Photo of Kath ThompsonDr Kathleen Thompson

Senior Honorary Research Fellow
BA (Hons) York, MA Sheffield, MA Wales, PhD Sheffield



Kathleen Thompson has worked in higher education as a librarian, academic administrator and policy adviser. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society, and secretary of the Bristol Record Society.

Professional Roles

Joint editor of the Annual bibliography of historical literature (2004 to 2010).


Current Research

My research interests have centred on the history of the western European aristocracy. I began with a study of the Norman nobles who followed William the Conqueror in 1066, which took as its focus the family of Roger de Montgommery. This led to work on the origins of these families in western France and the changes of the year 1000. My interest in French history has been maintained in a study of the hermit monks of Tiron, one of the so-called new monastic orders of the twelfth century, to be published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.

Further information on research opportunities within the department.



The Monks of Tiron book cover.Kathleen's most recent publication, The Monks of Tiron was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014. This book offers the first comprehensive history of the order of Tiron. As a unique survey of the Tironensian experience it sheds new light on traditional assumptions of twelfth-century monastic history. Previous sketches have been shaped by the life of the founder, the Vita Bernardi, which depicts the forests of western France teeming with holy men, and that self-image of hermit preachers in the wilderness has been deeply influential in the historiography of twelfth-century reform. Drawing from the latest advances in the understanding of hagiography and institutional memory, this book reinterprets key sources to offer a valuable contribution to the history of monasticism. It outlines the rapid dissemination of the Tironensian approach in the first thirty years of its existence, its network of contacts with the lay elite and the impact on the Tironensians of the successes of the Cistercians and Mendicants (synopsis taken from the Cambridge University Press website).

Articles and Essays

Kathleen has published papers in French and English periodicals, as well as Power and border lordship: the history of the county of the Perche, c. 1066-1217 (2002). She was the joint editor of Normandy and its neighbours 900-1250: essays for David Bates (2011) and of the Annual bibliography of historical literature from 2004 to 2010.

East of Bristol in the Sixteenth Century CoverKathleen has a secondary research area in the local history of Bristol and has published a volume of records associated with East Bristol in the sixteenth century. This work is published as Kathleen Hapgood. The documents show how royal control of the area gave way to a more complex pattern of land tenure that enabled a broader spectrum of society to participate in the social and economic opportunities of the sixteenth century.

Public Engagement

Public Engagement

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