Staff members of the Centre for Medieval Studies are engaged in a wide range of research projects, singly or in collaboration with scholars from other institutions. Listed below are our major funded projects currently in progress.
- Warhorse: the Archaeology of a Military Revolution?
- Popular Healing: Christian and Islamic Practices and the Roman Inquisition in Early Modern Malta
- A Sorcerer’s Handbook: Medieval Arabic Magic in Context
- Learning French in Medieval England: the Manuscripts of Walter de Bibbesworth’s ‘Tretiz
- Exeter: A Place in Time
- Understanding Landscapes
- The Past in its Place: Histories of Memory in English and Welsh Locales
This project, led by Professor Yolanda Plumley, represents the first large-scale and sustained campaign to unite scholars from different disciplines in a programme of collaborative research into the works and manuscript sources of fourteenth-century French poet-composer Guillaume de Machaut (c1300–1377). Supported by the Leverhulme Trust, the project brings together an interdisciplinary team of academic partners from the UK, USA and EU: Professor Yolanda Plumley (PI), Dr Uri Smilansky, Dr Tamsyn Rose-Steel (University of Exeter), Professor Barton Palmer (Clemson University), Dr Anne Stone (City University of New York), Dr Jacques Boogaart (University of Amsterdam), and Dr Domenic Leo (Youngstown State University).
At the heart of this initiative is the making of a complete edition of Machaut's entire oeuvre under the general editorship of Palmer and Plumley. This will be published in print form by the Middle English Text Series (METS) and the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages (TEAMS), University of Michigan Press. The new edition will also be downloadable gratis in digital format. Surprisingly, this initiative represents the first time all the literary and musical works will be edited to modern scholarly standards in a single campaign. The new edition includes introductory studies that synthesise new research with existing knowledge and full English translations, as well as reproductions of images drawn from the base Machaut manuscript used, along with critical notes. This scholarly work will be enhanced by purpose-made recordings of selected musical works and extracts by early music ensembles the Orlando Consort and Le Basile. These, along with materials linked to the project and other resources relevant to Machaut studies, will be presented on a dedicated project website.
This AHRC Cultural Engagement Project, entitled: ‘Bishop John Grandisson of Exeter (1327-69): the bishop, the cathedral and the diocese’ took place over three months in Spring 2013. With the aim of introducing schoolchildren and other interested audiences to the history of Exeter Cathedral through the life and work of Bishop John Grandisson, this project was the result of a successful collaboration between historians in the History Department at the University of Exeter and the librarians, archivists, educators and volunteers at Exeter Cathedral.
John Grandisson was a very active bishop even though he lived during a time when Exeter was in the grip of the Black Death. Plague ravaged the city from 1348 and caused significant social and economic upheaval, but despite the many challenges that he faced during his long episcopate of forty-two years, Bishop Grandisson was able to make a powerful and lasting impact on both the city and the Church. Grandisson was not only responsible for much of the current cathedral building, including the impressive West Front and the chapel which bears his name, but he also worked diligently to join the cathedral to the wider diocese, visiting local churches and promoting reform while also founding the parish church at Ottery St Mary. Furthermore, Grandisson is also known for compiling a number of books for use in the cathedral which survive to this day and record a liturgy unique to Exeter.
By looking at Bishop Grandisson’s life and legacy – as manifest in stone and parchment – this project explored issues of memory, place and identity in the South West. Taken together, these three themes provided the structure and direction for the research and resulted in the creation of a trail for schoolchildren at key stages 2 and 3 to follow in the cathedral (highlighting Grandisson’s life and times) along with an online exhibition of many of the notable objects associated with Grandisson, such as his gold ring, his books, his letters and the works of art and architecture commissioned by the bishop himself.
Dr Kitrina Bevan