Dr David Stone
Associate Lecturer (E&S)
I am a medieval historian with expertise in the economy and society of England c.1200-1500 and have taught at Exeter, on a part-time basis, since 2015. My main research interests are: the mentalities of medieval people; agriculture and the environment; the consumption of food and drink; and the demographic, social, and economic impact of the Black Death. I have also published translations of some of the documents on which the interpretation of such themes are based. Alongside teaching in a university setting, I also encourage and assist local communities to explore their past, not just through documented history but also archaeological test-pitting and the reading of the landscape. The cultural identity of a community is forged by its history; and the medieval period is a vitally important, and still-visible, layer of that history.
My research focuses mainly on manorial records and what they can reveal about the lives, the thoughts, and the world of medieval people. These amazingly detailed documents, which survive in abundance for thirteenth- to fifteenth-century England, have enabled me, for example, to explore the sophistication with which medieval farmers made agricultural decisions, to assess the impact of drought on human welfare in the early fourteenth century, and to reconstruct the social and economic impact of the Black Death. My current research priorities are threefold: mortality in the Black Death; the economy, society, and landscape of late medieval Dartmoor; and the lives of individual people at all levels of society.
External impact and engagement
I have always sought to encourage individuals and communities to explore the history of their locality, especially in the medieval and early modern periods. At the Institute of Continuing Education in Cambridge I have taught a dozen courses, supervised dissertations, and taken field trips to sites across East Anglia. I regularly give talks to local history societies and at public conferences. I have also volunteered to help with projects such as the Surrey Villages Group and the Heritage Lottery funded Moor Than Meets The Eye. The latter provides opportunities for communities on Dartmoor to engage with their local heritage and environment; in assisting with this, I have given talks, taught palaeography classes, carried out archaeological test-pitting, led field trips, and provided individual help with research. For more information about this project see www.moorthanmeetstheeye.org.
I read history and geography at Queens’ College, Cambridge, remaining there as a postgraduate student to study for a PhD in medieval economic history. On its completion, in 1999, my thesis was awarded the Prince Consort Prize, Seeley Medal, and Ellen McArthur Prize. I was subsequently appointed to the first joint Oxbridge research fellowship, at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. In 2007, I became the primary carer for my children and have continued to research, write, and teach medieval history on a part-time basis. I was an Affiliated Lecturer at Cambridge from 2008 to 2010 and have taught at Exeter since 2015.