Louise Wilkinson studied medieval history at King’s College London under Professor David Carpenter and Professor Dame Jinty Nelson, gaining her doctorate there in 1999. After spending four and a half fruitful and immensely enjoyable years working at The National Archives (U.K.) as a research fellow on the Completing the Calendar of Patent Rolls (Elizabeth I) Project, the Department of History and American Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University offered her a home. Since joining the Department in 2004, she has published several books on medieval women and the family, and her current research focuses on the contribution made by aristocratic and royal women to thirteenth-century politics, culture and society in the reigns of King John (d. 1216), King Henry III (d. 1272) and King Edward I (d. 1307). Louise is also passionate about medieval documents, a legacy of her days at The National Archives.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, building sandcastles at Joss Bay and Minnis Bay, and trying to find somewhere to store all the books that she buys and all the guitars that her husband collects. Her favourite places to visit in Kent are Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury Castle and Dover Castle.
Research and knowledge exchange
Louise was a co-director of the AHRC-funded Henry III Fine Rolls Project (a collaborative project with King's College London and The National Archives of the United Kingdom) and of the AHRC-funded Magna Carta Project (a collaborative project with the University of East Anglia, King's College London, All Souls College, Oxford, and The British Library). She is also delighted to serve as councillor (and joint general editor) of the Pipe Roll Society and on the Committee of the Canterbury Branch of the Historical Association. She is joint editor of Routledge's Queens of England series, which aims to publish a book-length biography for every English queen.
Louise was actively involved in the city of Canterbury's celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015, assisting the curators of the 'Canterbury in the Age of Magna Carta' exhibition at the Beaney (51,010 visitors) and of the touring HLF-funded 'Magna Carta Rediscovered' exhibition (30,480 visitors). She served on the national Magna Carta Academic and Education Sub-Commmitee for Magna Carta 800, and delivered numerous talks across Kent and England on Magna Carta and women in the age of Magna Carta. In collaboration with Canterbury Christ Church University's Outreach Team, Louise produced Key Stage 3 teaching resources on Magna Carta, around 2,000 of which were distributed to 45 schools across Kent.
Louise has organised the University's Annual Thomas Becket Lecture since 2006. She currently chairs the Canterbury 'Local' Becket 2020 Sub-Committee, involving partners, societies and heritage organisations across the city, which is helping to co-ordinate plans to mark the 850th anniversary of Becket's murder, and the 800th anniversary of his translation. She is a supporter of, and participant in, Canterbury's annual Medieval Pageant and Family Trail.
Teaching and subject expertise
Louise is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She teaches undergraduate modules on Angevin England (including the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John), and medieval women. She also teaches a Master's module on the reigns of King Henry III and King Edward I. She is particularly interested in medieval queenship and in the lives of royal and aristocratic ladies. She has also recently turned her attention to women and chivalry, considering how far chivalry was gendered in the Middle Ages. She has written two chapters - one on 'Gendered Chivalry' and another on 'The Chivalric Woman' for two forthcoming edited collections.
Louise supervises a lively community of research students in Canterbury who work on a range of thirteenth-century topics, including royal and aristocratic women, women of the knightly class, comital families, litigation over women's property rights, and Jewish acknowledgements of debt. She is happy to help prospective students develop research projects.
- 2017, contributor to 'In Our Time' with Melvyn Bragg, Dr Thomas Asbridge and Professor Stephen Church, BBC Radio 4 (4 May 2017, 'The Battle of Lincoln, 1217', http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08njv60)
- 2015, contributor to 'The Road to Magna Carta' and 'The Aftermath of Runnymede', Episodes 1 and 3 of a series on Magna Carta by Melvyn Bragg, BBC Radio 4 (5 and 7 January 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04y6wdt/episodes/guide)
- 2012, contributor to 'In Our Time' with Melvyn Bragg, Professor David Carpenter and Professor John Gillingham, BBC Radio 4 (1 November 2012, 'The Anarchy', http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01nl963)
- 2012, contributor to 'World At One' on Magna Carta, BBC Radio 4 (26 September 2012)
Recent conference papers and talks (select list)
- 2017, 'Women in the Medieval Forest', The Lincoln Charter of the Forest Conference, Lincoln Record Society / Bishop Grosseteste University
- 2017, 'Nichola de la Haye: Lincoln's Heroine?', Lincoln Castle
- 2017, 'Women in Government: Female Sheriffs, Castellans and Foresters in Thirteenth-Century England', Society for Medieval Archaeology Conference
- 2017, 'Nicholaa de la Haye and the Battle of Lincoln', The 800th Anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln Panel, The National Archives, U.K.
