• Assemblages within assemblages: Understanding mortuary practice through compact contained assemblages

      Williams, Howard; Downer, Abigail C. (University of Chester, 2021-05)
      Amulet-interpretation remains a long-standing practice in early medieval mortuary archaeology that removes mortuary objects from their funerary contexts and cloaks diverse object-meanings under misleading terminology. This thesis presents an original methodology inspired by recent hoard studies and previous studies on the spatial positioning of objects in graves. The thesis aims to explore the multifactorial significance of objects through their spatial-positioning and clustered dispositions (compact contained assemblages, CCAs) with late sixth-, early and/or broadly seventh-century inhumed females from three regions in early medieval Europe: Alsace, Kent, and East Anglia. Specifically, it will explore with whom and how many objects often categorised as ‘amulets’ are deposited. The methodology is devised and deployed in two ways to test its efficacy at understanding mortuary-object meaning. First, the approach is utilised to explore and compare the composition and spatial-placement of CCAs sharing at least one object-type in common with contemporaneous and regionally coherent individuals. Second, the approach explores and compares the spatial-positioning and method of containment of a single object-type/material. The material selected for this second application was amber given the amuletic role its often prescribed by archaeologists in early medieval mortuary contexts. Both approaches of this methodology produced overlapping results. Overall, CCAs were very common across all studied samples suggesting that object containment was a regular feature of late sixth-, broadly and early seventh-century inhumation-burial. Possible explanations for this trend include object-protection, post-mortem transportation, and post-mortem storage. Additionally, the spatial-positioning of CCAs in graves often reflected regionally specific grave-cut dimensions and regional tastes in funerary structures. The two applications also revealed some regular features of CCA-composition. First, similarly positioned, contemporaneous, and regionally congruent female-CCAs often contained similar object-types, indicating that these clusters were deliberate and planned compositions that prescribed to larger contemporaneous and localised inhumation-grave layouts. In these similarly positioned and contemporaneous female-CCAs with similar object-types, the similar objects often exhibited unique decoration, possessed divergent forms, and/or were accompanied by a different object-types and object-quantities. This suggested that CCA-composition were a result of personalisation. The thesis ends with outlining future avenues of research and the utility of this approach in mortuary studies.
    • Eastern Presence: Metropolitan responses to the Indian Army, 1914-15

      Grady, Tim; Ewence, Hannah; Dawson, Owen J. (University of Chester, 2021-08)
      The mobilisation of the British empire during the First World War created new spaces for encounter between British and Indian society. Between August 1914 and December 1915, the Indian army dispatched over 100,000 Indian servicemen to the Western Front as part of Indian Expeditionary Force A. The thesis’s objective is to improve understanding of how Western and, more specifically, British society responded to the presence of these Indian servicemen. It reconsiders British perspectives of the Indian solider, reflects upon how these perspectives impacted the discourse which surrounded the sepoys, and the effect it had on the Indian army’s colonial hierarchy. As a result, ‘Eastern Presence’ furthers understanding of British conceptions of racial identity and colonialism within the context of the First World War and demonstrates the impact that these conceptions had on the Indian army’s hierarchical structure. To achieve this goal, the thesis uses the geographical and locational settings experienced by Indian servicemen during their stay in Western Europe to analyse their interactions with various parts of British and Western society. Through its analysis of these interactions, ‘Eastern Presence’ challenges much of the existing historiography by arguing that variances in conceptions of race can be identified, depending on the part of British society which experienced the encounter. It consequently concludes that British society demonstrated varying degrees of knowledge, empathy, and perception towards the colonial ‘other’ in its midst.
    • Protectoral Rule in the North Western Association: the role and consequence of military and civil governance in the north west of England 1655 to 1657

