Dr Hugh Willmott FSA MCIfA

Senior Lecturer in European Historical Archaeology

Programme Director of the MA Archaeology

BA Hons., MA, PhD (Dunelm)

Email address:

Telephone: 0114 2222940

Department Address:

Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Minalloy House. Room C09
10 – 16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ
United Kingdom



Hugh studied medieval and early modern 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.

In 2017 Hugh featured as one of the university's Inspirational Academics.

Professional Roles

  • Chairman of the Society for Church Archaeology (2019- )
  • Archaeological Adviser to the Diocese of Sheffield (2016- )
  • Council Member, Royal Archaeological Institute (2018- )
  • External Examiner, School of Sciences, University of Staffordshire (2016- )
  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (2002-)
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2005-)

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 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 early ecclesiastical settlement in Lincolnshire.

Current research projects

Scremby Anglo-Saxon Cemetery

Hugh is working with Dr Katie Hemer on the current excavations of the late 5th- and early 6th-century cemetery at Scremby, Lincolnshire. Excavation of over 20 burials has show the cemetery to have been the focus for a number of very high status burials, clearly displaying connections with both Continental Europe, but more interestingly communities living on the south coast of England.

The Middle-Saxon Settlement at Little Carlton

Nominated as Current Archaeology's Research Project of the Year 2017

Hugh led the Little Carlton Archaeology Project with focusing on the survey and excavation of the Middle Saxon marshland settlement at Little Carlton, Lincolnshire. To date, this work has identified Little Carlton as a very significant, high status, early Christian site and cemetery 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 Little Carlton was clearly the focus for international trade and industrial craftworking.

Converting from Christianity, the Archaeology of the Dissolution

Between 2011-16 Hugh undertook 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. Excavations also revealed the remains of the medieval hospital attached to the monastery and an extensive cemetery which included the first evidence for Black Death burials to have been found in England outside of London.

The Civil War Siege Works Project

Together with Dr Rachel Askew (of University of Central Lancashire), Hugh has established a community outreach project to be jointly run with the newly opened 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.

Early Medieval Industry and the Saxon Monastery

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.

Research supervision

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

Completed PhD students

Primary Supervisor

  • Rachel Askew - The social role of material culture in Civil War period castles (2013)
  • Francesca Breeden - An archaeological study of the medieval Charterhouses of the English Province (2018)
  • Alex Cassels - Dress accessories in England AD 1200-1500, an archaeological study of consumption (2014)
  • Courtenay-Elle Crichton-Turley - The application of structure-from-motion 3D modeling in material culture studies (2018)
  • Claire Finn - The material culture of drinking in the 17th-century Dutch Republic (2014)
  • Samantha Garwood - Cross cultural exchange in the post-medieval Adriatic: An examination of glass artefacts from the 15th through mid 18th centuries (2017)
  • Charlotte Howsam - Book fittings and fixtures: an archaeology of medieval literacy (2016)
  • Martin Huggon- The Archaeology of the Medieval Hospitals of England and Wales, 1066-1546 (2018)
  • 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)
  • Peter Townend - An Archaeological Study of the Monastic Order of the Gilbertines (2017)
  • Verónica Velasquez Sánchez-Hidalgo - Maiolica and the construction of ideologies in New Spain (2015)

Second Supervisor

  • Tamsyn Fraser - Investigating animal husbandry practices through the analysis of animal remains from medieval to modern times (2020)
  • Lenny Salvagno - The neglected goat: a methodological approach to the understanding of the role of this species in English medieval husbandry (2016)

Current PhD students

Primary or co-supervisor

  • Samuel Bromage (Co-supervised with Dr Kate Giles, University of York)- An Archaeology of the Dissolution of Urban Religious Houses in Yorkshire and its Impact on the Early Post-Medieval Townscape (WRoCAH)
  • Emma Hook- An archaeological and osteological investigation of the medieval hospital cemetery in England and Wales (WRCoAH)
  • Kathryn Libby- Metalworking and identity in Early Medieval Lindsey
  • Cait Scott- The Evolution of Audley End (AHRC CDP)

