Dr Emily Joan Ward (BA (Hons), MA, DPhil)

Lecturer in Medieval Scottish History


Having benefited from the itinerant childhood which accompanies being the offspring of a parent working in the armed forces, I find it hard to answer the question of where I'm from. My passport tells me Wolverhampton, a city in which I spent less than a year of my life. By the time I reached my teenage years, we'd lived in five further places, including Hong Kong and Northern Ireland, before finally settling a little more permanently in rural Lincolnshire.

My attachment to medieval history can, on reflection, be attributed largely to parents who encouraged my love of castles, Lego knights, and fictional worlds which owe a lot to the Middle Ages. But I didn't realise I was a medievalist until I began a BA at the University of East Anglia. An MA in Medieval History quickly followed (something I could never have undertaken without funding from the AHRC). 

After the MA, I spent two years working for Norfolk County Council fostering dreams of returning to academia in some form. Thankfully, with help from further AHRC funding, I was able to do so. I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2017 with a thesis on comparative child kingship between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. 

I then spent just over three years as a Moses and Mary Finley Research Fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge before beginning a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at University College London. In 2022, I transferred my British Academy fellowship to Edinburgh and joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology, before taking up a lectureship in Medieval Scottish History in January 2024.

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate teaching

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Areas of interest for supervision

I would be happy to receive enquiries from prospective PhD students on a range of topics, especially those related to medieval Scotland or Europe across the central Middle Ages (c. 1000 - c. 1300). Projects which touch on themes such as rulership, women, childhood, youth and the life cycle, diplomatic history, or historical writing are especially welcome.

Research summary


  • Britain & Ireland
  • Europe
  • Scotland


  • Comparative & Global History
  • Culture
  • Gender
  • Politics
  • Society


  • Medieval
  • Medieval & Renaissance

Research interests

I am a comparative historian working on Britain and Europe between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, with an especial interest in understanding change and continuity over this period. My research touches on themes such as life cycle and gender, rulership and authority, and documentary culture and historical writing.

Current research interests

The relationship between age and identity is something which particularly fascinates me, and this forms the central focus of my current project on ‘Adolescence and Belonging in Medieval Europe, c.1000–c.1250’. I am interested in how concepts of adolescence shifted across the period, and how wider social and cultural changes impressed themselves on young people. My first monograph, "Royal Childhood and Child Kingship: Boy Kings in England, Scotland, France and Germany, c.1050–1262" was published with Cambridge University Press in 2022. The book combines an investigation of boyhood and upbringing with a detailed analysis of child kings and their early experiences of rule.


Royal Childhood and Child Kingship: Boy Kings in England, Scotland, France, and Germany, c.1050–1262, Studies in Medieval Life and Thought (Cambridge: CUP, 2022)

Books (edited)

Enigmas: The Darwin College Lectures, eds. Robert Reuvers and Emily Joan Ward (Cambridge: CUP, forthcoming 2022) [Multi-disciplinary essays deriving from the Darwin College Lecture Series 2020]

Conquests in Eleventh-Century England: 1016, 1066, eds. Laura Ashe and Emily Joan Ward (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020)

Articles and Book Chapters

‘“A Star Lit by God”: Boy Kings, Childish Innocence, and English Exceptionalism during Henry III’s Minority, c.1216–c.1227’, Thirteenth Century England, 18 (forthcoming, 2022)

‘Diplomatic Women: Mothers, Sons and Preparation for Rule in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries’,Frühmittelalterliche Studien (Special Issue – Verbis et Exemplis: Ruling Women, Charters, and Power, 800–1200), 55 (2021), 399–429

‘Child kings and the Norman Conquest: representations of association and succession’, in Conquests in Eleventh-Century England: 1016, 1066, eds. Laura Ashe and Emily Joan Ward (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2020), pp. 331–52

‘Child kings and guardianship in north-western Europe, c.1050–c.1250’, in The Routledge History of Monarchy, eds. Elena Woodacre, Lucinda H. S. Dean, Chris Jones, Zita Rohr and Russell Martin (London: Routledge, 2019), pp. 551–65

‘Child kingship and notions of (im)maturity in north-western Europe, 1050–1262’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 40 (2018), 197–211

‘Uerax historicus Beda: William of Malmesbury, Bede and historia’, in Discovering William of Malmesbury, eds. Rodney Thomson, Emily Dolmans and Emily Winkler (Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2017), pp. 175–87

‘Anne of Kiev (c.1024–c.1075) and a reassessment of maternal power in the minority kingship of Philip I of France’, Historical Research, 89 (2016), 435–53