Milemete treatise - Christ Church College, Oxford, MS 92, fol. 60v (2)

Nobilities and Political Cultures in the Plantagenet Lands, 1272–1453 



Mon 9–Tues 10 January 2023


C35 Dearing Building, Jubilee Campus, University of Nottingham


Full delegate: £40
Concessions (student/unwaged): £20
Speakers: free

Registration has now closed.


The rule of the English and Scottish kings in the late Middle Ages extended across the British Isles: a constellation of regions which were linguistically, constitutionally, economically and culturally diverse. But one common thread running through this rule was the necessity of noble power and, in turn, the nobilities of all these regions were themselves shaped by their relationships with kingship. 

While these nobilities have attracted rich historiographies over the last century, they are often studied within national traditions of scholarship despite the fact that their relationships and interactions with each other and with kingship itself gave them a common reference point. Nor has a shared consensus on the place of noble power and how this varied and changed across time and space emerged. This conference seeks to address these historiographical questions by exploring a key dynamic which perforated Britain and Ireland: the place of nobles in political life and how they were embedded within the diverse structures – social, institutional, cultural – linked to kingship across the Atlantic Archipelago. The aim is to place various traditions of historiography into dialogue with one another over two days of discussion and debate. By drawing research on nobilities together, this conference will help to identify a research paradigm for continued work on the nobilities of the British Isles which, in turn, leads to a clearer understanding of the character and place of noble power.


Monday 9 January

Session 1: Scotland and the Borders

  • Michael Brown, ‘‘Off Owr Kynrik The Governall”: The Albany Governorship and the Nature of Aristocratic Guardianship in Late Medieval Scotland’
  • Sophie Ambler, 'The Northerners of the Later 13th Century'
  • Andy King, 'Bastard Feudalism on the Borders: Magnate Affinities and the Anglo-Scottish Wars in 14th-Century Northumberland'
Session 2: Ireland
  • Peter Crooks, ‘Conquest, Cultural Memory and the Nobility of late-medieval Ireland’
  • Simon Egan, ‘The Gaelic Aristocracy and the Hundred Years War: A Trans-insular Approach’
  • Brendan Smith, ‘Lordship Beyond Plantagenet Ireland’

Session 3: England

  • Gwilym Dodd, ‘Thomas of Lancaster, the ‘Sulky’ Earl: Nobility, Reputation and the Spectre of Lancastrian Constitutionalism in Early-14th-Century England’
  • Andrew Spencer, ‘Edward III and the Survivors: the Old Earls in War, Government and Order, 1330-1347’
  • Matt Hefferan, ‘The Network and Affinity of Ralph Stafford, 1st Earl of Stafford at Home and Abroad’

Tuesday 10 January 

Session 4: Transnational Nobilities?
  • Paul Dryburgh, ‘‘March-ing on Together’: building a transnational Mortimer affinity, c. 1247-c. 1360’
  • David Green, ‘Negotiating Nobility in the Plantagenet Empire’
Session 5: Noble Women
  • Emma Cavell, ‘Playing the System(s): The Legal Strategies of the Prince of Wales’s Sister in the Twilight of his Rule, 1276-1282
  • Bridget Wells-Furby, ‘Aristocratic Single Women and their Land c.1270-1330’
  • Louise Wilkinson, ‘The Countess as Lord: Women, Agency and Power in 13th-Century England’ (Online delivery)
Reflection: Chris Given-Wilson

Conference organisers

Gwilym Dodd

Matt Hefferan

Matt Raven

Conference essentials

Download the programme

Getting to the University

Parking on campus


The conference is taking place on the Jubilee campus of University of Nottingham and you might like to book accommodation at the on-campus Jubilee Hotel - link below. 

Jubilee Hotel


For further information, please email Matt Raven.




The University of Nottingham
University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5151