Second Supervisor

  • Angela Maccarinelli - The social and economic role of freshwater fish in medieval England (WRCoAH)
  • David Montgomery - Glass Imports to China on the Silk Road during the Han and Six Dynasties (WRCoAH)


Selected publications


Recent Book Chapters and Papers (last five years)

  • Willmott, H., Townend, P., Mahoney Swales, D., Poinar, H., Eaton, K. & Klunk, J. 2020. A Black Death mass grave at Thornton Abbey: the discovery and examination of a fourteenth-century rural catastrophe. Antiquity 94 (373), 179-96 .
  • Willmott, H. & Daubney, A. 2020. Of saints, sows or smiths? Copper-brazed iron handbells in Early Medieval England, The Archaeological Journal 177, 63-82.
  • Willmott, H. 2019. Glaziers and the removal, recycling, and replacement of windows during the Reformation in England. Church Archaeology 19.
  • Willmott, H. 2018. Cooking, dining and drinking, in Gerrard, C. & Guttierrez, A., The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 697-712.
  • Willmott, H. & Townend, P. 2016. Excavations at the Priory of St. Mary Magdalene of Lund, Monk Bretton. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 88, 121-50.
  • Willmott, H. & Welham, K. 2015. Saxon glass furnaces, in Gilchrist, R. (ed.). Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79, London: Society of Antiquaries of London Monograph, 218-38.
  • Willmott, H. 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.

Full publications list


  • The Dissolution of the Monasteries. Equinox Publishing (2020)
  • (with I Lazar) The Glass from the Gnalić Wreck. Univerza na Primorskem, Koper. (2006)
  • A History of English Glassmaking, AD43-1800. Stroud. (2005)
  • (with K Tyler) John Baker's 17th-Century Glass Furnace at Vauxhall. Museum of London Archaeology Service Monograph 28. (2005)
  • (ed. with M Carroll & D Hadley) Consuming Passions, Dining from Antiquity to the 18th Century. Stroud. (2005)
  • Post-Medieval Glass in England, c.1500-1670. Council for British Archaeology Research Report 132. (2002)

