Professor Emilia Jamroziak

Professor of Medieval Religious History,
Director of the Institute for Medieval Studies

+44 (0)113 343 3592

Summary: Medieval European and British religious history 12-15th c.; monasticism, frontiers and borders in medieval Europe.



I graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and Central European University in Budapest and received my PhD from the University of Leeds in 2001. Since then I held a lectureship in medieval history at the University of Southampton, a post of Research Officer at the Centre for Metropolitan History, University of London and I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of History and Classics, University of Edinburgh. I joined the University of Leeds in September 2005 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008 and to Professor in 2014. The recording of my inaugural lecture can be found here.

In March 2019 I will hold Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science's Invitational Fellowships for Research in Japan as a guest of Dr Toshio Ohnuki at Okayama University working on developing new approaches to medieval monastic culture. In 2015-16 I held Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers at the Technische Universität Dresden, in spring 2009 I was a fellow at the Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and in summer 2005 I held a fellowship at the Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas in Leipzig. 

I am a member of the board of the Medieval Central Europe Research Network (MECERN). 

Research interests

My research focuses on the interactions between religious institutions, especially Cistercian monasteries and the laity from the early twelfth to the early sixteenth century. Geographically my work spans Britain (particularly the North and Scotland), Central Europe, East-Central Europe and the Baltic. My 2005 monograph on Cistercian Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire examined the workings of local social networks and the reality of 'being a neighbour' of a powerful institution. My second monograph Survival and Success on Medieval Borders (2011) examined strategies of Cistercian communities on the frontiers of northern Europe. I have completed a new synthesis of the medieval history of the Cistercian order (Routledge 2013) and contributed to the Cambridge Companion to the Cistercian Order (ed. Mette B. Bruun). I have also co-edited with Janet Burton a volume on the theme of religious and lay interactions in Northern and Western Europe between 1000 and 1400 and with Karen Stöber another collection of article on the monasteries on medieval borders and frontiers of Europe.

I am also an invited contributor to the new Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism, ed. Alison I. Beach and Isabelle Cochelin (2018).

Current Research Projects

 My current research has two major strands.

Firstly, it is based on the AHRC-funded project 'The cult of saints in Cistercian monasteries in the later middle ages: regionalism and pan-European trends'. (2012-2013) and Humboldt-Stiftung funded 'The Cult of the "Founding Fathers" in Late Medieval Monastic and Mendicant Orders'. (2015-2016). A monograph, in preparation, examines the forms of the cult of saints in Cistercian monasteries from the 14th to the early 16th century to show how Cistercian communities became rooted in their regions and localities and how they took up new religious fashions, but also how the filiation networks continued to be an important route for the transmission of ideas across Europe. The project combines case studies (from Bavaria, Franconia and the Rhineland) with an extensive survey of Cistercian houses across European Christendom to show degrees of regionalisation and trans-regional network and the nature of cult-adoption within the Cistercian environment. The creation of the figure of  Bernard of Clairvaux as the 'founding father' of the order is examined in both textual and visual sources as well as wider process in late medieval culture. By doing so, I explain how the white monks adopted elements of popular religiosity to their relationship with the outside world, built it into their own institutional identity and their bonds with the Cistercian family and within the local context.

Secondly,  it emerged from the long-standing cooperation with Amanda Power  (University of Oxford). In the past, we have developed White Rose collaboration Monasticisms and Mendicancies that explored new approaches to the monastic and mendicant cultures in the late middle ages. It brought together a number of academics and postgraduates from Leeds, Sheffield and York through a series of workshops, IMS-sessions and roundtables. From 2016, Amanda Power, Sita Steckel and I lead New Religious Histories network. The aim of this project is to get to grips with the current state of religious history – particularly what ‘religion’ is and does – and to work collaboratively to communicate our sense of what is currently shaping the field, in limiting ways, and what needs to be done to improve it.  

