Dr Hugh Willmott FSA MCIfAHugh Willmott

Senior Lecturer in European Historical Archaeology

Undergraduate Exams and Assessment Officer

Programme Director of the MA Medieval Archaeology

BA Hons., MA, PhD (Dunelm)

Email address

0114 2222940

Department of Archaeology, Northgate House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 4ET

Room 202

Brief personal biography

Hugh studied Anglo-Saxon and later medieval archaeology at the University of Durham, completing his PhD in 1999. After a brief period working in commercial archaeology, he was appointed a lecturer in European Historical Archaeology at Sheffield in 2004, and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2010.

Research interests

Hugh's research interests lie in the the medieval and early modern periods in Europe, and the archaeology of monasticism in particular.

Currently, he is primarily focused upon exploring the archaeology of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, although other aspects of his work include the examination of early medieval industrial processes and the evolution of monastic settlement in Lincolnshire.

Current research projects

Converting from Christianity, the Archaeology of the Dissolution

In 2011 Hugh started a major survey and excavation project centred on the well-preserved monastic enclosure at Thornton Abbey, Lincolnshire, a site that was converted into a early modern estate by several successive families of wealthy landowners. This project is a key case study in a wider research project investigating the aftermath of the Dissolution on the Monasteries in England.

Little Carlton Anglo-Saxon Settlement

Hugh was recently involved along with Dr Adam Daubney (Portable Antiquities Scheme) in the discovery and excavation of the Middle Saxon marshland settlement at Little Carlton, Lincolnshire. To date, their work has identified Little Carlton as a very significant high status site occupied between c. 650-780 AD. As well as evidence for literacy in the form of writing styli and inscribed lead plaques, excavations have shown that the site site was clearly the focus for extensive trading and industrial activity.

Early Medieval Industry

Hugh has recently finished investigating (with Prof. Kate Welham of Bournemouth University), the Saxon glassworking evidence from Raleigh Radford´s 1950s excavations at Glastonbury Abbey as part of an AHRC funded project. He is now looking at the evidence for glass manufacture from other Middle Saxon monastic sites, and Barking Abbey in particular.

Newark Civil War Siegeworks Project

Working with Dr Rachel Askew, Hugh is currently establishing a community outreach project to be jointly run by the University of Sheffield and Newark & Sherwood District council's recently established National Civil War Centre, focusing on the Civil War era siegeworks surrounding Newark-on-Trent. These represent the most complete example of their kind in the UK, and the project will utilise the latest geophysical and topographical survey techniques to revaluate upstanding earthworks and features previously thought to have been destroyed in order to produce an accurate reconstruction of a mid-17th century town at war.

Research supervision

Hugh is interested in supervising research students who have an interest in medieval archaeology and/or material culture studies.

Recently completed PhD students- First Supervisor

  • Rachel Askew - The social role of material culture in Civil War period castles (2013)
  • Alex Cassels - Dress accessories in England AD 1200-1500, an archaeological study of consumption (2014)
  • Claire Finn - The material culture of drinking in the 17th-century Dutch Republic (2014)
  • Charlotte Howsam - Book fittings and fixtures: an archaeology of medieval literacy (2016)
  • Freya Massey - Ritual practices and special deposits in vernacular housing of the post-medieval period (2014)
  • Greig Parker - The material environment and the formulation of social identity amongst Huguenot communities in London (2011)
  • Verónica Velasquez Sánchez-Hidalgo - Maiolica and the construction of ideologies in New Spain (2015)

Current PhD students- First or Joint Supervisor

  • Francesca Breeden (Co-supervised with Prof. Emilia Jamroziak, University of Leeds)- An archaeological study of the medieval Charterhouses of the English Province (WRoCAH)
  • Courtenay-Elle Crichton-Turley - The application of structure-from-motion 3D modeling in material culture studies (Transforming Research Methods in the Humanities Award)
  • Samantha Garwood - Christian and Muslim interactions in the post-medieval Adriatic: an examination of cultural and economic exchange through the analysis of shipwreck assemblages (UoS Studentship)
  • Martin Huggon- The Medieval Hospitals of England and Wales: investigating the archaeology of a forgotten institution (AHRC)
  • Tom Rusbridge - Leather and Life: Objects and their Actors in Early Modern England (WRoCAH)
  • Peter Townend - An Archaeological Study of the Monastic Order of the Gilbertines



