What’s Going On?

With my book proposal currently being peer-reviewed by the University of Wales Press and Leeds IMC 2015 approaching, I find myself adapting my ideas for future research. As part of the GW4 Alliance panel at Leeds, I’m giving a paper on the old chestnut of Medieval ‘Severnside’ connections, and the ways Marcher lords adapted and adopted these pre-existing trade routes and local affiliations. I’m still very interested in the Medieval midlands, though, and in the idea of cataloguing personal seals of the gentry/baronial/knightly ‘class’ by family into one handy compendium, county by county.

I may start with the Severnside counties, and begin with Cornwall, Somerset and Devon, just as an aside to my main research questions. Who knows? That may switch from a good side project to something major and fundable. A girl can dream.

What is Medieval ‘Severnside’?

I recently gave a paper at the Welsh History Conference at Cardiff University on this topic, outlining the basis of my research post-PhD and looking at possible avenues of exploration. It was well received, and I’ll be expanding on it for Leeds IMC’s GW4 panel. (Look out for paper 807-a, Tuesday 7 July 2015: 16.30-18.00)

Medieval ‘Severnside’ is a term used to refer to the south-west penninsula of England, coastal Wales and Ireland, as well as parts of Brittany, linked by a shared culture and the trade routes along the Severn sea. Bodies of water were not barriers but opportunities for trade and travel, and the DNA evidence which indicates the ‘Celts’ were not genetically linked but instead connected by a shared culture, adds to the waterways around the coast as being the vehicles for various levels of connectivity, and the means by which these networks were created, strengthened and maintained.

Yet, within the big picture of ‘Severnside’ connections exist a myriad of local networks and identities. I would like to look at the local networks and see what these details can add to the interpretations of the Big Picture, and also try to understand the impact of the Marcher lords as an overlay to this map of connections.

I’m hoping to add in the seals as I go, and create my compendium to aid future sigillographic and network scholarship.

Wish me luck, folks.