I was born in Portsmouth on Trafalgar Day. My undergraduate degree was Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic, at Cambridge; and my MA and PhD were in Medieval Art History, at the Courtauld Institute, London. My first academic job was as a lecturer in History of Art at Queen’s University, Belfast. I also taught medieval history at North London (then Poly, now University).
My first research interest was English medieval manuscripts (production and collection) 1066-1200. The aim was to look at how Norman ecclesiastics adapted to, and/or forced change in, the religious and scholarly culture of Anglo-Saxon England. This led to my first book, which was a study of monastic scholarship and regional identity in post-Conquest Northumbria. My post-doctoral research focused on monastic orders and their role in the transmission of the twelfth-century Renaissance into England. The inclusion of scientific and magical texts in English monastic libraries has been a more recent focus, related to my teaching on Medieval Magic. I have published widely in all these areas. My current research project is a study of the development of scientific astro-meteorology in twelfth-century England, in both monastic and university centres.
Within the Department I have served as Admissions Tutor for History and School Director of Admissions, and MA Director for Medieval Studies programme. Currently I am Director of the GCMS, MA Director for Medieval Studies programme, and Coordinator of Dissertations for History dept. I am Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries and I am a member of British Archaeological Association and Haskins Society.
Outside History I enjoy casting horoscopes; practising astro-meteorology and attempting to use an astrolabe.