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Doctoral Research

Doctoral Research

Doctoral Projects in Progress

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Lynn Kilgallon Peter Crooks,
David Ditchburn

2014 kilgalll@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/LynnKilgallon

Parliaments and political culture: theory and practice in the insular world, c. 1399–1496

My research is focused on the relationship between parliaments and political culture in England, Ireland and Scotland in the fifteenth century. In this context political culture is understood as the collective and individual identities, attitudes, motivations, expectations and perceptions of medieval parliamentarians, which shaped their political behaviour. A primary concern of my thesis is to examine the interplay within parliaments across the insular world between political action and institutional constraints. This thesis will also consider how parliamentary institutions and political culture mutually influenced one another, and how that interrelationship shaped fifteenth-century parliamentary developments. The chosen case studies of England, Ireland and Scotland offer instructive contrasts between the English parliament (which was a national assembly but with ‘imperial’ concerns given the far-flung nature of English rule in this period), Irish ‘colonial’ parliaments and ‘sovereign’ Scottish parliaments. These contrasts make it possible to explore the impact of institutional differences on parliamentary development. Equally they help to illustrate important differences in how contemporaries both engaged with and shaped governance in each polity as part of a wider discourse on governance and identity.

Funding:
Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award (2015)

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Ronan Mulhaire Prof. Seán Duffy 2014 mulhairr@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/RonanMulhaire

Kingship, power, and authority in eleventh- and twelfth-century Ireland

My research is concerned with the power of Irish kings in the eleventh and twelfth centuries; more specifically, with the limits of royal power and ways in which it was opposed and delimited by those over whom the king ruled. Although much has been written about the 'power' and 'authority' of Irish kings, these concepts have, so far, remained undefined by the Irish historian. I seek to engage with 'power theory' and believe that the definitions and theories proffered by sociologists and political theorists could lead to new avenues of research.

The thesis is therefore about the exercise of power through a system of relationships, relationships among kings themselves – even in the post-Brian Boru era, Ireland retained a hierarchy of kingly ranks at local, provincial and national level – and between kings and people. And in regard to the latter, this project will seek to reach beyond the relationship between the royal, aristocratic, and lordly classes (secular and ecclesiastical) to consider, in so far as our evidence allows, relationships between the king and those lower down the social scale (engaging with sociological and anthropological analyses such as the work of James C. Scott on passive peasant resistance to hegemonic dominance).

Funding:
Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award (2015)

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
John Tighe (Seán Ó Taidhg) T.B. Barry 2014 jtighe@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/JohnTighe

Settlement Patterns of Southern Connacht AD400-1200: A re-assessment

The aim of this thesis is to chart the changing settlement patterns through the societal and political changes which occurred in the early medieval period in Southern Connacht. This will use a whole host of sources, both historical and archaeological, to piece together the changes in settlement, both secular and ecclesiastical, which altered the landscape of Southern Connacht in this period. It will also examine the roles of internal and external factors in the development of settlement patterns in the region, particularly the spreading of Christianity. The changing nature of ecclesiastical settlements altered the means of production and distribution, so it is imperative that changes in farming practices as well as the route-ways towards the new markets be explored. Finally, an attempt will be made to fit the context of Southern Connacht into archaeological and ethnographical records, both within Ireland and internationally, to gain a greater understanding of the changing landscape in a theoretical manner.

To achieve this a re-assessment of the legacy data will take place, casting a critical eye on techniques used, as well as the use of computer programs, such as GIS and NetLogo, to produce datasets which will allow a dynamic view of the raw data.

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Stephen Hewer Peter Crooks, David Ditchburn 2013 hewers@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/StephenHewer

Justice for all? Access by ethnic groups to the English court system in Ireland, 1252-1327

This thesis explores the question of access based on ethnicity to the English court system established in Ireland after the advent of the English. It does so on the basis of an intensive analysis of the under-utilized surviving court records at The National Archives of Ireland. These sources contain a vast amount of information which will greatly advance our knowledge of the high medieval society in English Ireland. The neglect of these records has led some historians to miss the detail and internal differences of the high medieval society. Most of the original parchment rolls were destroyed, intentionally, by the IRA at the start of the Irish Civil War (30 June 1922), and now there are only a handful of surviving original court rolls. The surviving calendars (Latin and occasionally English transcripts) of the originals created in 1819-23 by the Records Commission contain thousands of cases. The late-thirteenth and early-fourteenth-century society in English Ireland has been described, almost exclusively, as a dichotomy. The thesis will show that access to the English courts was available to a wider section of the population than was hitherto believed, including many Gaelic Irish. It also seeks to identify and explain a hardening of attitude in the first quarter of the fourteenth century, as the 'Gaelic' people were increasingly excluded from the English common law in Ireland.

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Brian Coleman Seán Duffy 2012 colemanb@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/BrianColeman

‘Every lord and gentleman of the said land’: The gentry of English Ireland, c.1399–c.1513

The purpose of this thesis is to provide the first in-depth study of the gentry of fifteenth-century English Ireland as a class. Historians of later medieval England have long recognised the importance of the English gentry as the principal agents of royal government in their localities, and have debated the relative importance of magnate retinues and ‘county community’ as the focus of gentry identity and careers. However attempts to extend the analysis of these studies to the English colony in Ireland have so far been limited. This thesis attempts to address this absence by studying the relationships between members of the gentry, with a particular eye on their mutual co-operative association in the ‘county community’, and the vertical ties between the gentry, the magnates, and the royal administration. A particular focus will be on the role of the gentry as agents in their localities of ‘self-government at the king’s command’. This will involve a prosopographical study of the officers of local administration in fifteenth-century Ireland which will explore the size, social structure, and varying levels of engagement with royal government of the gentry through patterns of individual and family service.

