Professor Levi Roach
My teaching and research interests lie in the history of western Europe in the early and high Middle Ages. My most recent monograph, King Æthelred 'the Unready' (2016), was awarded the Longman-History Today prize for best 'scholarly but accessible' book. Since then, I have completed a book manuscript on forgery and historical memory at the turn of the first millennium, supported by an AHRC fellowship. This will be published by Princeton University Press.
Future projects include a popular history of the Normans, to be published by John Murray (Hodder & Stoughton); and an edition of the Anglo-Saxon charters from continental houses for the British Academy Anglo-Saxon Charters series.
My background lies in the study of kingship and royal governance, particularly in using charters and other documentary sources for this purpose, and I retain an active interest in these themes. Most of my early work was on later Anglo-Saxon England, but I increasingly work on France, northern Italy and (in particular) Germany, and the rich archival materials preserved there. I also have an active interest in modern debates about feudalism and the so-called mutation féodale ('Feudal Transformation/Mutation').
I am happy to supervise students working on the religious and political history of the British Isles and western Europe between c.800 and c.1200, particularly in the following areas:
- Kingship and governance
- Charters and diplomatic
- Religious reform
- Apocalypticism and prophecy
- Feudalism and the 'Feudal Revolution/Transformation'
External impact and engagement
I enjoy sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm with a wider audience. I have spoken to a variety of local groups over the years, including the Exeter branch of the Historical Association, the Exeter Cathedral, the Boniface Link Group (Crediton) and the South West Trust. This past year, my AHRC-funded project on 'Forging Memory: Falsified Documents and Institutional History in Europe, c. 970-1020' organised an exhbition on 'Forging the Past in Medieval Exeter' at the local Cathedral (May 2019).
Outside the South-West, I have spoken to audiences from Malmesbury in Wiltshire to Syndey in Australia, inlcuding the BBC History Weekend in York (20 Oct. 2018) and the Lyon Lecture at Harrow (Feb. 2018). This coming year, I am due to speak at the Sherborne Historical Society (5 March 2020).
Contribution to discipline
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (2014–)
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2015–)
- Member of the British Academy Anglo-Saxon Charters Committee (2016–)
- Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research (2017–)
- Review Editor, The Medieval Review (2017–19)
I regularly write for a wider audience, publishing articles and reviews in History Today, BBC History Magazine, the Literary Review and the Times Literary Supplement. I have also been quoted in the Mail Online and Independent, and appeared on BBC World and BBC Radio 4's When Greeks Flew Kites, discussing medieval promises and modern misuses of the Middle Ages.
- HIH1410 - Understanding the Medieval and Early-Modern World
- HIH1602 - The Fall of Rome: The Western Empire in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
- HIH2092B - Europe in the Tenth Century: Continuity and Change
- HIH3117 - The Age of AEthelred 'the Unready': Sources
- HIH3118 - The Age of AEthelred 'the Unready': Context
- HIH3618 - Power Elites: Ruling Groups across Space and Time
- HISM018 - Research Skills for Medievalists
- HISM019 - Critical Approaches in Medieval Research
I studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, and the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, completing my PhD at the former in 2011. My doctoral work focused on royal assemblies in later Anglo-Saxon England and a revised version of my thesis was published by the Cambridge University Press in October 2013. From 2011-12 I held a Research Fellowship (Title A Fellowship) at St John's College, Cambridge. In 2012 I took up a lectureship at the University of Exeter.