Past Research

Digitizing the Monastic Past (2014-15) was a collaboration between the LHRI and the Institute for Medieval Studies. Together with  Michael Spence (IMS) I have received a Faculty of Arts Pump-Priming Award for a project that examines the surviving business manuscripts of Fountains Abbey, one of the largest and most important monastic institutions in the medieval North, in order to understand how its archive was constructed and deployed to manage the abbey’s institutional memory. We investigated ways in which information was amended, embellished and excised over four centuries, revealing the editorial decisions of successive abbots, and their strategies for controlling the historic representation of the monastery and the process of decision-making. The initial pump-priming stage conducted by Rene Hernandez Vera of the project build methodological ground-work for the next stage.  Whilst our application for the full-scale funding for a new digital critical edition of the abbey’s charters, charter registers and related manuscripts and their interpretation was unsuccessful, I intend to return to working on digital methods in the near future.

During 2007-08 academic year I completed the project 'Border loyalties and disloyalties: a comparative study', funded by the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society programme, which considered the role of Cistercian monasteries on the frontiers of northern Europe. Spanning twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, this project explored six case studies of Cistercian foundations in Pomerania and Neumark and on the Scottish-English border focusing on their involvement in the trans-border networks, relationships with the local and external centres of power as well as the impact of wars and other forms of violence on those monastic communities.  Listen to my podcast in which I describe the project and some of its results.

The outcomes of the project are a monograph Survival and Success on Medieval Borders: Cistercian Houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the Twelfth to Late Fourteenth Century and a database of Melrose Abbey charters created by Katharine Keats-Rohan. Also co-edited with Karen Stöber, a collected volume of studies exploring the roles and strategies of monastic houses on the political and cultural frontiers of medieval Europe (Brepols 2013). 

Past collaborative projects

Beyond Leeds I have been associated with several projects and networks:

I was a member of the international advisory board of the AHRC project 'The Paradox of Medieval Scotland 1093-1286 - Social Relationships and Identities before the Wars of Independence' and I also had the same role for the AHRC-funded project 'Breaking of Britain: cross-border society and Scottish independence 1216-1314' at the University of Glasgow.

Between 2008-2011 I have been involved in the Continuity, Society, Everyday Life and Religion in Northern Europe, 1450-1600 project of the Academy of Finland

Between 2004-2010 I have been a member of the British Academy's Network for Medieval Friendship.

Postgraduate Supervision

I would particularly welcome supervision in the following areas:

  • society and religion in high and late middle ages in Northern, Central and East-Central Europe
  • Cistercian order
  • monastic and mendicant culture
  • material culture of medieval monasticism (as a co-supervision with Dr Hugh Willmott, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield)

Current PhD students

  • Francesca Dornan: 'Communal Solitude: The Archaeology of the Carthusian Houses of the Provincia Angliae, 1178-1569' [co-supervision with Hugh Willmott, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield. Funded by WRoCAH] 
  • Kaan Gorman, 'The relationship between the medieval English laity and the evolution of the Carthusian Order in England, c.1178- 1500' [co-supervision with Melanie Brunner. Funded by the LARS scholarship]
  • Funda Hay, 'Transculturalism in Middle English Romances' [co-supervision with Catherine Batt. Funda is visiting PhD student from Ankara University, Turkey and a research assistant at the Department of English Language and Literature at the same university. She is a recipient of the TUBITAK scholarship] 
  • Andrea Mancini, 'Preaching and penitence in the age of Observance. The Summa confessorum of the Franciscan Nicholas of Osimo and the economic ethics of Observant Franciscans in the late Middle Ages (c1350-c1453)'  [co-supervision with Melanie Brunner] 
  • Victoria Yuskaitis, 'Anchorites in Shropshire: An archaeological and literary analysis of the anchoritic vocation' [co-supervision with Catherine Batt. Funded by the Faculty Cross-Disciplinary Research Scholarship]

Completed PhD thesis:

  • Dr Steve Werronen (2013): 'Ripon Minster in its social context: 1350-1530'. Steve is now a research assistant at Københavns Universitet, Denmark.
  • Dr Mike Spence (2014): 'Record-keeping at Fountains Abbey and the management of Malham in Craven'. Mike is Visiting Research Fellow in the IMS. 
  • Dr Audrey Thorstad (2015): 'Living in an Early Tudor Castle: Household, Display, and Space 1485-1542'. Audrey is Lecturer in Early Modern History at Bangor University. 
  • Dr Kirsty Day (2016) 'Constructing Dynastic Franciscan Identities in Bohemia and Polish'. Kirsty is Teaching Fellow in Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh. 
  • Dr Richard Thomason (2016): 'Hospitality in a Cistercian abbey: The case of Kirkstall Abbey in Leeds in the later middle ages'. Richard is Lecturer in Latin at the University of Kent, Canterbury.  
  • Dr Clarck Drieshen (2017) 'The dissemination and reception of visionary devotional instruction of continental origin in late medieval England'. Clarck is working in the Department of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in the British Library, London. 


Undergraduate Modules

  • Medieval Europe (HIST 1090)
  • Jewish Communities in Medieval Europe (HIST 2112)
  • Cult of Saints (HIST 2110)
  • Popular Belief in Medieval Europe (HIST 3290)
  • Magic & the Supernatural in the Middle Ages (MEDV 3310)

Postgraduate Modules

  • Research Methods and Bibliography (MEDV 5110)
  • Palaeography (MEDV 5120)
  • Religious Communities and Individual Experience of Religion, 1200-1500 (MEDV 5295)



Jamroziak, E.M. (2013) The Cistercian Order in Medieval Europe 1090-1500. Routledge.

Jamroziak, E.M.  and K. Stöber (eds.) (2013) Monasteries on the Borders of Medieval Europe: Conflict and Cultural Interaction. Medieval Church Studies 28. Brepols

Jamroziak, E.M. (2011) Survival and Success on Medieval Borders: Cistercian Houses in Medieval Scotland and Pomerania from the Twelfth to Late Fourteenth Century, Medieval Texts and Cultures of Northern Europe series. Brepols.

Jamroziak, E.M. and J.E. Burton (eds.) (2007) Religious and Laity in Northern Europe 1000-1400: Interaction, Negotiation, and Power, 2, Brepols and Monash University

Jamroziak, E.M. (2005) Rievaulx abbey and its social context 1132-1300: memory, locality and networks. Brepols.

Articles and book chapters:

Jamroziak, E.M. (2018) The Cistercians, Eugenius III, and the Disputed York Election. In: Iben Fonnesberg-Schmidt and Andrew Jotischky (ed.) Pope Eugenius III (1145-1153): the First Cistercian Pope (Amsterdam University Press),  pp. 102-124. 

Jamroziak, E.M. (2017) Zisterzienserstudien in Großbritannien - ein kleines Forschungsfeld mit Großen Fragen. In: Cistercienser Chronik 124 (2017), pp. 535-548. 

Jamroziak, E.M. (2017) Clairvaux and the British Isles. In: A. Baudin and A. Grélois (ed.) Le Temps Long de Clairvaux. Nouvelles Recherches, Nouvelles Perspectives (xiie- xxie) (Somogy edtions d'art), pp. 106-113.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2014) Cistercian Abbots in Late Medieval Central Europe: Between the Cloister and the World. In: M. Heale (ed.) The Prelate in England and Europe 1300-1560 (York Medieval Press/Boydell Press), pp. 240-257.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2013) The Self-Representation of the Late Medieval Cistercian Abbot. the Case of Henry Kresse of Bukowo Morskie. In: K. Kodres and A. Mand (ed.) Images and Objects in Ritual Practices in Medieval and Early Modern Northern Europe (Cambridge Scholars Publishing), pp. 227-238.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2013) Cistercian Identities in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Scotland: the Case of Melrose Abbey. In: M. Hammond (ed.) New Perspectives on Medieval Scotland 1093-1286 (Boydell Press), pp. 175-182.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2012) Centres and Peripheries. In: M. B. Bruun (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to the Cistercian Order (Cambridge University Press), pp. 65-79.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2011)  Burials and Politics of the Living and the Dead in Scotland and Pomerania in the High Middle Ages: The Case of Two Cistercian Monasteries. In: Ch. Krötzl and K. Mustakallio (eds.) On Old Age: Approaching Death in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Brepols), pp. 217-234.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2010) Spaces of Lay-Religious Interaction in Cistercian Houses of Northern Europe, Parergon: Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies 27 (2010), pp. 37-58.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2009) Cistercian Identities on the Northern Peripheries of Medieval Europe from twelfth to late fourteenth century. In: A. Müller, K. Stöber (eds.) Self-Representation of Medieval Religious Communities: the British Isles in Context ( LIT Verlag), pp. 209-220. 