  • Archaeology of the Medieval Church (coordinator)
  • Archaeology of Death & Burial (coordinator)
  • World Civilisations
  • Towards Modernity
  • Catastrophe & Climate Change


  • From the Wars of the Roses to Elizabeth, the Archaeology of England 1455-1603 (coordinator)
  • Heritage Museum and Field, Medieval Archaeology in Practice (coordinator)
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Ethnicity & Identity in Early Medieval Europe
  • Society & Culture in the Later Middle Ages (coordinator)

Selected publications


  • Glass from the Gnalić Wreck. Univerza na Primorskem. ISBN: 9616328425 (with I.Lazar).
  • A History of English Glassmaking AD 43-1800. ISBN: 0752431315
  • John Baker's 17th-century glass furnace at Vauxhall. Museum of London Monograph 28. ISBN 1-901992-44-6 (with K. Tyler).
  • Consuming Passions: Dining from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century. ISBN: 0752434454. (With D. Hadley & M. Carroll).
  • Early Post-medieval Vessel Glass in England: C.1500-1670. Council for British Archaeology ISBN: 190277129X.

Recent Book Chapters and Papers

  • Saxon glass furnaces. (with K. Welham), in Gilchrist, R. (ed.). Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79, London: Society of Antiquaries of London Monograph, 218-38. (2015)
  • Table glass in the West Country home, c. 1500-1700, in Allan J, Alcock, N & Dawson, D. (eds) West Country Households, 1500-1700. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 321-38. (2015).
  • Excavations of an Early 17th-century glass-making site in Shinrone, Co. Offaly, Ireland. (with J. Farrelly & C. O'Brien) Post-Medieval Archaeology 48/1, 45-89. (2014)
  • 'Glazeniers en het vervaardigen, herstellen en hergebruiken van vensters', Jaarboek Abdijmuseum ten Duinen Novi Monasterii 13, 121-8. (2013).
  • 'Late Seventh-Century Glassmaking at Glastonbury Abbey' (with K. Welham), Journal of Glass Studies 55, 71-83. (2013).
  • 'Changing to Suit the Times, a Post-Dissolution History of Monk Bretton Priory, South Yorkshire'. (with A Bryson) Post-Medieval Archaeology 47/1, 136-63. (2013).
  • Glass recipes and the output from a 19th-century glass works: examples from Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd., Jersey Street, Manchester. (with C Jackson & I Miller), Industrial Archaeology Review 34/1, 51-64. (2012).
  • 'The hidden material culture of death: coffins and grave goods in late 18th- and early 19th-century Sheffield', (with D Mahoney-Swales & R O´Neill) in King, C & Sayer, D. (eds) The Archaeology of Post-Medieval Religion. Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology Monograph, 215-232. (2011).
  • 'Irish glassmaking in its wider context', in Hearne, JM (ed) Glassmaking in Ireland 100AD - 2005 AD. An archaeological, historical, social and economic survey, 1-14. Irish Academic Press (2010).

Full publications list

Recent presentations

  • Keynote Speaker- ‘A Century of Excavation: Challenging Some of the Myths of Monastic Archaeology in the 21st century’, Leeds Monasticism Conference (May 2014)
  • Invited Speaker- ‘Recent excavations at Monk Bretton Priory’, Yorkshire Archaeological Society (April 2014)
  • Invited Speaker- ‘The role of glaziers in the repair and recycling of medieval monastic windows in England’ 6th International Colloquium Abbey Museum Ten Duinen 1138, Koksijde (October 2013)

Other professional activities

  • External Examiner, School of Sciences, University of Staffordshire (2015- )
  • Membership Secretary, The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, and formally assistant editor for the society’s journal, [top rated 'A' by the European Reference Index for the Humanities] (2009-)
  • Peer reviewer for the Qatar National Research Fund (2011-)
  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (2002-)
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2005-)

Other media links

Monk Bretton Priory