Staff Profile

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Dr. Leonie Hicks

Senior Lecturer

School: School of Humanities

Campus: Canterbury

Tel: 01227 767700 ext 1665

Profile summary

Email address: leonie.hicks @ canterbury.ac.uk

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Leonie studied History at University of Cambridge before moving to the University of Nottingham to complete an MA in Archaeology. She returned to Cambridge for her doctorate under the supervision of Prof. Elisabeth van Houts. Prior to joining the department at Christ Church she was a teaching fellow at University of Southampton for several years. Her research interests lie in the social, cultural and religious history of Europe in the central middle ages, especially the Normans, religious life and gender. Her approach is informed by both historical and archaeological methodologies as well as theory relating to the use and importance of space/place. She is also interested in interdisciplinary teaching and you can read more about this aspect of her work in the teaching section.

Leonie has participated in the Social Church Network of early career ecclesiastical historians and the Norman Edge symposia at Lancaster University. She regularly organises and participates in sessions at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds, most recently establishing a strand on landscapes and seascapes. Her current projects include a planned monograph on ‘Landscapes of the Normans' and a joint project with Dr Nicholas Karn (Southampton) on 'Editing Medieval Texts'.

Research and knowledge exchange

Current projects


‘Landscapes of the Normans'


Within Norman chronicles the landscape was the stage on which the nature of political territories and social relations was determined and changed. It was, however, much more than just the backdrop to heroic deeds or conquest, but was integral to the chroniclers' understanding of the environment around them, their own place in it and also the place and role of their subjects - the Normans - in the wider medieval world. This project will also consider how the way modern historians and archaeologists' understanding of the landscape has changed the way we approach research in this area.

'Editing Medieval Texts'

Along with Dr Nick Karn (Southampton) she has organised a workshop on the theory and practice of editing medieval texts in March 2013 and a round table at the International Medieval Congress.

Past projects


Religious Life in Normandy: Space, Gender and Social Pressure' Leonie’s first monograph considered the religious life in Normandy focusing on the day-to-day interaction of the laity, professed religious and the clergy and how this was negotiated through the creation and use of sacred spaces (churches, monasteries and hospitals).

Society and Culture in Medieval Rouen 911-1300 (with Dr Elma Brenner, Wellcome Trust) is an edited collection of essays on the important medieval city of Rouen, the capital of Normandy. It was published by Brepols in 2013.

Journeying Along Medieval Routes (with Dr Alison Gascoigne and Dr Marianne O'Doherty Southampton), is a volume of essays  arising from a very successful stand at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds. This book will enhance our understanding of the experience, conditions, conceptualisation and impact of human movement in western Europe and the Middle East between late antiquity and the thirteenth century. 

Teaching and subject expertise

Leonie's past and current teaching covers many aspects of the middle ages including religious history, gender, Norman history and archaeology. With colleagues in English and Archaeology at University of Southampton she developed new interdisciplinary modules on castles and the Vikings open to a wide range of Humanities students and others outside the faculty with a genuine interest in medieval history. As many medievalists take an interdisciplinary approach to their own work, these modules encourage students to engage with current debates at the forefront of scholarship. She hopes to continue developing this approach at Christ Church

Leonie has just published  A Short History of the Normans forI.B. Tauris. This book is designed to appeal to a general readership and will be particularly useful for students thinking about studying the Normans at A-level or at university. It has grown out of third-year teaching on the Normans.

Current teaching responsibilities include:

Year 1: 'Kings, Queens and Conquerors in MEdieval Europe' and 'Making History'

Year 2: 'Life and Death in Medieval Europe' and 'Castles in Medieval Society' 

Year 3: 'From Norsemen to Normans

Leonie is also happy to supervise third-year undergraduates wishing to undertake a medieval history dissertation.

Postgraduate: Leonie welcomes enquires from potential graduate students interested in medieval Norman history, gender or ideas of space and place in the middle ages.

External activities

Leonie is a a member of the Society for Medieval ArchaeologyHaskins society and Mondes normands médiévaux. She is a former committee member of History Lab Plus 

Invited seminar talks and conference papers:

  • 2015 ‘Medieval Journeys: Normans and Other Problems’, London Medieval Society colloquium in honour of Alfred Hiatt
  • 2015 ‘Landscapes of the Normans: Ways of Seeing’ Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture, University of Southampton; 2012 University of Bangor
  • 2014 ‘Retrouver la compréhension et la signification de l’espace médiéval à l’abbaye du Bec-Hellouin en Normandie’, journée des études, ‘Pour une histoire de l’espace au Moyen Âge’, LaMOP Université de Paris I: Sorbonne and CNRS
  • 2013 ‘Landscapes of War’ University of Winchester
  • 2012 ‘The landscape of pilgrimage and miracles in Norman narrative sources’, Crusade and Pilgrimage in the Norman World, MMU
  • 2010 ‘The Norman frontier in the chronicles’, Local Boundaries and National Frontiers in the Norman World, AHRC-funded Norman Edge project Lancaster University
  • 2010 ‘Landscape and fighting in Norman chronicles’, London Society for Medieval Studied
  • 2009 ‘Coming and going: the use of space in Norman and Anglo-Norman chronicles’, Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies
  • 2008 ‘Landscape and monastic reform’, Social Church Workshop for early career historians, York
  • 2007 ‘Refreshment in Norman religious houses’, Medieval Diet Group symposium on gender and diet, Somerville College, Oxford

Public history and outreach

  • Historical advisor to National Maritime Museum, Falmouth for successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid for their current Vikings exhibition
  • History51 ‘Sea Women’ event, Fowey September 2013 (Hypatia Trust, Heritage Lottery Funded project )

Leonie also give talks to historical societies and local sixth-form groups, including brances of the Historical Association, U3A, and the Winchester Catholic History Society.

Publications and research outputs

Religious Life in Normandy: Space, Gender and Social Pressure, c.1050-1300 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2007)

‘Magnificent Entrances and Undignified Exits: Chronicling the Symbolism of Castle Space in Normandy’, Journal of Medieval History, 35:1 (2009), 52-69

‘Comings and Goings: The Use of Outdoor Space in Norman and Anglo-Norman Chronicles’, Anglo-Norman Studies, 32 (2010), 40-56

‘Monastic Authority, Landscape and Place in the Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis’, in Authority and Gender in Medieval and Renaissance Chronicles, ed. J. Dresvina and N. Sparks (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholar Press, 2012), 102-20

‘The Concept of the Frontier in Norman Chronicles: a Comparative Approach’, in eds  A. Jotischkyand K. Stringer, Norman Expansion: Connections, Continuities, and Contrasts c. 1050-c. 1200 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013), 143-64

‘Through the City Streets: Movement and Space in Rouen as Seen by the Norman Chroniclers’ in eds Leonie V. Hicks and Elma Brenner, Society and Culture in Medieval Rouen, c.911-1300 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013); also the introduction and an essay on ‘The Jews in Medieval Rouen’ co-authored with Brenner in the same volume

 ‘The Landscape of Pilgrimage and Miracles in Norman Narrative Sources’, in eds. K. Hurlock and P. Oldfield, Crusading and Pilgrimage in the Norman World (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2015), pp. 177-94

‘Normans Travelling to and in Southern Italy and Sicily’ in eds Alison Gascoigne, Leonie V. Hicks and Marianne O’Doherty, Journeying Along Medieval Routes (Turnhout: Brepols, 2016), pp. 115-42; also the co-authored introduction in the same volume, pp. 0-22

A Short History of the Normans (London: I.B. Tauris, 2016)

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 07:34:00