PhD Student Profile

Harriet Kersey

Harriet Kersey

PhD Student

School: School of Humanities

Campus: Canterbury

Biographical note

I am a full-time PhD scholarship student in History. I graduated with a 1st with honours in History with Archaeology in 2013 and went on to complete my Masters by Research in History in 2014. My MA was an in-depth study of the life of Isabella de Forz, countess of Devon and Aumale (1237-1293), with particular focus on the extent of her political agency on both a local and national level. My main interests are England in the thirteenth century and the lives and role of women in this period. I hope to take my research into the wider academic community in varying ways including seminars and publication. In my spare time I play the trombone and lacrosse for the university team.

Project title

The Heiresses of Chester, Derby, Leicester and Winchester: Female Inheritance and Property Holding in Thirteenth-Century England.

Research outline

The thirteenth century was an exceptionally turbulent period in English politics, the reigns of both John and Henry III saw bitter civil wars, and Edward’s, expensive foreign wars. This thesis is an investigation of the partition of some of the wealthiest English earldoms, namely those of Chester, Derby, Leicester and Winchester, within this period and their distribution into female hands; there is a particular emphasis on sisters inheriting jointly. Existing studies have highlighted that it was not unusual for women to inherit at this time but none have explored in detail the impact and what can be learnt from this in regards to the extent of female agency in the thirteenth century. In addition to this, it is hoped that this research will uncover more on the heiresses of Chester, Derby, Leicester and Winchester, whose lives, spanning the reigns of four English kings, are largely neglected within existing scholarship.

Supervisory Team

  • Professor Louise Wilkinson (first supervisor)
  • Dr Leonie Hicks (second supervisor)
  • Professor Jackie Eales (chair)

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Last edited: 13/12/2018 20:59:00