Research Group for Law and Culture in the Pre-Modern North

Reading Group and Lectures on Medieval Administration

We would like to invite you to join a new, cross disciplinary research group, Law and Culture in the Pre-Modern North, formed at LLE by the project “Transformations of Medieval Law”, run by Helen Leslie-Jacobsen, Patrick Farrugia, and Julián Valle.

The seal of Stephen I of England
The great seal of Stephen I of England.
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In the coming months, the research group will be organizing a reading group focusing on the topic of medieval administration, plus several lectures. The group will be reading central works of historiography on the subject, and we plan to start by reading texts dealing broadly with both secular and ecclesiastical administration in Europe, before turning to medieval Norway after Christmas.


All those who are interested in joining the research group are invited to an information meeting on Zoom, Tuesday 14th September, at 10AM. Email ole-albert.nordby@uib.no for the link and passcode to the meeting. If you cannot make this meeting, but would like to join the group and/or be kept up to date on the group, please respond to this email and we will add you to our list.


We are planning four events before Christmas: two meetings of the reading group on medieval administration and two lectures.

  • The opening lecture, titled “Ink and Sword – Administration in Medieval Norway” will be given by Sverre Bagge on 22nd September, 2:00-4:00, in Sydneshaugen skole, Auditorium D.
  • The first meeting of the reading group will take place on 19th October at 10:00-11:30.
    At this meeting we will begin our broad approach to medieval administration by reading excerpts from a classic by the recently deceased Susan Reynolds: Kingdoms and Communities in Western Europe 900-1300 (1997). A PDF of the book can be provided for participants.
  • The second meeting of the reading group will take place on 16th November at 10:00-11:30.
    At this meeting we will turn our attention towards the Church and the way in which it was administered through trust and the active participation of parishioners. We will be reading excerpts from a new and arguably quite ground-breaking book by Ian Forrest called Trustworthy Men: How Inequality and Faith Made the Medieval Church (2018).
  • The same week, on Thursday 18th November at 10:00-11.30, guest researcher Ciaran McDonough will also be giving a lecture to the research group. A title and abstract for the lecture will be posted soon.


The relevant passages of each book, as well as the venue for the reading groups and the lecture will be provided shortly.


We hope that as many of you as possible are able to join us, for what we hope will be stimulating and useful discussions!