I grew up in Surrey, and local history interests were an early stimulus for my research on the English landscape. I graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1976, and after five years as a research student and Junior Research Fellow there, I was appointed to a Tutorial Fellowship at Queen’s in 1981. I maintain a long-standing involvement in practical archaeology, and in the worlds of building and landscape conservation. I appeared several times on Channel Four’s ‘Time Team’ series, and have made a Channel Four documentary on medieval beliefs in vampires. After retirement in October 2020 and election to an Emeritus Fellowship, I intend to continue my research activities as a full member of the College community.
Although a historian, I use written and physical evidence in equal measure: the interplay between environment, buildings, objects, and human activities has always fascinated me. My focus has been on England, but I have regularly pursued comparisons, especially with France, eastern Europe and Scandinavia. I have worked and published extensively on medieval social, economic and cultural history; on material culture and technology; on buildings and domestic environments; and on popular belief and religion. I have long practical experience in field archaeology, excavation, and the recording of buildings.
- (joint author) Planning in the Early Medieval Landscape (Liverpool University Press, 2020)
- Building Anglo-Saxon England (Princeton University Press, 2018)
- (ed.) Waterways and Canal-Building in Medieval England (Oxford University Press, 2007).
- The Church in Anglo-Saxon Society (Oxford University Press, 2005)
- Anglo-Saxon Oxfordshire (Sutton Publishing, 1994)
- Early Medieval Surrey (Sutton Publishing, 1991)