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Matthew Hefferan

Teaching Affiliate/PhD Student, Faculty of Arts

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Teaching Summary

I have been a seminar tutor on the first year history module 'Introduction to the Medieval World, 500-1500' since 2015. In addition, I also contribute to a blog on the 'historians on teaching'… read more

Research Summary

My research specialty centres on kingship, politics and warfare in later medieval England. In particular, my work focuses on the royal household knights and their place within the reign of Edward… read more

I have been a seminar tutor on the first year history module 'Introduction to the Medieval World, 500-1500' since 2015. In addition, I also contribute to a blog on the 'historians on teaching' website. I am particularly interested in helping to develop innovative and engaging teaching methods for history courses at university.

Current Research

My research specialty centres on kingship, politics and warfare in later medieval England. In particular, my work focuses on the royal household knights and their place within the reign of Edward III. These household knights were directly bound to the crown through the giving of annuities and robes in return for loyalty and service. They were amongst the most important political groupings in medieval society, and are key to our understanding of medieval government and politics.

My work assesses this through two main stands: the changing composition of this body throughout Edward III's reign, and their place within the broader medieval polity. The first area considers who these men were and why they were retained, whether fluctuations in the size of the affinity reflected political demands and what prospect of social mobility and legal protection it offered its members. The second element, meanwhile, addresses two distinct areas: war and domestic affairs. With regard to war, it assesses the role of royal retainers in recruiting armies, leading expeditions and garrisoning castles. Domestically, the thesis investigates how royal retainers were used to help the king rule, both in the localities and centrally, in parliament, the royal court and bureaucracy.

As a body, the household knights permeated all spheres of the medieval polity. As such, my research has taken me to the heart of key questions about royal governance, military organisation and the relationship between service and reward in the fourteenth century, and has allowed me to gain a broad yet in-depth understanding not only of these issues, but medieval history more broadly.

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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