I am a historian who works on culture and religion c. 450-850. I am Professor of History at the University of St Andrews, where I have taught since 2007. Before moving to Scotland, I held posts in Leicester and in my home town of Nottingham.
Since the beginning, my research has focused on cultural interactions across political and social boundaries. I have explored connections between England, Ireland, and the Merovingian and Carolingian worlds – extending to Byzantium and the Arab world. More recently, I have started to look at China, Buddhism and Daoism in the same period.
My present project is Science and Belief in the Making of Early Medieval Christendom, funded by the Leverhulme Trust for 2018-21. This builds on my work on computus and astronomy in the Carolingian and Insular worlds, dating back to my postdoctoral research on Time and Power in the Early Medieval West.
Previously, I had a project on Apocalypse, Society and Power 400-1200, funded by the AHRC for 2011-12. This resulted in the well-received monograph, The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages (2014) and led to collaboration with Matt Gabriele (Virginia Tech) on Apocalypse and Reform from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages (2018).
My doctoral research at the University of Sheffield was on saints’ Lives, intellectual networks, and interaction between different religious groups. This led to my first book Anglo-Saxons in a Frankish World, 690-900 (2009). Further research into medieval saints’ Lives has led to a new book, Early Medieval Hagiography (2018), which outlines how hagiographies were composed, organised, and then over a millennium later used by historians in different ways to write about the past.