      Gaunt, Peter; Williams, David A. (University of Chester, 2021)
      This thesis is a study of the role and consequence of military and civil governance in the Protectoral government’s North Western Association. It seeks to understand how the creation of the association contributed to the security and maintenance of unopposed Protectoral rule. It examines the impact on traditional structures of local government and communities within the association. Ultimately, it shows that uninterrupted control over the association’s regions contributed to the continued stability of Cromwell’s Protectorate. The first chapter examines North Western society’s religious and political allegiances in the aftermath of the civil wars and finds that, while the parish continued to play a prominent role within the community, some political adversaries of the same ascribed social status within county society continued to maintain pre-war social relationships. Chapter two assesses the role and impact of state imposed martial governance within the association and finds that central government’s policy of promoting godly reform to counter irreligion reaffirmed measures previously pursued by godly officials and magistrates. The third chapter examines the backgrounds and careers of the association’s two major-generals, Charles Worsley and Tobias Bridge, and finds that, before his death, Worsley was the driving force behind the instigation of measures to deal with anti-government activities and godly reformation. Finding that the association’s three county militias were wholly remodelled in 1655, chapter four assesses their reorganisation and role, along with that of the regime appointed commissioners for securing the peace of the Commonwealth, as well as the work of the magistracy. Chapter five considers the efficacy of raising revenues through sequestration and finds that more than sufficient funds were raised by way of the levied decimation tax to maintain the association’s three new troops of horse militia. The sixth chapter examines the parliamentary election campaign of 1656 and considers its relevance to the Northern anti-government rising staged by Sir George Booth in August 1659. It finds that many of the same protagonists at the centre of the election campaign of August 1656 were also at the heart of the events of Booth’s rising. The thesis concludes that the imposition of military governance ensured that stable unopposed Protectoral rule was maintained throughout the life of the North Western Association and that Tobias Bridge’s oversight of the association lasted well into 1658.
    • The Heirloom Factor Revisited: Curated Objects and Social Memory in Early Medieval Mortuary Practices

      Williams, Howard; Costello, Brian (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      In the early 20th century, Baldwin Brown’s investigation of early Anglo-Saxon burials stated that the low ratio of deposited swords was likely caused by the inheritance of the weapon by a family member. This became known as the heirloom factor and has been a generally accepted summary of early AngloSaxon curation ever since. Chronologically older material culture originating from the early medieval period, however, has been consistently noticed within burials but overall neglected. Instead, researchers have focused on the reuse and recycling of Roman and Iron Age artefacts in early medieval furnished inhumation graves. Heirlooms, however, are biographical objects, imbued with the stories and events in which they had been present. Heirlooms from the early medieval period would have a known biography to their owners, families and wider social networks, whereas the biographical history of Roman or Iron Age objects would have been lost and unknown. Furthermore, the mortuary deposition of older objects would likely have made them noticeable and significant effect as a mnemonic device of social remembrance by participants and audiences. This thesis implemented an original combination of methods to contextually identify curated objects, or heirlooms, within the early medieval burials of Kent. The study subsequently interprets their roles in terms of social remembrance during the funerary rituals. Evidence from both archaeological and historical sources have indicated that swords and brooches were socially significant and distinct objects, presenting them as likely candidates as possible heirloom status objects. Early medieval cemeteries of Kent (5th–7th centuries AD) were chosen for this study because of the higher ratios of the number of swords and types of brooches found within burials compared to other areas of early Anglo-Saxon England. Kent is also the region where the first written laws are recorded in the beginning of the 7th century AD, with certain codes directly involving the inheritance of property. The study also responds to recent work on Kent’s graves in terms of grave re-opening. This research has analysed 1743 graves from 20 cemeteries in Kent to identify curation characteristics of either swords or brooches. Graves containing these objects were analysed for a series of characteristics to decipher chronological disparities within the entire grave context. This thesis has discovered that the deposition of curated objects within early Anglo-Saxon Kentish burials was a rare but discernible practice in which known biographical objects were utilised for several different funerary reasons. Swords and brooches were significant objects chosen to continue their circulation within a family or kin group for a period prior to their inclusion within a grave. A number of swords, however, have provided evidence that pieces of their hilts were likely inherited and continued while the rest of the sword, such as the blade, was included within a burial. The thesis argues that these practices facilitated the social remembrance of the significant weapon to be present during the funeral, as well as continuing its biography through its hilt fittings within the community. It has also been interpreted that the deposition of older brooches within subadult burials provides evidence of the effort to bolster the idealised identity of the deceased during the funeral or negotiate the relations between familial or kin groups. As the 5th—7th centuries AD were a period of social stratification, the utilisation of heirlooms within furnished burials has been found as a strategy to significantly influence the social remembrance of the mourners present at a funeral.
    • Patterns of Power, Power of Patterns: Exploring Landscape Context in the Borderland of the Northern and Central Welsh Marches, AD 300-1100