- 2017, 'Royal Daughters and Diplomacy at the Court of Edward I', Late Medieval Seminar, Institute of Historical Research
- 2016, ‘A loving husband, father and brother: Henry III and his Women’, Henry III Lecture Series, Gloucester Cathedral
- 2015, 'Families, Inheritance and Politics in the England of King John and Magna Carta', Centre for Advanced Study (CAS), Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
- 2015, 'Women in the Age of Magna Carta', Center for Constitutional Studies, Utah Valley University, U.S.
- 2014, 'An English King and his Daughters: Domestic Politics at Edward I's Court', International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds
- 2014, 'Unpicking the Battle of Lewes Tapestry: Medieval Women and Embroidery', Lewes Castle, unveiling of the Battle of Lewes Tapestry (14 May)
- 2014, 'Canterbury, King John and Magna Carta', Public Lecture, Canterbury Christ Church University
- 2013, 'In search of Amazons and Viragos: Women Castellans, Foresters and Sheriffs in Medieval England', Canterbury Branch of the Historical Association
- 2012, 'Eleanor de Montfort at Odiham and Dover in 1265', Kent and the South East at War Conference, Canterbury Christ Church University
- 2012, ‘Eleanor de Montfort’, The Battle of Lewes Conference
- 2011, ‘The Countess as Lord’, The Earl in Medieval Britain, Jesus College, University of Oxford
- 2011, ‘Women in the Fine Rolls’, The Henry III Fine Rolls Project: End of Project Conference, King’s College London
Publications and research outputs
Author, Women, lordship and power: the English aristocracy, 1199-1327 (contracted to Routledge's Medieval World Series, forthcoming)
Editor, The household roll of Eleanor de Montfort, countess of Leicester and Pembroke, 1265 (Pipe Roll Society, manuscript submitted)
Editor, with David Crook, The growth of royal government under King Henry III (Boydell, 2015), 302pp.
Author, Eleanor de Montfort: A rebel countess in medieval England (Continuum, 2012), 213pp.
Editor, with Paul Dalton and Charles Insley, Cathedrals, communities and conflict in the Anglo-Norman World (Boydell, May 2011), 252pp.
Editor, A cultural history of childhood and family in the Middle Ages, 800-1400 (Berg Publishers, 2010, 2014), 250pp.
Editor, with Liz Oakley-Brown, The rituals and rhetoric of queenship: medieval to early modern (Four Courts Press, 2009), 287pp.
Author, Women in thirteenth-century Lincolnshire (Boydell for the Royal Historical Society, Studies in History, 2007, 2015), 272pp.
Editor, Calendar of patent rolls 32 Elizabeth I (1589-1590), C 66/1337-1361 (List & Index Society, 301-2, 2004), 2 vols, 475pp.
Editor, Calendar of patent rolls 29 Elizabeth I (1586-1587) C 66/1286-1303 (List & Index Society, 295-6, 2003), 2 vols, 377pp.
Editor, Calendar of patent rolls 27 Elizabeth I (1584-1585) C 66/1254-1270 (List & Index Society, 293, 2002), 308pp.
Editor, Calendar of patent rolls 25 Elizabeth I (1582-1583) C 66/1223-1236 (List & Index Society, 286, 2001), 282pp.
‘The great household in wartime: Eleanor de Montfort and her familia’, The elite household in England, 1100-1550, ed. C.M. Woolgar, Harlaxton Medieval Studies XXVIII (Shaun Tyas, 2018), pp.29-55
‘Maternal abandonment and surrogate caregivers: Isabella of Angoulême and her children by King John’, Virtuous or Villainess: The image of the royal mother, ed. Carey Fleiner and Eleanor Woodacre (Palgrave Macmillan: 2016), pp.101-24
‘Reformers and royalists: aristocratic women in politics, 1258-1270’, Baronial reform and revolution, 1258-67, ed. A. Jobson (Boydell, 2016), pp.152-166