Jamroziak, E.M. (2009) Genealogy in the Monastic Chronicles in England . In: R. Radulescu and E. D. Kennedy (eds.) Broken Lines. Genealogical Literature in Medieval Britain , and France, (Brepols), pp. 101-120.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2008) Cistercians and border conflicts: Some comparison between the experience of Scotland and Pomerania . In: J. Burton and K. Stöber (eds.) Monasteries and Society in the British Isles in the Later Middle Ages, Boydell Press, pp. 40-50.  

Jamroziak, E.M. (2008) Border Communities between Violence and Opportunities: Scotland and Pomerania Compared. In: R. Unger (eds.) Britain and Poland-Lithuania: Contact and Comparison from the Middle Ages to 1795, Brill, pp. 123-136.  

Jamroziak, E.M. (2007) How Rievaulx abbey remembered its benefactors. In: E.M. Jamroziak and J.E. Burton (eds.) Religious and Laity in Northern Europe 1000-1400: Interaction, Negotiation, and Power, 2, Brepols and Monash University

Jamroziak, E.M. (2006) St Mary Graces: a Cistercian House in the Late Medieval London . In: P. Trio and M. De Smet (eds.) The Use and Abuse of Sacred Places in late Medieval Towns, 38 , Leuven: Leuven University Press, pp. 153-164.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2005) The Networks of Markets and Networks of Patronage in the 13th century England . In: M. Prestwich, R. Britnell, R. Frame (ed.) Thirteenth Century England, 10, Boydell and Brewer, pp. 41-49.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2005) Making friends beyond the grave: Melrose Abbey and its lay burials in the thirteenth century. Citeaux: Commentarii Cistercienses, 56, pp. 323-336. 

Jamroziak, E.M. (2004) Making and breaking the bonds: Yorkshire Cistercians and their Neighbours. In: Terryl Kinder (ed.) Perspectives for an Architecture of Solitude: Essays on Cistercians, Art and Architecture in Honour of Peter Fergusson, 11, Brepols, pp.198-206.

Jamroziak, E.M. (2003) Rievaulx abbey as a wool producer in the late thirteenth century: Cistercians, sheep and big debts. Northern History, 40(2), pp. 197-218. 

Jamroziak, E.M. (2002) Klosterstiftungen polnischer Adeligen im 12. Jahrhundert: Fragen nach Motiven und "Selbstdarstellung". East Central Europe = L'Europe du Centre-est, 29, pp. 155-166.  

Jamroziak, E.M. (2002) Rievaulx Abbey and its Patrons: Between Cooperation and Conflict. Citeaux: Commentarii Cistercienses, 43, pp. 51-72.  

Jamroziak, E.M. (2001) Considerate Brothers or Predatory Neighbours? Rievaulx Abbey and Other Monastic Houses in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Century. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 73, pp. 29-40.

Jamroziak, E.M. (1998) Foundations of monasteries by members of the twelfth-century Polish nobility: a selection of cases. Annual of Medieval Studies at the CEU, 4, pp. 183-192

On-line Publications

Markets and Fairs in Thirteenth-Century England Data Collection, 900-1516, S. Letters, D. Keene, E. Jamroziak , 4969. 

Reviews in:

Bulletin of International Medieval Research; Catholic Historical Review; H-France; Early Medieval Europe; English Historical Review; Journal of Jewish Studies; The Medieval Review; Northern History; Reviews in History