      Gondek, Meggen; Williams, Howard; Ainsworth, Stewart; Duckers, Gary L. (University of Chester, 2020-09-10)
      Scholarship regarding the early medieval Welsh Marches is frequently disparate and disjointed. Studies have concentrated on the analysis of monuments, in part because of the paucity of early medieval archaeology upon which to create a tableau conducive to macro landscape-based research. Where syncretic works in the Welsh Marches have attempted to adopt an interdisciplinary approach, they are often dated, not embracing, or utilising new techniques or methods. This is exacerbated by approaches in archaeological remotes sensing that have focused on methods or only producing dots and lines on a map, rather than its application and integration into theoretical frameworks widening further the divide between theory and practice. Combined, these approaches also fail to integrate fully within discourses emerging in border studies, a critical field of study when analysing border regions. To tackle these challenges, this thesis examines the borderland landscape of the North and Central Marches using traditional geographical and archaeological techniques, combined with GIS and remote sensed methodologies such as lidar to offer new insight into processes of power and how that is reflected in the landscape. This research targets not only landscape morphology but embraces border theory on the expression and apparatus of power emphasising the ‘borderland’ as an active agent in territoriality and social processes. This study has analysed remote sensed data and data sets that have previously been underutilised and combined theoretical concepts into a holistic body of work. New or misinterpreted archaeological sites have been identified, adding to the archaeological knowledge of the region and facilitated an enhanced picture of the early medieval landscape. In addition, the interrelationship of boundaries and sites hitherto unrecognised in the Welsh Marches have collectively opened new avenues and concepts to underpin and augment further research on dyke systems and border formation processes.
    • Insult and society in the twelfth century

      Pickles, Thomas; Copley, Dale E. (University of Chester, 2019-08-14)
      This thesis is a study of insult in the Historia ecclesiastica of Orderic Vitalis (b. 1075- d. 1142). It argues that the culturally specific nature of insult means we can learn more about a society by studying its insults. Studying insult in the Historia ecclesiastica can tell us something about Norman society in the twelfth century. This thesis is unusual in studying insult through a narrative source. Methodological assumptions made in the study of insult using documentary evidence must be adapted for this new context. This thesis first creates a dataset of insults through a line-by-line reading of the text. This dataset is then analysed as a whole – to survey the nature of the insults Orderic uses and the rhetorical purposes insult serves in the text. This process informs further research questions. For each subsequent research question a selection is made from the dataset and is analysed using close reading. The methodology created to study insult in the Historia ecclesiastica has potential for use in studying other topics and using other medieval narratives. Studying insult in a single narrative source means this thesis can also tell us something about the Historia ecclesiastica and Orderic’s authorial project. A typographical survey of insult suggests it served four main rhetorical purposes in Orderic’s work; it was a key tool in explaining the causation of events; it helped with characterisation of some of the text’s main protagonists; it was a key part of Orderic’s adherence to certain specific genre of writing incorporated with the wider historical genre of the EH; and it helped Orderic to fulfil the medieval requirement that writing should entertain. This thesis argues that the rhetorical use of insult in Orderic’s text developed out of the use of ethologia – character portraits – a convention Orderic inherited from earlier medieval authors and the Classical canon. Insult proved for Orderic the more useful rhetorical tool. Analysis in the second half of the thesis focuses on the impact of studying insult for our understanding of three areas of medieval life; medieval emotion, concepts of honour and vengeance, and the chivalric code. Studying insult and emotion in the Historia ecclesiastica suggests emotion in the medieval world could be both performatively deployed and truly felt. Studying insult and honour suggests it is possible to define Norman society as an honour society with an active feud culture. And studying insult and chivalry suggests that we can speak of a chivalric culture in the high medieval period albeit one with a distinctive twelfthcentury identity. The selection of these three research questions speaks to the potential of insult for studying both internal experience and its outward expression. One of the most interesting implications of studying insult is its power to recognise the social structures in medieval society without reducing medieval people to actors with no agency. Insult is a ‘field’ of contest for the renegotiation of cultural ideals and norms so studying insult has the potential to track changes in behavioural codes across time and place.
    • The use of photogrammetry and film in fostering understanding of early medieval history

      Lang, Roger (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      The recent arrival of a growing body of freely available photogrammetric 3D models of early medieval stone sculptures gives the opportunity for educators to use them as virtual primary sources, either directly as navigable objects or through the medium of film. The research investigates their potential role in schools following the current national curriculum in England. The curriculum requirements are reviewed and their implementation investigated through a study of school websites and Ofsted reports in an English shire county. A search is made for suitable stone sculptures with 3D models, new ones are made where necessary, and the academic literature on the sculptures is reviewed. Lesson plans and resources are created and trialed in three primary schools in a method closely resembling cyclic Lesson Study methodology. The conclusion is that the process has demonstrated the potential for the use of 3D models to serve as the focus of engaging and challenging lessons.
    • From Siege to Emerging Leisure Town: Chester’s Recovery from the Civil War, 1646-1745

