Alex Traves

Title: Anglo-Saxon Kinship, AD 793-1042: Family, Society and Early Medieval Political Culture
Period: Pre-1500
Funded by: Faculty of Arts and Humanities Doctoral Academy Scholarship
Start year: 2018

Primary: Dr Charles West | Secondary: Dr Máirín MacCarron

Semester One 2019/20 Office Hour: Wednesdays 12:00-13:00 (Jessop West 2.01a)


Academic background

  • M.A. Medieval History, University of Sheffield, 2017
  • B.A. (Hons.) History and Politics, University of Sheffield, 2016

Research topic

The period between AD 793 and 1042 was characterised by great political change across England, as established kingdoms collapsed in the face of Viking incursions, and the surviving West Saxon kings successfully extended their reach across what was becoming England. But were these far-reaching political changes reflected in the development of English society? Answering this question, with specific reference to the evolving nature of kinship, is the aim of my thesis.

The twin hypotheses of this project will be that lordship and kinship were not in opposition but rather interacted with each other; and that 1066 did not represent a radical change, but simply another step in a longer-term evolution. In challenging received wisdom, this project will also emphasise the role of women, with the aim of transforming our understanding of women’s role in Anglo-Saxon family dynamics. Uniquely, the project will also situate Anglo-Saxon kinship within the broader scholarship on early medieval families, focusing on Francia and Iceland. The main sources that will be used include wills, law-codes and literary texts from the period.

Affiliations and Awards

Professional affiliations

  • International Society of Anglo-Saxonists
  • Viking Society for Northern Research