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UWTSD Home  -  Institutes and Academies  -  Institute of Education and Humanities  -  Institute of Education and Humanities Staff  -  Prof Janet Burton

Prof Janet Burton BA (Hons), D. Phil, FSA, FRHistS, FLSW

Professor of Medieval History

Tel: +44 (0) 1570 424933
E-mail: j.burton@uwtsd.ac.uk

  • Programme director, BA Medieval Studies, MA Medieval Studies
  • Supervision of research students (MPhil, PhD)
  • Undergraduate teaching in Medieval History and Medieval Studies
  • Chair of the REF panel, Archaeology, History, Anthropology cluster
  • Member of the University Research Committee
  • BA, History, University of London, followed by D.Phil. University of York, Department of History and Centre for Medieval Studies.
  • Worked for several years in the archive profession, in York and then in Aberystwyth.
  • Associate Lecturer / Lecturer / Senior Lecturer / Reader, then (from 2006) Professor of Medieval History
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society; former member of Council; former Vice-President
  • Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales

I teach mainly in the area of Medieval History and Medieval Studies.  At Level 4 I am module co-ordinator of ‘Introduction to Medieval Studies’ to which I also contribute, and I am one of the team delivering the module ‘Introduction to Fieldwork’.

At Level 5 I contribute to core modules on research methodology and medieval history. I offer a module entitled ‘The Cistercians and their World’ for final year undergraduates, and supervise undergraduate dissertations on a variety of topics. I am the programme director of the MA in Medieval Studies, and teach the compulsory modules ‘Research Methodology’ and ‘Studying the Medieval’ as well as option modules of ‘Thomas Becket: archbishop, martyr, saint’ and ‘The Origins of Cîteaux and the Growth of the Cistercian Order’. I supervise research students at MPhil and PhD level.

My research interests lie broadly in the field of the history of medieval monastic and religious orders and congregations. I have published books on medieval monasticism in regional contexts (Yorkshire, Wales) and on the Cistercians, the regular canons, and religious women. I work closely with colleagues with similar research interests in the UK and in Catalunya, Eichstätt and Dresden (Germany), Prague, and Dublin.

In July 2007 Dr Karen Stöber (then of Aberystwyth University,) I initiated the Monastic Wales project with a twin agenda:

  • to stimulate academic research, interdisciplinary in nature;
  • to publish the results of this collaborative research,
  • to disseminate knowledge about the medieval monasteries of Wales to a wider public, through electronic means (the website) and through engaging in outreach through public lectures and workshops. 

The non-academic aims were:

  • to enrich public understanding of the impact of medieval monasticism on medieval Wales, and of its importance in the political, social, cultural and economic development of Wales by means of the Monastic Wales website,
  • to encourage visitors to specific sites, both through the website and a book aimed at the general reader with an interest in historic sites, which has been commissioned by University of Wales Press. 

The impact of the Monastic Wales project has been achieved through the website, and through lectures to non academic groups. The website, currently in the English language only, was launched in October 2009; this has been  supported by a series of public lectures, tours and talks to the public and local history societies, of which the following is a sample:

  • 2010 Ceredigion Local History Forum
  • 2010 Bangor Medieval Wales Colloquium
  • 2011 Public lecture for the South Wales and the Marches Catholic Society
  • 2011 Lecture to the local branch of the National Trust
  • 2011 Guided tour for the local branch of the National Trust to Valle Crucis Abbey
  • 2012 Contribution to day school for the Carmarthenshire Archaeological Society
  • 2012 Lecture to the Llanon local history society
  • 2012 Lecture to the Powysland Club (Llanidloes)
  • 2012 Public lecture (J E Lloyd lecture) at Bangor University
  • 2013 Lecture to the Ceredigion Historical Society


Historia Selebiensis Monasterii: The History of the Monastery of Selby critical edition, with translation, commentary, and introduction: Oxford Medieval Texts (Oxford : Oxford University Press), 2013

Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2013), including own contribution, ‘Transition and Transformation: the Benedictine Houses’ (pp. 21–37)

The Regular Canons in the British Isles in the Middle Ages, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), with own contribution, ‘The Regular Canons and Diocesan Reform in Northern England’ (pp. 41–57)

(with Julie Kerr) The Cistercians in the Middle Ages (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2011)

Monasteries and Society in Britain and Ireland in the Later Middle Ages, ed. Janet Burton and Karen Stöber (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2008), with own contribution, ’Looking for Medieval Nuns: prosopographical possibilities’ (pp. 113–23)

 (ed. and trans.) The Foundation History of the Abbeys of Byland and Jervaulx (York: University of York, 2006)

(ed.) The Cartulary of Byland Abbey, Surtees Society, 208 (2004)

The Monastic Order in Yorkshire 1066–1215, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, fourth series, 40 (Cambridge: University Press, 1999; reprinted in paperback, 2006, and latterly as an e-book)

Medieval monasticism: monasticism in the medieval West from its origins to the coming of the friars (Bangor: Headstart History, 1996)

Kirkham Priory from foundation to dissolution, Borthwick Paper 86 (York: University of York, 1995)

Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain 1000–1300 (Cambridge: University Press, 1994, reprinted 1995, 1997, 2000, 2006)

(ed.), English Episcopal Acta V: York 1070–1154 (Oxford, for the British Academy,1988)

Recent articles and papers

‘After Knowles: new directions in Monastic Studies in England and Wales’, in Keeping the Rule: David Knowles and the Writing of History, ed. Dominic Aidan Bellenger and Simon Johnson (Stratton-on-the-Fosse: Downside Abbey Press, 2014), pp. 117-38.

‘Furness, Savigny, and the Cistercian World’, in Jocelin of Furness. Ed/ Clare Downham (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2013), pp. 7-16.

Moniales and Ordo Cisterciensis in medieval England and Wales’, in Female vita religiosa between Late Antiquity and the High Middle Ages: structures, developments and spatial contexts, ed. Gert Melville and Anne Müller, Vita Regularis, 47 (Berlin: 2011), pp. 375–89

‘The Cistercians in England’, in Norm und Realität: Kontinuität und Wandel der Zisterziener in Mittelalter, ed. Franz J. Felten and Werner Rösener (Mainz, 2010), pp.379–409.

‘Les Chanoines reguliers en Grande-Bretagne’, in Les Chanoines reguliers: émergence et expansion (xie-xiiie siecles), ed. M. Parisse (CERCOR: St Etienne, 2009), pp. 477–98.

‘Constructing a corporate identity: the Historia Fundationis of the Cistercian abbeys of Byland and Jervaulx’, in Self-Representation of Medieval Religious Communities: the British Isles in Context, ed. Anne Müller and Karen Stöber, Vita Regularis: Ordnungen und Deutungen religiosen Lebens in Mittelalter, Abhandlungen 40 (LIT Verlag: Berlin, 2009), pp. 327–40

‘Constructing the lives of medieval nuns’, in Recording Medieval Lives, Proceedings of the 2005 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. Julia Boffey and Virginia Davies (Stamford: Paul Watkins, 2009)

‘Citadels of God: Monasteries, Violence, and the Struggle for Power in Northern England, 1135–1154’, in Anglo-Norman Studies XXXI: Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2008, ed. Chris Lewis (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2008), pp. 17–30

‘Material Support: religious orders’, in The Cambridge History of Christianity: Christianity in Western Europe c. 1100–1500, ed. Miri Rubin and Walter Simons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 107–13

‘English Monasteries and the Continent in the Reign of King Stephen’, in King Stephen’s Reign, 1135–1154, ed. Paul Dalton and Graeme White (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2008), pp. 98–114

‘Past Models and Current Concerns: the origins and growth of the Cistercian Order’, in Revival and Resurgence on Christian History, ed. Kate Cooper and Jeremy Gregory, Studies in Church History, 44 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2008), pp. 27–45

