Professor Virginia Davis

Professor of Medieval History

Location Arts Two 3.34


Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8354

I did my BA and Ph.D. at Trinity College Dublin before moving to the University of Hull and then to Queen Mary University of London.

I have an MBA in Higher Education Management from the Institute of Education.  I was Head of the School of History for eight years before taking up my current role as Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science.


My research interests centre on the history of the medieval church and its relationship with society with particular reference to England c.1350-1540, drawing upon evidence from material culture as well as from written sources and utilising digital technologies to explore the material.

Interests include:

  • The English clergy in the late medieval ages
  • Religion in the medieval household
  • Women and Religion
  • Medieval education and educational institutions

Undergraduate teaching

Postgraduate supervision 

I welcome applications from candidates wishing to undertake doctoral research in the following areas:

  • Late medieval British ecclesiastical, social and educational history
  • Material and visual culture from the late middle ages
  • Medieval women
  • Medieval Irish history



Selected Articles and Chapters

  • ‘William Wykeham’s Early Ecclesiastical Career’, in European Religious Cultures: Essays Offered to Christopher Brooke on the Occasion of his Eightieth Birthday ed. M. Rubin, (London, School of Advanced Study, 2008), pp. 49-65.
  • `The Popularity of Late-Medieval Personal Names as reflected in English Ordination Lists 1350-1540', in Names and Naming Patterns in Medieval England, eds. D.A. Postles & J. T.  Rosenthal. (Western Michigan University Press, 2006), pp. 103-114.
  • `The Lesser Clergy in the Later Middle Age’ in D. Keene, A. Burns & A. Saint, eds. St Paul’s: The Cathedral Church of London 604-2004 (Yale University Press, Yale 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. C. M. Barron and J. C. Stratford (Paul Watkins, Stamford, 2002), pp. 255-72.
  • ‘Materials Relating to Irish Clergy Ordained in England in the Late Middle Ages’, Archivium Hibernicum  (2002), pp. 7-50.
  • `Preparation for Service in the Late Medieval Church', in A. Curry & E. Matthew ed. Concepts and Patterns of Service in the Fifteenth Century (Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge, 2000), pp. 38-51.  
  • ‘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.
  • ‘Medieval Longevity: the Experience of Members of Religious Orders in Late Medieval England', Medieval Prosopography (1998), pp. 111-24.
  • `The English Medieval Clergy Database and University History', in P.R. Denley ed. Computing Techniques and the History of Universities (Max–Planck-Institut fur Geschichte, St. Katharinen, 1996),  pp. 60-64.
  • `Transcending the Regions: Mendicant Mobility in the English Church in the Later Middle Ages', in Storia & Multimedia eds F. Bocchi & P. R. Denley (Bologna, 1994), pp. 369-74.
  • `Episcopal Ordination Lists as a Source for Clerical Mobility in England in the Fourteenth Century', in N. Rogers, ed. England in the Fourteenth Century (Paul Watkins, Stamford, 1993), pp. 152-170.
  • ‘The Making of English Collegiate Statutes in the Later Middle Ages’, History of Universities 13, (1993), pp.1-23.
  • The Medieval English Clergy Database - a London Case Study’, Local Population Studies 50 (1993), pp. 51-60.
  • ‘William Waynflete and the Wars of the Roses’, Southern History 11 (1990), pp. 1-22.
  • ‘Late Medieval English Clergy Database’, History and Computing 2 (1990), pp. 75-87
  • `Rivals for Ministry? Ordination of Secular and Regular Clergy in Southern England c.1300-1500', in Ministry in the Church, ed. W. J. Sheils & D. Wood (Studies in Church History 26 1989), pp. 99-109.
  • ‘Relations between the Abbey of St Thomas the Martyr and the Municipality of Dublin c.1176‑1527’, Dublin Historical Record 49 (1987), pp. 10‑27.
  • `William Waynflete and the Educational Revolution of the Fifteenth Century', in People, Politics and the Community, ed. J. T. Rosenthal & C. Richmond (Alan Sutton, Gloucester 1987), pp. 40‑59.
  • `The Rule of St Paul the First Hermit in England in the Later Middle Ages', in Monks, Hermits and the Ascetic Tradition, ed W. J. Sheils, (Studies in Church History 22, 1985) pp. 203‑14.

Membership of professional associations or societies