out of chaos and complexity', Landscapes, 11.1 (2010), pp. 25-46. 

R. Jones and M. Page, Medieval Villages in an English Landscape (Macclesfield: Windgather Press, 2006), 243 pp.



Current PhDs:

Russell, 'Stretching the evidence: a GIS examination of early modern cartography and landscape writing in England, 1573-1686' (AHRC-funded)

Shaw, 'Anglo-Scandinavian settlement and terroir: towards a better understanding of early medieval farming choices' (AHRC-funded)

Touhy, 'A landscape history of Willey Hundred, Bedfordshire'

Hedge, 'Dispersed settlement in the middle Severn valley in the later middle ages' (AHRC-funded)

Completed PhDs:

de Belin, 'The hunting transition: deer, foxes, horses and the landscape'

Blake, 'Stories from the edge: creating an identity in early medieval north-west Staffordshire'

Bridger, 'Leicestershire gentry c.1460-1547: identity, Locality, and landscape'

Coveney, 'Moated sites in medieval England: a reassessment'

Gilbert, 'The Changing Landscape and Economy of Wisbech Hundred: 1250-1550'

Kilby, 'Encountering the environment: rural communities in England, 1086-1348' (ESRC-funded)

Mitchell, 'Roger of Hereford's Judicial Astrology: England's first astrology book?'

Stones, 'The boundaries of Charnwood Forest through the lens of the longue duree' (AHRC-funded CDA)



HS1000 Making History

HS1001 Medieval and Early Modern Europe: People, Power, Faith, and Culture

HS2500 Becoming a Historical Researcher

HS3696 The Medieval Natural World

HS7010 Historical Research, Historical Writing (GIS)

HS7022 Mastering Medieval Sources

HS7135 Landscapes and Identities in Medieval and Early Modern England

Press and media


Medieval landscape history



2021-present: Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

2021-present: General Editor, Transactions of the Thoroton Society of Nottinghamshire

2021-present: Trustee, Leicestershire Victoria County History Trust

2021-present: Executive Committee member, Leicester Victoria County History

2018-present: Editorial Board member, Medieval Ecocriticisms

2018-present: Editorial Board member, Nottingham Medieval Studies

2018-present: Council member, English Place-Name Society

2014-18: Series Co-editor, Explorations in Local and Regional History, University of Hertfordshire Press

2008-10: Committee member, Society for Landscape Studies

2008-present: Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London

2003-10: Committee member, Medieval Settlement Research Group 



2021: 'Early medieval place-names and fluvial geomorphology: the case of *waesse 'land by a meandering river that floods and drains quickly'', Paysages Fluviales, Universite de Bordeaux-Montaigne.

2021: 'Space and place-names: representing Old English toponyms cartographically', International Congress of Onomastic Sciences, University of Krakow.

2019: 'The virtuous cycle of return: soil husbandry in the open fields of England', Boundaries in/of Environmental History, European Society for Environmental History Conference, University of Tallinn.

2019: 'Water Meadows in Early Medieval England: Toponymies, Topologies, Typologies', International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds.

2018: 'Flood warnings: exploring the relationship between river-names and riparian settlement-names in England in the early Medieval period', Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland Conference, Isle of Arran, Scotland.

2017: 'Old English place-names and the communication of Traditional Ecological Knowledge', English Place-Name Society, British Academy, London.

2017: 'A place-name-informed approach to early medieval flooding in England', Geological Society, London 

Media coverage

2019: Wired UK, 'Don't know why your town floods? There's a clue in the place name' 

2017: New Scientist, 'England's soggy place names could predict the climate future' 

2015: Nautilus, 'The Science Hidden In Your Town Name'   

2015: Le Monde, 'A la recherche de vikings dans le Cotentin' 

2015: BFM, 'Les Normands sont-ils des Vikings qui s’ignorent?' 

2015: Science et Vie Junior 'Quand l'ADN eclaire l'histoire Viking' 

2007: Channel 4, Time Team, 'A Tale of Two Villages: Wicken, Northamptonshire'

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