      Gaunt, Peter; Beech, Rachel (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      By the end of 1647, Chester had been reduced to a damaged and diseased shell, suffering from the twin effects of civil war siege and plague. Reports stated that most of the capable working population had fled leaving only the poor and dying.1 However, only thirty years later Chester began to see marked improvements, with fashionable architecture, growing marketing and port trade, and a wealthy population of urban gentry. How the city was able to recover from its low state towards a comfortable and prosperous new identity – the ‘leisure town’ – will be explored in this dissertation
    • Why is China absent from the human remains debate

      Wu, Hukeyao (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09)
      The display of human remains has been widely studied and discussed by archaeologists and museum curators all around the world. The discussion on this topic involves the ethics, policies, and display methods faced by museums concerning the repatriation, storage, care, management and interpretation of human remains. China, however, has been absent from this debate. It is not that Chinese museums do not display human remains. On the contrary, some Chinese museums do exhibit human remains and proper practices and respect have been shown in some museums. In order to find out the reasons of China’s absence from the human remains debate, this article will review the relevant literature of Britain and China and analyse the possible reasons from four aspects, respectively: repatriation claims, authority, changed Chinese culture and display tendency. Besides, one case study of a Western Han dynasty female corpse displayed in the Hunan Museum will be reviewed as access to the Chinese context.
    • Deteriorative Influences Upon the Morale of the British 21st Army Group in the Shadow of Operation ‘Market Garden’.

      Grady, Tim; Kirby-Jones, Harry, D, B. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-09-19)
      Operation ‘Market Garden’ was initiated by Allied forces on the 17th September 1944, ending on the 25th of the same month. Up until that point of the Second World War, it was the largest airborne landing to have ever been undertaken. The main aim of Operation ‘Market Garden’ was to open up an invasion route for the Allied forces into the north of Germany from the Netherlands. In order to do this, the operation sought to capture and cross a number of bridges over a series of rivers and canals, including the Rhine and the Maas. The first part of this operation - ‘Market’ - involved the landing of paratroopers in proximity to these bridges in order to capture and secure, awaiting part two of the operation. ‘Garden’ involved the movement of heavier units from Belgium, up through the Netherlands, relieving the units holding these bridges (See Source 0.01, 0.02, 0.03).
    • A study of the deposition of, and taphonomic processes affecting, plant macrofossil records for an island in Palaeolake Flixton, North Yorkshire

      Taylor, Barry; Clarke, Pauline (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-12)
      Plant macrofossil analysis is used in the study of developing environments and is especially applied to the study of the formation of a hydrosere, due to the excellent preservation conditions usually found in the peat associated with the lakes infilling. Modern studies of the flora present in an area and the correlation to the associated macrofossils give proxies for the study of a Palaeolake, such as Lake Flixton in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire. While the proxy studies broadly concur in the approach to be taken, the deposition and taphonomy of specific plant species and the value of any results, there are elements not considered in them, one being that here are no extant studies of the dispersal of macro-remains and the associated taphonomic processes that are particular to islands within a lake. This dissertation aims to correct this by studying No Name Hill, a former island within Palaeolake Flixton. Cores for examination were collected from the island during excavations in 2018 and the resultant data compared with previous studies from other sites around the lake. While the hydroseral succession was demonstrated consistently across the lake environment, the cores from the island highlighted differential processes of deposition and taphonomy affecting the macrofossil record. It is probable that the shoreline cores give a more generic picture of the environment of the lake and surroundings, while cores taken from an island produce results which are more reflective of the localised flora.
    • Stories Of The Past: Viewing History Through Fiction

      Pardoe, James; Williams, Howard; Green, Christopher (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01)
      This thesis investigates how effective works of fiction are, through their depictions of past worlds, in providing us with a resource for the study of the history of the period in which that fiction is set. It assesses past academic literature on the role of fiction in historical understanding, and on the processes involved in the writing, reading, adapting, and interpreting of fiction. It contends that the creation and consumption of fiction has not been looked at in a holistic way in terms of an overall process that takes us from author to consumer with all of the potential intermediate steps. The thesis proposes and describes such a process model, each step within which contains a number of key elements, namely actors, actions, influences, artefacts, and finally the real and imagined worlds of the fiction. It begins with the author, who through actions of perception and adaptation, and affected by various external influences, social, political, and aesthetic, mediates with elements of his or her contemporary world and incorporates them into the imagined world of the initial artefact, the novel. It describes how at each stage in the process other actors (critics, adapters and curators) engage with previous artefacts such as the novel and previous adaptations, and their own set of influences, and through actions of reception, adaptation and interpretation create further artefacts such as critical reviews, adaptations and tourist interpretations that comprise further imagined worlds that can be compared to the author’s original imagined world, and by extension, the original past world. Using a number of case studies of English novels of the period from 1800 to 1930, the thesis assesses what the practical evidence of the process in action tells us about the ability of a novel to act as an adjunct to contemporary records in providing insights into that original real world. These studies incorporate analysis of the novels themselves, and of subsequent artefacts such as film and television adaptations, curated literary places and guidebooks, and both professional and lay reviews. The thesis concludes that fiction in its various forms, and especially in its adapted and interpreted forms, whilst not a pure historical document as such, has the ability to provide us with a vivid perception of a past world. It contends that the process model could be used as an aid in the teaching of History or English Literature, or as an aid to the general consumer of fiction, to help remove the layers of imagined worlds that potentially lie between us and a past historical world, thereby reducing the ability of that layering to create a misleading view of history.
    • Discourses in stone: Dialogues with the dissenting dead 1830-1919

