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Department of History

Matthew Mesley

Matthew Mesley, Dr.

  • Research Assistant
+41 44 634 27 90
+41 44 634 49 13


Matthew Mesley was awarded an MPhil in Medieval History at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (2005), and an Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD at the University of Exeter (2005-09). In 2009 he was awarded a six-month Scouloudi Foundation Research Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research, London. He is preparing his PhD thesis for publication, which is provisionally titled Depicting the Bishop: Hagiography and Religious Communities in England, c. 1070 – c. 1215.

Since a successful viva in January 2010 he has taught at the Universities of Warwick, East Anglia, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich and New York University, London Campus. In April 2010, with Dr Louise Wilson, he co-organised a conference entitled Contextualizing Miracles in the Christian West, 1100-1500: New Historical Approaches, which was sponsored by the Royal Historical Society, Medium Aevum: The Society for the Study of Medieval Languages and Literature, and the University of Cambridge Faculty of History Doctoral Conference Fund. A collection of essays based on the papers presented at the conference is now in preparation.

He currently is a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Zurich, working on a research project directed by Prof. Dr. Almut Höfert and financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation. His section of the project is entitled Die Männlichkeit der Kirchenfürsten.

Research Interests

His interests are broad and include the role of the bishop in the Middle Ages, the secular clergy, hagiography and saints’ cults, narrative texts, rituals (in texts or otherwise), kingship, Christian-Jewish relations, the history of gender and sexuality and the development of historiography. He has reviewed for The English Historical Review, Early Medieval Europe and the Journal of British Studies.

Curriculum vitae

  • 2005-2009: PhD, University of Exeter: Funded by both the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Institute of Historical Research. Thesis entitled: ‘The Construction of Episcopal Identity: The Meaning and Function of Episcopal Imagery within Latin Saints’ Lives of the Long Twelfth Century’.
  • 2008-2009: Scouloudi Junior Fellowship at the Institute of Historical Research, London.
  • 2004-2005: MPhil Medieval History, University of Cambridge, Corpus Christi College. ‘Representations of Masculinity in Anglo-Norman Narratives during the Twelfth Century’.
  • 2001-2004: BA [Hons, 1st] History, University of Exeter. 'Interpreting Political Rituals within Post-Conquest Histories’. Awarded Bertram Wolffe Prize for Best Marks in Medieval/Renaissance History


Forthcoming papers in 2012

12th May, 2012: 'Remembering Lincoln’s Episcopal Saints in the Thirteenth Century', sponsored by the Lincoln Record Society at International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo.

8th July, 2012: ‘Omnibus omnia erat: Episcopal Gender and Religious Authority in the Narratives of the First Crusade,’ at Religious Men in the Middle Ages, University of Huddersfield.

9th July, 2012: The Ecclesiastical Discourse on Episcopal Masculinity in the High Middle Ages', at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds.


January-May 2011: Lecturer at New York University in London (Fixed-Term): Module organizer of the unit Social Foundations II.

Provided an introduction to the period between the earlier Middle Ages and the Enlightenment, and included lectures on a variety of texts: e.g The Diary of Lady Murasaki, The Alexiad by Anna Comnena and Montaigne's Essays.

2010-2011: Lecturer of Early Modern History at University Campus Suffolk (Fixed-Term): Module organizer for the unit Early Modern Europe, 1500-1789: Crises, Identities and Transformations.

2010-2011: Associate Tutor at the University of East Anglia: 1st year unit: Introduction to Medieval History 1st year unit: Antisemitism throughout History/The Holocaust in History 2nd level unit: Anglo-Saxon England: C.500-1066

2009-2010: Associate Tutor at the University of Warwick. 1st and 2nd year unit: The Medieval World

2006-2007: Graduate Tutor at the University of Exeter. 1st year unit: History Foundation Course - Students learnt about the practical and methodological issues historians face.


‘‘De Judaea, muta et surda’: Jewish Conversion in Gerald of Wales’s Vita Sancti Remigii’, in English Society and the Jews in the Middle Ages: The York massacre of 1190 in Context, ed. Sarah Rees Jones and Sethina Watson (forthcoming, Summer 2012).

Review of S. Bartlet, Licoricia of Winchester: Marriage, Motherhood and Murder in the Medieval Anglo-Jewish Community (Edgware, 2009) for the Journal of British Studies, 50 (2011), p. 182-3.

Review of D. Alexander, Saints and Animals in the Middle Ages (Woodbridge, 2008) for The English Historical Review, 125 (2010), pp. 676-78.

Review of M. F. Giandrea, Episcopal Culture in Late Anglo-Saxon England (Woodbridge, 2007) for Early Medieval Europe, 16 (2008), pp. 365-66.

In Progress Publications

Co-editing a collection of essays entitled Contextualizing Miracles in the Christian West, 1100-1500: New Historical Approaches (To be submitted to Medium Aevum Monographs)

I am revising my PhD thesis for publication, provisionally entitled Depicting the Bishop: Hagiography and Religious Communities in England, c. 1070 – c. 1215. (To be submitted to Ashgate Publishers)

An RHS-funded paper I presented at the Haskins Society Conference Gerald of Wales and the Episcopal Ideal. I have been invited to submit this paper to the Haskins Society Journal.

Recent Research Papers Presented

December 2011: ‘Gerald of Wales and the Episcopal Ideal’, History Lab Seminar at the Institute of Historical Research.

September 2011: New Perspectives on Medieval Lincolnshire Conference, University of Nottingham, ‘The Shining Lamps of Lincoln: Sanctifying Episcopal Lineage in the Thirteenth Century’.

March 2011: Gender and History Workshop, University of Cambridge, ‘Thinking about how Twelfth-Century Jewish Women were Represented: A Conversion Miracle in the Life of Remigius’.