Professor Virginia Davis
Location: Arts Two 3.34
Professor of Medieval History
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7882 8354
Professor Virginia Davis was an undergraduate and postgraduate at Trinity College, Dublin University where she undertook doctoral research on late medieval ecclesiastical and educational history, focussing on the life and career of William Waynflete, bishop of Winchester (1447-86) and founder of Magdalen College Oxford.
At the same time she enhanced her interest in Art History by doing a Diploma in the History of European Painting at Trinity College Dublin. She also has an MBA in Higher Education Management (2006, London University, Institute of Education).
As a research student she developed a methodological interest in the application of computing technology to historical source material which led to her first post-doctoral employment, as Research Assistant on the Hull Domesday Project. This innovative project produced a full-searchable electronic text of William the Conqueror’s 1086 land survey, Domesday Book.
Her interests in the linked fields of Computing and History led her to a lectureship at Westfield College in 1987, when Westfield was one of the UK’s leading institutions for working in this area. From Westfield College, she became part of Queen Mary, University of London when Westfield and Queen Mary merged in 1989.
She has been Head of the Department of History from 2000-2004 and 2006-present and on the national history scene was Convenor of History UK 2003-2007. Other national administrative roles have included Secretary of the Ecclesiastical History Society, Chair of the London Medieval Society and member of the ESRC Data Archive History Data Unit advisory committee.
Professor Davis works on late medieval English ecclesiastical, educational and social history and has a particular interest in exploring the sources for the history of material culture.
Having worked extensively on the history of medieval educational history, her more recent work has been concerned with the medieval priesthood and its role in English society and on the church in medieval London.
Professor Davis is currently writing an introduction to the use of the sources used by medievalists to reconstruct the past, aimed at an undergraduate audience. Her research interests have developed from working on medieval priests to researching the motivation of medieval nuns for turning their back on the world and entering convents.
Late English medieval ecclesiastical and social history; medieval Irish history; material and visual culture from the late middle ages. Current PhD students include those working on the manuscripts and patronage of the earls of Percy in the early sixteenth century and on the late medieval history of the nunnery at Barking.
William Wykeham: A Life (London, Hambledon-Continuum, 2007).
'The Popularity of Late-Medieval Personal Names as reflected in English Ordination Lists 1350-1540', in Names and Naming Patterns in Medieval England, eds. DA Postles and JT Rosenthal. (Western Michigan University Press, 2006), pp 103-114.
'The Lesser Clergy in the Later Middle Age' in D Keene, A Burns and A Saint, eds St Paul's: The Cathedral Church of London 604-2004 (Yale University Press 2004), pp 157-61.
'The Contribution of University-Educated Secular Clerics to the Life of the English Church', in The Church and Learning in Late Medieval Society: Essays in Honour of Barrie Dobson, ed CM Barron and JC Stratford (Stamford, 2002), pp 255-72.
Clergy in London in the Late Middle Ages: A Register of Clergy Ordained in the Diocese of London Based on Episcopal Ordination Lists, 1361-1539 (University of London Centre for Metropolitan History, 2000) 76 pp plus CD-Rom of 30,000 ordained clerics.
'Irish Clergy in Late Medieval England', Irish Historical Studies 32, (2000), pp 145-160.
'London Friars in the Reign of Richard II', The London Journal 25, (2000), pp 1-12.
A Medieval Book of Seasons (Harper Collins, London & New York, 1992;) 144 pp [co-authored with Marie Collins]
William Waynflete, Bishop and Educationalist (Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, 1993), 205 pp
Professor Davis teaches a range of courses each year, drawn from the following portfolio of courses.
Reconstructing the Past: An Introduction to Sources for Medievalists (Level 1)
Conquests and Settlements: England 978-1135 (Level 2)
The English in Medieval Ireland 1169-1399 (Level 2)
Medieval Women I - Lay Women (Level 2)
Medieval Women II - Women and Religion (Level 2)
England in the Fifteenth Century: The Paston Experience (Level 2)
Medieval Translation Project (Level 2)
Professor Davis is an active supervisor of final year Historical Research Dissertations ranging widely across Britain in the middle ages and supervising topics dating from the Anglo-Saxon Period to Richard III and the Wars of the Roses.
Field trips – to historical sites such as Battle Abbey, Rochester Castle and East Anglia and to London based museums – play an important role in Professor Davis’ teaching wherever possible.