Danica Summerlin Profile PictureDr Danica Summerlin


+44 (0)114 22 22560 | Jessop West 2.13

Semester Two 2018/19: On Research Leave



Danica Summerlin joined the department of History in 2016. Prior to that, she studied at the universities of Durham and Cambridge, before spending time as a post-doctoral visiting fellow at the Stephan Kuttner Institute for Medieval Canon Law and the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in Munich and most recently as a British Academy Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of History at University College London. Her teaching and research focus on the legal and religious history of Europe between around 1000 and 1300, and she is particularly interested in the development and deployment of law in the period. As well as a fundamental interest in the law of the medieval church – canon law – at a formative time in its development, at the heart of Danica’s research are questions concerning the overlap between the ecclesiastical and secular spheres in the medieval world in the period after the ‘Gregorian’ Reform of the eleventh century; law provides a particularly interesting way of probing those connections and also the pan-European networks of clerics who formulated the law. She is now widening out that interest and starting to formulate a project looking at government in the medieval West, and in particular the role of meetings and assemblies.

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Higher Education Academy, Fellow


Danica's research centres on the history of Europe in the central middle ages, around 1000 to 1300. Her particular focus is the development and use of law at the time, and particularly ecclesiastical, or canon, law. That interest expands to both the social and institutional aspectes of religious and legal history, and she is currently in the early stages of a project lookingat the relationship between law and government in the period, in both the Church and amongst secular rulers. Through a side interest in Digital Humanities, she is also one of three leaders of an international project revamping the Clavis Canonum, a key database for the study of medieval canonical collections available online via the Monumenta Germaniae Historica at http://www.mgh.de/ext/clavis/

Research Supervision

Danica is happy to supervise students with interests in the central Middle Ages, but particularly those interested in the legal, religious, and political history of Europe.

All current students by supervisor | PhD study in History




The canons of the Third Lateran Council of 1179, their origins and reception (Cambridge, forthcoming 2019)
Canon Law and Administration, 1000-1234, co-edited with Melodie H. Eichbauer, Medieval Law and its Practice (Leiden, 2018)


'Using "old law" in the twelfth-century decretal collections', in New Discourses in Medieval Canon Law Research: Challenging the Master Narrative, ed. Christof Rolker, (forthcoming 2019)

'Hubert Walter’s Council of Westminster in 1200 and its use of Alexander III’s 1179 Lateran Council', in Canon Law and Administration, 1000-1234, ed. Melodie H. Eichbauer and Danica Summerlin, Medieval Law and its Practice, 26 (Leiden, 2018), 121-39.

'Papal Councils in the High Middle Ages', in The Brill Companion to the Medieval Papacy, ed. Atria Larson and Keith Sisson (Leiden, 2016), pp. 174-96

'Reading the canons of the Third Lateran Council of 1179', in Patrizia Carmassi and Gisela Drossbach, eds., Rechtshandschriften des deutschen Mittelalters. Produktionsorte und Importwege, Wolfenbüttler Mittelalter-Studien, 29 (Wiesbaden, 2015), 245-60

'The reception and authority of conciliar canons in the later-twelfth century: Alexander III's 1179 Lateran canons and their manuscript context', Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte, kanonistische Abteilung, 100 (2014), 112-131

'Three manuscripts of the 1179 Lateran Canons', Bulletin of Medieval Canon Law, n.s. 30, (2013), 21-43


'Henry II', Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain (London, 2017)

'Conference report: Concilium Lateranense IV', Annuaria de Historia de la Iglesia, 25 (2016), 482-7



Module Convenor

HST2041 – Murder in the Cathedral. The Becket Affair (Second Year Document Option)

HST3160/1 – Assembling consent: ritual and making the medieval world (Third Year Special Subject)

HST6067 – Church, Life, and Law in the Central Middle Ages (MA Option)

Lecturer or seminar tutor

HST116 – Empire: from the ancient world to the Middle Ages (First Year Medieval and Ancient History Survey Course)

HST120 – History Workshop (First Year core module)

HST6601 – Approaching the Middle Ages (Core Module, MA in Medieval History)

Public Engagement

Public Engagement

Danica has featured on Radio 4's programme In Our Time, speaking on Thomas Becket.

Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Past administrative roles have included a brief stint as schools liaison and two years as a Level Tutor for Level 3 students.