Before coming to Canterbury Christ Church University, Paul Dalton was for thirteen years at Liverpool Hope University College. Paul's primary research interests relate to the political, social and ecclesiastical history of England and Normandy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, including peace-making and the reign of King Stephen. Among Paul’s publications is Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire 1066-1154 (Cambridge University Press, 1994 and 2002) and as co-editor, Rulership and Rebellion in the Anglo-Norman World, c. 1066-c. 1216 (Ashgate, 2015).
King Stephen’s reign was deeply troubled by a protracted war fought against his cousin, Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I (d. 1135), and her son Henry of Anjou. The key issue at stake was Stephen’s accession to the throne in 1135 in contravention of an oath he had sworn to support Matilda. Described by one chronicler as a period when Christ and his saints slept, Stephen’s reign is often referred to as a period of anarchy. How appropriate is this term? How disruptive was the war? And why was it brought to an end through negotiation rather than military victory?