Charles Roe

Charles Roe

PhD Student

Summary: Medieval literature: particularly poetics, prayer, and imagination; Anglo-Norman, Latin, and manuscript studies

Location: School of English 9.1.9

Teaching Commitments: Level 2: Renaissance literature (1580-1630) Level 1: Poetry: Reading and Interpretation


Research Interests

I study the literary culture of medieval England, and the ways in which we encounter it through surviving manuscripts.

More specifically, I am writing a PhD thesis on the way in which the unusual dialect of French which developed in England between 1100 and 1350 - most conveniently known as Anglo-Norman - was used as a medium for prayer and religious literature. Taking a corpus of manuscripts produced between 1275 and 1350, the period from which most of our Anglo-Norman writing survives, my work explores the poetic texture of this eccentric French dialect in relation to English, the most widely spoken language in England at the time, and Latin, the language used in the official rites of the Church.

The evidence with which this project works inevitably offers a skewed view of medieval reading and imagination, as it is based on the body of manuscripts which survive. This allows me to examine the way in which these manuscripts have been read, altered, exchanged, and preserved over the centuries, and particularly in the years between about 1350 and 1530, when Anglo-Norman is often assumed to have died out as a language of literature and devotion. By looking at the ways in which people treated and valued their Anglo-Norman books, alongside the few examples of their reproduction, I aim to bring up a forgotten texture and context to English literature between Chaucer and the Reformation.

Conference Papers, Seminars, and Other Activities

  • Contributor to the Ordered Human Project, exploring Robert Grosseteste's development of pedagogy and epistemology, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, 2017-
  • 'Style and Exclusion in the Mirour de seinte eglyse', Leeds International Medieval Congress, 2017
  • International Itinerant Palaeographic School fellow, Bari and Florence, 2017
  • 'St Edmund of Abingdon: Authority, Sanctity, and the Landscape', Lords and the Landscape 800-1300, University of Oxford, 2017
  • Participant in COST Action IS1301 Training School on 'Late Medieval and Early Modern Book Culture', Athenaeum Library, Deventer, 2016
  • ‘The Mirour de seinte eglyse: ‘rudement endité’?, Pastoralia in the Late Middle Ages: Teaching, Translation, Transmission, University of Kent, 2016
  • ‘Anglo-Norman Catechesis as a Discipline’, English Graduate Conference: Discipline and Excess, University of Cambridge, 2016
  • ‘The Value of the Vulgate Cycle in High Medieval England’, English Graduate Conference, Oxford, 2015
  • ‘King Arthur’s Godliness’, Medieval French Seminar, Oxford, 2015
  • ‘The Vulgate Cycle and the Vernacular in High Medieval England’, Medieval Church and Culture Seminar, Oxford, 2015

Member of the Leeds Medieval Group steering committee.

Recruitment Officer for ARC UK, the UK branch of an international organisation exchanging young people as tour guides at cathedrals across Europe. 


  • Arthur Cawley Scholarship Prize, for PhD research in medieval literature in the School of English, 2016- 
  • Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship, 2016-2020
  • Junior Paget Toynbee Prize in Old French, University of Oxford, 2014
  • Mason Lowance Prize, in honour of John Creaser, for outstanding performance in the second year of the Honours School of English at Mansfield College, Oxford, 2013
  • Mason Lowance Prize, in memory of Malcolm Parkes, for best distinction level performance in English Prelims at Mansfield College, Oxford, 2012
  • Academic Scholarship, University of Oxford, 2012