Chapters and refereed papers

  • A Black Death mass grave at Thornton Abbey: the discovery and examination of a fourteenth-century rural catastrophe (with Townend, P., Mahoney Swales, D., Poinar, H., Eaton, K. & Klunk, J.). Antiquity 94 (373), 179-96.
  • Of saints, sows or smiths? Copper-brazed iron handbells in Early Medieval England (with A. Daubney), The Archaeological Journal 176, 63-82 (2020).
  • Glaziers and the removal, recycling, and replacement of windows during the Reformation in England. Church Archaeology 19 (2019).
  • Cooking, dining and drinking, in Gerrard, C. & Guttierrez, A., The Oxford Handbook of Later Medieval Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 697-712 (2018)
  • Excavations at the Priory of St. Mary Magdalene of Lund, Monk Bretton. (with P. Townend), Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 88, 121-50 (2016)
  • (with K. Welham). Saxon Glassworking at Glastonbury, in Gilchrist, R. (ed.) Glastonbury Abbey. Excavations 1904-1979. London: Society of Antiquaries of London, 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).
  • (with J. Farrelly & C. O'Brien) Excavations of an Early 17th-century glass-making site in Shinrone, Co. Offaly, Ireland. 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).
  • A Brown Stoneware Phallic Jug from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, Post-Medieval Archaeology 48/1, 253-5. (2014).
  • (with K. Welham) Late Seventh-Century Glassmaking at Glastonbury Abbey, Journal of Glass Studies 55, 71-83. (2013).
  • (with A Bryson) Changing to Suit the Times, a Post-Dissolution History of Monk Bretton Priory, South Yorkshire. Post-Medieval Archaeology 47/1, 136-63. (2013).
  • (with C Jackson & I Miller) Glass recipes and the output from a 19th-century glass works: examples from Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd., Jersey Street, Manchester. Industrial Archaeology Review 34/1, 51-64. (2012).
  • (with D Mahoney-Swales & R O´Neill) The hidden material culture of death: coffins and grave goods in late 18th- and early 19th-century Sheffield, 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)
  • (with I Lazar) The glass from the Gnalić Wreck- preliminary report. Annales du 17e Congrès de l´Association Internationale pour l´Histoire du Verre Anvers, 2006 , 333-8. (2009)
  • Chapter 17 Glass, in Gerrard, C and Aston, M, The Shapwick Project, Somerset. A Rural Landscape Explored. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph 25, 765-78 (2007).
  • (with A Telfer) Rich refuse: a rare find of late 17th-century and mid- 18th-century glass and tin-glazed wares from an excavation in the National Gallery, London, Post-Medieval Archaeology 40/1, 191-213. (2006)
  • (with I Lazar) The late 16th-century glass from the Gnalić Wreck, an overview of forms., in Guštin, M, Gelichi, S and Spindler, K, The Heritage of the Serenissima, The presentation of the architectural and archaeological remains of the Venetian Republic. Ljubljana , Annales Mediterranea, 99-104. (2006)
  • Tudor Dining, object and image at the table, in Carroll, M & Hadley D and Willmott, H Consuming Passions, Dining from Antiquity to the 18th Century. Stroud, 121-142. (2005)
  • Venetian and façon de Venise glass in England , in Page, J (ed), Beyond Venice , Glass in the Venetian Tradition. New York , 270-307. (2004)
  • Tudor and Stuart Glass in London. Current Archaeology 186. (2003)
  • 2003 Some evidence for glassmaking from Silkstone, nr Barnsley , South Yorkshire . Centre For Archaeology Report 74/2003 . English Heritage, Portsmouth .
  • Glass in London and England ; forms and use, in Veeckman, J (ed), Maiolica en Glas van Italië naar Antwerpen en vender. De overdracht van technologie in de 16de-begin 17de eeuw. Antwerpen, 187-200. (2002)
  • Anglo-Dutch Drinking Glasses, comparisons of early 17th-century material culture. Journal of the Glass Association 6, 7-20. (2001)
  • A Group of 17th- Century Glass Goblets with Restored Stems; considering an archaeology of repair. Post-Medieval Archaeology 35, 96-105. (2001)
  • The Classification and Mould Grouping of Lion Mask Stems from London . Annales du 14 Congrès de L´Association Internationale pour l´Histoire du Verre, Italia Venezia-Milano 1998, 389-95. (2000)
  • English 16th- and 17th-Century Vessel Glass in the Context of Dining, in de Boe, G & Verhaeghe, F (eds), Material Culture in Medieval Europe, Papers of the Medieval Europe Bruges 1997 Conference Vol. 7, 185-190. (1997)