Funding:
Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award (2013)

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Rhiannon Carey Bates Seán Duffy 2012 careybar@tcd.ie  

The cathedrals of medieval Ireland: formation and function, 1111–1378

This thesis offers an examination of the mechanisms governing Irish cathedrals from the synod of Ráith Bressail in 1111 to the Great Western Schism in 1378. It is the first ever attempt to understand the history, rather than the architecture of these institutions. The raison d'être of cathedrals, their governance, personnel structures, relationship with Rome and comparisons with similar institutions elsewhere, have not been examined in the Irish context.

My research focuses around two central themes. Firstly, to what extent do Irish cathedral chapters mirror the 'four pillars' paradigm of those in England (and on the continent), or do they tread their own distinctive path? By profiling the dignities that constitute a chapter I have drawn attention to any patterns that have emerged as well as any inconsistencies between the ecclesia inter Hibernicos and the ecclesia inter Anglicos. John Watt's 'two nations' theory is the second theme which runs through this study. It exposes the differences between the church within the pale, where it is supposed the two nations divide was weakest, and the church within Gaelic territories

Funding:
Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award (2014)

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Christina Wade Terry Barry 2012 cwade@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/ChristinaWade

Gender as a medium to negotiate power as evidenced in the funerary materials of Ireland

The central objective of my thesis is the examination of how gendered constructs and their negotiation in grave goods were modified as a result of cultural contact and amalgamation in Viking Ireland. This project examines the archaeological sources to ascertain the influence conquest and settlement had on societal expressions of gender and patriarchy in Viking furnished burial practice. In particular, this study will analyze the semiotics of violence and magic; specifically considering how these symbols might have been represented in ‘gendered’ expressions within burial. Essentially, my study examines how gender was used as a medium to negotiate power and societal dominance as evidenced in funerary materials.

Progressing from the perceived universal binary of man/woman, my thesis engages with gender, specifically utilizing masculinities and femininities to contribute to the better understanding of the multitude of nuances in the myriad of constructions and hierarchies of gender. Masculinity and femininity are not stable or fixed categories and are subject to fluctuations based on societal constructions and individual interpretations. Utilizing feminist theory enables this study to deconstruct gender identities in order to scrutinize the divergent ways gender was represented and altered in this context; as well as understand how these shifting definitions impacted gendered systems of power.

Funding:
Trinity Postgraduate Research Scholarship

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Roman Bleier Seán Duffy 2011 bleierr@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/BleierRoman

St Patrick’s writings: from manuscript to digital edition

Roman works on a digital edition of St Patrick’s two epistles, Confessio and Epistola ad milites Corotici, using the encoding recommendation of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). His new edition is based on diplomatic transcriptions of all seven surviving medieval manuscript witnesses and attempts to explore Patrick’s epistles in their manuscript context. The electronic transcriptions are a translation of the manuscript witnesses in a machine-readable format and will allow further computer-aided analysis and online presentation of the individual manuscript witnesses.

Funding:
PRLTI 5, Digital Arts and Humanities (DAH)

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Brian McNamee Prof. I.S. Robinson 2011 bmcnamee@tcd.ie  

The political thought of Pope Gregory VII (1076-85)

Gregory VII is remembered as the pope who initiated the notion of the supremacy of the apostolic see in temporal as well as ecclesiastical matters. The assumption in the twentieth and twenty-first century secondary literature is that this was an unintended consequence of Gregory’s pursuit of spiritual reform, and that his political ideas were subsidiary to his religious motives. This dissertation investigates that assumption. This attempt to discover what his political ideas were, and what weight he placed upon them, involves a careful examination of the language of the pope’s preserved correspondence: some 440 letters together with more than two dozen other documents, mostly synod records and oaths.

Part 1 presents the aims of the study, discusses the nature and provenance of Gregory’s surviving letters, outlines the relations of Church and state at the start of his pontificate, and summarises some of the relevant scholarship on this pope. Part 2 is a detailed territory-based examination of Gregory’s correspondence relating to the contemporary Christian rulers and their domains. It identifies the key political issues raised in the papal letters, and analyses the language that he uses in his advice or admonitions to these rulers. Part 3 is a comparative thematic study of the political ideas which dominate Gregory’s correspondence. The study concludes that Gregory’s attempts to achieve the independence of the Church from lay control and to impose the authority of the apostolic see on the whole of Christian society were intrinsically political as well as spiritual.

 

Name: Supervisor: Year Research Commenced: Email Webpage:
Stuart Gorman Prof. Terry Barry 2007 Gormanst@tcd.ie https://tcd.academia.edu/StuartGorman

The Technological Development of Bows and Crossbows in Late Medieval Europe

The bow and crossbow are two of the most iconic and important weapons in late medieval warfare. My research uses a broad collection of archaeological data gathered from surviving medieval weapons to try and establish both the form these weapons took and how they changed between centuries.


Last updated 1 September 2015 medieval.history@tcd.ie (Email).