About our staff
Dr Bill Aird
MA (Hons.) History (Edinburgh) PhD (Edinburgh), FRHS
Senior Lecturer; Medieval History
Programme Director for MSc in Medieval History
Affiliated research centres
I am a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and remained there for doctoral studies, which concerned the impact of the Norman Conquest on Durham in the North-East of England and Southern Scotland. Before returning to Edinburgh in 2011, I held a number of lectureships around the United Kingdom, including posts at UEA, Manchester University, and Sheffield. My last post was a Senior Lectureship at Cardiff University, where I was based from 1995 to 2011. My interests in Medieval European History and the Norman diaspora have involved a gradual shift south from Southern Scotland/Northern England to Normandy and, most recently, to Puglia in Southern Italy. I have been fortunate enough to have been asked to deliver research papers throughout the EU, the USA, Japan and most recently, Beijing in China.
Tympanum, Basilica di San Nicola, Bari (Puglia).
I have served on the Steering Committee of History UK (HE) and as a delegate on the EU History network, Cliohnet.
Summary of research interestsPlaces:
- Britain & Ireland
My research interests include the history of the European Central Middle Ages, focusing on the Norman diaspora of the period, c. 900-1200, in Northern France, the British Isles and Ireland, and Southern Italy. They also include aspects of medieval ecclesiastical history, such as the role of the bishop; saints and their cults, and the history of monasticism. In addition, I have an interest in representations of the the Medieval ‘Other world’ in dream narratives, ghostly apparitions and descriptions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Further research areas concern the problems and possibilities of historical biography; masculinities and the gendered representation of men in medieval sources, particularly in the period, c.1000-1200. Finally, I have an interest in the Victorian and early twentieth-century historiographical foundations of the study of medieval history in Britain and North America: particularly through the work of Edward A. Freeman (1823-92), and Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1937).
Current research activities
I am currently working on an edition of The Life of St Margaret of Scotland. The text in question details the life of Queen Margaret (d. 1093), the Anglo-Saxon wife of Malcolm III and mother of kings Edgar, Alexander I and David I of Scotland. This is a key source for the history of Scotland in the later eleventh and early twelfth centuries. In addition, I am compiling a study of Charisma and medieval leadership. This employs the concept of charisma to examine the characteristics of medieval political and religious leadership. Utilising interdisciplinary research on the concept of leadership and organisations, this project examines the articulation of medieval social groups, including royal and ecclesiastical hierarchies. Continuing the interest in medieval biography, I am writing a biography of the notorious royal administrator and later bishop of Durham Rannulf Flambard (d. 1128). Provisionally entitled Factotum: Ranulf Flambard and the origins of medieval royal administration, the book will examine Rannulf's career as King William Rufus's procurator and his acquisition of the bishopric of Durham in 1099. His career offers a route to understanding the development of royal bureaucracy in the late eleventh century, as well as illustrating the many functions of bishops in the early Central Middle Ages.
- Medieval Scottish History
- Introduction to Medieval Europe 2A
- Introduction to Medieval Europe 2B
- The Normans in Eleventh-Century Europe
- Discovering the individual: Medieval auto/biography, c.1050-1200
- The Conquest Generation, 1087-1135: England and Henry 1
- History Dissertation
- History in Practice
- History in Theory
Basilica di San Nicola, Bari (Puglia).
- Normandy and the Normans
- Medieval Men and Masculinities
Contributor to the following courses
- Sources of Medieval History
- MSc. Dissertation
|Name||Degree||Thesis topic||Supervision type||Link|
|Lawson, Helen||PhD||Travel and communication in early medieval Northumbria||Primary||link|
|Marks, Tom||PhD||Disinherited: Power, loyalty and legitimacy in Scotland during the War of the Three Kings, 1329-1341||Secondary|
|Otte, Christoph||PhD||Rural Economy and Estate landscapes in Early Medieval Scotland||Primary|
|Piercy, Jeremy||PhD||Evaluations of socio-economic constructs in late Anglo-Saxon England, the Moneyers of England Database: 973-1086||Primary||link|
|Reynolds, Gordon||PhD||'"Quid dico de remanentibus?" - Women and Crusade Homefront in England (1187-1241)'||Joint|
|Shepherd, Hannah||PhD||Gender, space environment: mapping place in saints' lives 1100-1300||Primary|
Books - Authored
Aird, B. (2008) Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy, c. 1050-1134. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer
Aird, B. (2013) Saint Anselm of Canterbury and Charismatic Authority. Religions, 5(1), pp. 90-108DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel5010090
Aird, W. (2022) Interpreting the king’s will: Multilingualism and the role of interpreters in eleventh- and twelfth-century England. In: Haruta, N., Arai, Y. and Roffe, D. (eds.) Approaches to History: Essays in Honour of Hirokazu Tsurushima. Tokyo: Tosuishobou, pp. 29-41
Aird, W. (2016) Orderic’s secular rulers and representations of personality and power in the Historia ecclesiastica. In: Rozier, C., Roach, D., Gasper, G. and van Houts, E. (eds.) Orderic Vitalis: Life, Works and Interpretations. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, pp. 189-216
Aird, W. (2015) 'Seeing Things with our Own Eyes': E.A.Freeman's historical travels. In: Bremner, A. and Conlin, J. (eds.) Making History: Edward Augustus Freeman and Victorian Cultural Politics. Oxford: OUP/British Academy , pp. 85-100DOI: https://doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197265871.001.0001
Aird, B. (2011) The Tears of Bishop Gundulf: Gender, Religion, and Emotion in the Late Eleventh Century. In: Beattie, C. and Fenton, K. (eds.) Intersections of Gender, Religion and Ethnicity in the Middle Ages. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 62-84
Aird, B. (2009) Le retour de croisé: Robert Courteheuse, duc de Normandie, et les consequences de la première croisade. In: Green, J. and Gazeau, V. (eds.) Tinchebray 1106-2006 : actes du colloque de Tinchebray (28-30 septembre 2006). Le Pays Bas-Normand: Flers, pp. 35-45
Aird, B. (2008) The Boundaries of Medieval Misogyny: Gendered Urban Space in Medieval Durham. In: Klusakova, L. and Teulieres, L. (eds.) Frontiers and Identities. Cities in Regions and Nations. Edizioni Plus – Pisa University Press, pp. 49-73