Professor Julia Barrow

Professor Julia Barrow

Professor in Medieval Studies

+44 (0)113 343 4394

Summary: Medieval ecclesiastical history 8th-13th century (particularly England); clergy; bishops and episcopal administration; charters; forged charters; historical writing.



I studied at St Andrews University (MA in Medieval History, 1978) and then at Oxford (D.Phil. 1983); the subject of my doctoral thesis was the bishops of Hereford and their acta (charters) 1163-1219. After several temporary positions, which included a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Birmingham 1986-9 and a year spent working for the Victoria County History of Cheshire 1989-90, I was appointed to a lectureship at the University of Nottingham and taught there until 2012.

Research interests

My research interests lie chiefly in church history c.700-c.1300, especially English episcopal charters and administration c.1000-c.1300, and the career structure of the medieval clergy in Western Europe c.800-c.1250. A developing area of interest is the concept of ‘reform’ and the extent to which this term can be applied in approaching the history of the western church in the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries. I have also worked on urban topography in the high middle ages, on the connections between the forging of charters and the writing of history in the twelfth century, on demonstrative behaviour, and on Bede’s use of biblical exegesis in his Historia Ecclesiastica.


  • The Clergy in the Medieval World: Secular Clerics, Their Families and Careers in North-Western Europe, c.800-c.1200 (Cambridge, 2015)
  • English Episcopal Acta, vii: Hereford 1079-1234 (Oxford, 1993)
  • English Episcopal Acta, 35: Hereford 1234-1275 (Oxford, 2009)
  • St Wulfstan and his World, ed. Julia Barrow and Nicholas Brooks (Aldershot, 2005)
  • Myth, Rulership, Church and Charters: Essays in Honour of Nicholas Brooks, ed. Julia Barrow and Andrew   Wareham (Aldershot, 2008)
  • ‘Grades of ordination and clerical careers, c.900-c.1200’, in Anglo-Norman Studies XXX, ed. C.P. Lewis (Woodbridge, 2008)
  • ‘Demonstrative behaviour and political communication in later Anglo-Saxon England’, Anglo-Saxon England, 36 (2007)
  • ‘The ideas and application of reform’, in The Cambridge History of Christianity, vol. iii, 600-1100, ed. J.M.H. Smith and T. Noble (Cambridge, 2008)
  • ‘The chronology of the tenth-century English Benedictine “reform” in Edgar’s reign’, in Edgar, King of the English, 959-975, ed. Donald Scragg, (Woodbridge, 2008)
  • ‘Bishop Brictius – Saint Brice’, in Beretning fra seksogtyvende tværfaglige vikingesymposium, ed. Niels Lund (Højberg, 2008)
  • ‘The ideology of the tenth-century English Benedictine “reform”’, in Texts, Histories, Historiographies: the Medieval Worlds of Timothy Reuter, ed. P. Skinner (Turnhout, 2010) 
  • ‘How Coifi pierced Christ’s side: a re-examination of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, II, chapter 13’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 62 (2011)
  • ‘Way-stations on English episcopal itineraries, c.700-c.1300’, English Historical Review, 127 (2012)
  • Who served the Altar at Brixworth? Clergy in English Minsters c.800-c.1100 (Leicester, 2013)
  • 'Danish ferocity and abandoned monasteries: the twelfth-century view', in The Long Twelfth-Century View of the Anglo-Saxon Past, ed. Martin Brett and David Woodman (Farnham, 2015), 77-93


I can offer supervision within the following areas, chiefly in England c.800-c.1300 but also comparatively across north-western Europe:

  • Bishops and clergy

  • Ecclesiastical history and prosopography

  • Charters

  • Historical writing

I cosupervise Berenice Wilson's PhD thesis on women in post-Conquest England, together with Pauline Stafford; with Ian Wood I am cosupervising Lia Sternizki's PhD thesis on visionary journeys to the afterlife in the early medieval west; with Alaric Hall I cosupervise Sami Kalliosaari's PhD thesis on Anglo-Saxon kingship and with Bill Flynn I cosupervise Darren Barber's PhD thesis on the Carolingian clergy and education.

Completed theses:

Marianne Wilson, 'Community, Kinship and Piety: Lincoln Cathedral Close c.1450-1500' (University of Nottingham, 2014), cosupervised by me and Rob Lutton (Nottingham). 

Maroula Perisanidi, 'Clerical Continence: a Comparison of Twelfth-Century England and Byzantium' (University of Nottingham, 2015), cosupervised by me and Mary Cunningham (Nottingham)



HIST2115 Charles the Great and Alfred the Great: Franks, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings in the Ninth Century

HIST2117 Conquerors and Conquered: England 1000-1135

HIST3510 Pastors and Prelates: Bishops in England, France and Germany, 950-1100


HIST5028 Bede's Northumbria