Dr Bill Aird (MA (Hons.) History (Edinburgh) PhD (Edinburgh), FRHS)

Senior Lecturer; Medieval History


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 at UEA, Manchester University, and Sheffield University, and a Senior Lectureship at Cardiff University,  (1995 to 2011). My research interests in Medieval European History and the Norman diaspora have involved a gradual shift south towards warmer climes from Southern Scotland/Northern England to Normandy and, most recently, to Puglia in Southern Italy. I have deliverd research papers in the EU, the USA, Japan and most recently, Beijing, and Nanjing in China.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Steering Committee of History UK (HE); EU History networks, Cliohnet and Cliohres.

Undergraduate teaching


  • HIST08035 Medieval Worlds
  • HIST08044 Introduction to Historiography
  • HIST08032 The Historian's Toolkit


  • HIST10433: Bestiary. Animals in the Middle Ages
  • HIST10356: The Conquest Generation: Normandy and England, 1087-1135

Postgraduate teaching

Course organiser

  • PGHC11214: The Sources of Medieval History
  • PGHC11369: Medieval Men and Masculinities

Contributor to the following courses

  • MSc. Dissertation (History and Medieval History)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

Areas accepting Research Students in:

Most aspects of The Norman World, and the history of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries, except medieval military history (stricto sensu).

Representations and constructions of medieval masculinity.

Medieval royal government under the Norman king-dukes of England and Normandy (1087-1135).

Medieval historical biography.

Medieval hagiographical writings and communities.

Medieval visions of the afterlife: heaven, hell and Purgatory.

The modern foundations of British and American Medieval Historiography, especially the works of Edward A. Freeman and Charles Homer Haskins.

Current PhD students supervised

  • Liu Ming, PhD. 'The Itinerary of William of Malmesbury: A Study of a Benedictine Monk's Mobility in the Early Twelfth Century'. Primary Supervisor. 
  • Anne Harrison, PhD. 'A History of the Sheriff's Farm'. Primary Supervisor. 
  • Benni Campoleoni, PhD. 'Becoming heroes: construction(s) of masculine identity in medieval French and Northern Italian epic. Secondary Supervisor. 

Research summary



  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Mediterranean
  • Scotland


  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Migration
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Society
  • War


  • Medieval

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. Also 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, 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

Biography of Kings Edgar and Alexander I of Scots.

A study of Ranulf Flambard, royal administrator and, from 1099, Bishop of Durham (d. 1128).

The medieval monastery as a "total institution".

Knowledge exchange

Biography of Kings Edgar and Alexander I of Scots.

A study of Ranulf Flambard, royal administrator and, from 1099, Bishop of Durham (d. 1128).

The medieval monastery as a "total institution".

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Dr Bill Aird.

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