Specialist reports

  • Vessel glass, in Gilchrist, R (ed.) Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79, London: Society of Antiquaries of London Monograph, 311-13. (2015)
  • Glass, in Stansbie, D, Brown, R, Allen, T & Hardy, A. The Excavation of Iron Age Ditches and a Medieval Farmstead at Allcourt Farm, Little London, Lechlade 1999. Transactions of the Bristol & Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 131 65 (2013)
  • Glass, in Ford et al., Under the Oracle. Excavations at the Oracle Shopping Centre site 1996-8: the medieval and post-medieval urban development of the Kennet floodplain in Reading. Oxford Archaeology Monograph 36, 185-90. (2013).
  • Glass, in Brown, R & Hardy, A. Trade and Prosperity, War and Poverty. An Archaeological and historical investigation into Southampton's French Quarter. Oxford: Oxford Archaeology Monograph 15, 182-99. (2011)
  • 19 The Glass, in Harding, C, Marlow-Mann, E, & Wrathmel, S. The Post-Medieval Farm and Vicarage Sites. Wharram A Study of Settlement on the Yorkshire Wolds XII, York University Archaeological Publications 14, 239-52. (2010)
  • Post-Medieval Glassware, in Burch, M, Treveil, P. & Keene, D. The Development of Early Medieval and Later Poultry and Cheapside. Excavations at 1 Poultry and Vicinity, City of London. London: Museum of London Archaeology Monograph Series 38, 277-91. (2010)
  • Southampton French Quarter 1382 Specialist Report Download F8: Glass. Oxford Archaeology. Available at (2009)
  • Glass, in Norton, A. & Cockin, G. Excavations at The Classics Centre, 65-67 St Giles, Oxford. Oxoniensia 73, 185. (2009)
  • Glass, in Miles, A. & White, W. Burial at the site of the parish church of St Benet Sherehog before and after the Great Fire. London, MoLAS Monograph 39, 68. (2008)
  • Glass, in Munby, J et al From Stadium to Station Rewley Abbey and Rewley Road Station, Oxford. Oxford. Oxford Archaeology Occasional Paper No 16, 57-8. (2007)
  • Glass Objects, in Mays, S, Harding, C and Heighway, C. (eds) The Churchyard. Wharram a Study of Settlement on the Yorkshire Wolds XI, York University Archaeological Publications 13, 299-301. (2007)
  • Appendix 9: Glass, in Brady, K, Smith, A, Laws, G, Abingdon West Central Development. Oxoniensia 73, 183-85. (2007)
  • The glass, in Nolan, J and Vaughan, J, Excavations at Oakwellgate, Gateshead, 1999. Archaeologia Aeliana 5th Series XXXVI, 218-22. (2007)
  • Medieval and post-medieval glass, in: Garner, D et al. Excavations at Chester, 25 Bridge Street 2001: two thousand years of urban life in microcosm. Archaeol Serv Excav Surv Rep 14, 288-301. (2007)
  • Stone Artefacts, in Caple, C. Excavations at Dryslwyn Castle 1980-1995. Society for Medieval Archaeology Monograph Series 26, 272-7. (2007)
  • Glass, in Dungworth, D, & Cromwell, T, Glass and pottery manufacture at Silkstone, Yorkshire. Post-Medieval Archaeology 40/1, 169-171. (2006)
  • The vessel glass from the 13th to 16th centuries, in Cramp, R, Wearmouth and Jarrow Monastic Sites. Swindon , English Heritage, 321-324. (2006)
  • The glass (with Tyson, R), in Killock, D and Meddens, F (eds) A 17th-century maritime site in Limehouse, London , Post-Medieval Archaeology 39/1. 52-8. (2005)
  • The vessel glass, in Woodfield, C, The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and some conventual buildings at the Whitefriars, Coventry. BAR British Series 389, 332-7. (2005)
  • (with G Davies) A group of decorated ceramic beer pump handles from Sheffield . Post-Medieval Archaeology 38 , 226-8. (2004)
  • Drinking Glasses With Mould-Blown Stems, 1500-1640. Finds Research Group 700-1700 Data Sheet 31 . (2003)
  • Glass, in Watts , L, Jones, A and Rahtz, P, The Roman Villa at Blansby Park , Pickering : excavations at the Park Gate Roman site in 2000. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 75 , 51-2. (2003)



  • The Archaeology of the Medieval Church (coordinator)
  • The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England (coordinator)
  • World Civilisations
  • Towards Modernity
  • Catastrophe & Climate Change


Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Programme Director of the MA Archaeology

Departmental Library Coordinator


Recent presentations

  • Guest lecturer- 'Excavations at the migration period cemetery at Scremby', British Museum Medieval Seminar Series (February 2020)
  • Guest Lecturer- 'Excavations at the Migration Period Cemetery at Scremby', Historical Association (December 2019)
  • Keynote speaker- 'A Black Death Mass Grave at Thornton Abbey', Society for Church Archaeology Conference (September 2019)
  • Invited speaker- 'Women of the Wolds, Excavation of the  Early Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Scremby', Current Archaeology Awards (February 2018)
  • Guest lecturer-'Famine and Plague at Thornton Abbey', The 2018 Maurice Barley Lecture, University of Nottingham (December 2018)
  • Invited speaker- 'Monastic windows at the Dissolution', Society for Church Archaeology Conference (September 2017)
  • Invited speaker- 'The Early Christian Settlement at Little Carlton', Current Archaeology Awards (February 2017)
  • Invited speaker- 'Recent research and excavation at the Middle Saxon settlement at Little Carlton', Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology (September 2016)
  • Invited speaker- 'Glassmaking and the Saxon Monastery, Glastonbury, Barking and Beyond', Society for Church Archaeology Conference (September 2016)
  • 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)