Collaborative arrangements and networks

  • Member of the advisory board of Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte (FOVOG), Technische Universität, Dresden
  • Member of research network ‘Auctoritas’, University of Lleida
  • Membership of Research Council or other committees / advisory panels
  • Advisory board of the AHRC funded Monastic Archives Project (UCL)

Editorial positions

  • Joint General Editor for Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies (2012 onwards, published by Brepol)
  • Joint General Editor, Medieval Monastic Studies (book series, commissioned by Brepols, 2014)
  • Joint General Editor, Trivium (2008 to 2010)
  • General Editor, Boydell and Brewer, Monastic and Religious Orders series

Examination of doctorates (since 2008)

  • 2014 University of Leeds
  • 2013 University of Winchester
  • 2013 University of Edinburgh
  • 2013 University College Dublin
  • 2012 Trinity College Dublin
  • 2010 National University of Wales, Galway
  • 2010 University of York
  • 2009 University of Hull
  • 2009 University College Dublin
  • 2008 University College London 

Organisation of conferences (selected)

‘The Regular Canons in the British Isles in the Middle Ages’, conference organised at Gregynog March 2008, with panels at IMC Leeds, 2008

Thirteenth Century England conferences in September 2009 (Paris), September 2011 (Aberystwyth and Lampeter) and September 2013 (Aberystwyth and Lampeter)

‘Monastic Wales’ sponsored sessions at the International Medieval Congress , Leeds, July 2010, 2011, 2012

Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies sponsored sessions at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

(with Dr Karen Stöber) Annual conference on monastic studies, Monestir de les Avellanes, Catalunya (July 2011: El monacat femeni a l’Europa Medieval; July 2012: L’espai sagrat al mon monastic medieval: July 2013: Els monastirs I el mon a l’Europa medieval; July 2014 Mons religiosos a l’edat mitjana@ jueus, cristians, musulmans) 

Refereeing publications and proposals

  • Peer reviewer for AHRC
  • Review of proposal and submitted book, Manchester University Press
  • Review of book proposals for Cambridge University Press (two), with scrutiny of manuscrips
  • Review of submission for Welsh History Society 

Keynote lectures

  • 2008 Durham Historical Association
  • 2009 Invited lecture to the Eden Valley Historical Society
  • 2010 Durham Historical Association
  • 2010 Micheal O Cleireigh Institute, University College Dublin
  • 2010 Annual Kirkdale Lecture (St Gregory’s Minster)
  • 2011 Keynote speaker at ‘Medieval Furness in its Context’ conference
  • 2011 Public lecture at Downside Abbey
  • 2011 Public lecture for the South Wales and the Marches Catholic Society
  • 2012 Contribution to day school for the Carmarthenshire Archaeological Society
  • 2012 Lecture to the Llanon local history society
  • 2012 Lecture to the Powysland Club (Llanidloes)
  • 2012 Lecture to Forschungsstelle für Vergleichende Ordensgeschichte (FOVOG), Technische Universität, Dresden
  • 2012 Public lecture (J E Lloyd lecture) at Bangor University
  • 2013 Keynote address at the University of Stirling

Invited seminar / conference papers

  • 2008 ‘Self representation’ conference organized by FOVOG
  • 2008 Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bristol
  • 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 papers at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds
  • 2010 Medieval Wales History Colloquium, Bangor University
  • 2011 Monastic Archives day conference, UCL
  • 2011 Welsh History Forum
  • 2012 Seminar presentation to the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Prague
  • 2012 Seminar paper to the annual colloquium at Cérisy la Salle, Normandy
  • 2013 Paper at the International Medieval Congress, Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • 2013 paper at the ‘Auctoritas’ conference in Lleida
  • 2014 paper at the IMC, Leeds
  • 2014 lecture to the conference ‘Augustinian Art, Architecture and Liturgy’, held at the University of Oxford.