      Smithson, Alison-Mary (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-04)
      Graveyard studies have been rich sources for archaeologists, historians, social scientists, anthropologists, genealogists, art historians and others to investigate a diverse range of interests in death and the mortuary practices of former societies. Evidence from the size, material properties of gravestones and other memorials has advanced theories about characteristics of the lives of earlier people; the environment they lived in; their health; domestic situations; familial and social relationships; status; employment history and personal religious observations and beliefs. Rather fewer are studies that consider what memorial epitaphs and inscriptions can convey about some of these factors, and particularly the meaning and expression of emotion conveyed by choice of text chosen to commemorate the dead. This thesis engages with the ‘conversations’ on gravestones: salutations (‘In loving memory’ etc.); inscriptions and epitaphs, and imagery (motifs and carvings) on nineteenthand twentieth-century memorials of four religious Nonconforming denominations. Sample locations offer contrasting social, linguistic, economic and religious environments, and suggest comparisons between practices in west Cheshire and north-east Wales. The research questions are as follows: • is there a consistently characteristic style of Nonconformist epitaphic and decorative memorialisation in the sample area? if not, are there recognisably distinct denominational characteristics? This study has concluded that each denomination exhibited a number of distinct characteristics earlier in the study period, but these distinctions eroded over time, in particular after the 1880 Burials Act, and under the influences of commercialisation of memorial media; increasing secularisation, and the effects of religious union.
    • When the roof fell in: Counterinsurgency in South Vietnam, 1961-1963

      Jackson, Donna; McLay, Keith; Poole, Darren (University of Chester, 2019-07-23)
      According to Sir Robert Thompson, the beginning of the 1960s saw ‘the roof fall in’ across South Vietnam. This was because the military campaign being waged against the Viet Cong began to falter and collapse. This thesis examines the period from 1961 to 1963 and focusses in particular on the Strategic Hamlet Programme implemented by Ngo Dinh Diem’s South Vietnamese government. The research assesses the impact of the strategic hamlets on South Vietnam and argues that the programme needs to be re-evaluated. The thesis will claim that although the strategic hamlets are often considered to be a failure, this is an incomplete picture of events at this time: a re-assessment of the strategy is long overdue. In fact, when executed correctly, the Strategic Hamlet Programme was effective and was damaging the Viet Cong insurgency. However, this also led to its downfall. A concept termed ‘Paradoxical Duality’ will be introduced to help explain this process. This theory argues that the hamlets could simultaneously be both a success and a failure. Essentially, the more the hamlets protected the people, the greater the alienation they caused within rural Vietnam; the more they damaged the insurgency, the more violent the insurgent response. In effect, the success of the programme contributed to its own destruction. What gives this thesis its niche within the historiography is that it combines the views of the Viet Cong, the Vietnamese people and the American Military into a coherent, evaluative whole. A feature of the research is the way in which it uses captured guerrilla documentation to present its argument. The views of the Vietnamese fighting ‘on the ground’ are essential to this thesis because they provide an alternative perspective to the established, Western-dominant historiography and American-centric accounts of the war. The thesis will show that the Strategic Hamlet Programme was well-planned, was hurting the Viet Cong and was an effective counterinsurgency measure in large parts of the country. It will also examine the insurgent response, show how they held the advantage when it came to winning popular support and discuss why the counterinsurgent forces were, despite their successes, unable to alter the direction of the conflict. In addition, the thesis will examine the way in which so many well intentioned initiatives had counterproductive outcomes. Ultimately, the thesis will argue that the Strategic Hamlet Programme was a missed opportunity. It created the conditions for military success. However, the Diem regime and its American allies were unable to build upon these achievements and claim victory in the wider war.
    • Law and Order in Medieval Chester 1066-1506: Evidence from Domesday Book, Chester City Courts and medieval texts

      Doran, John; Gaunt, Peter; Wilson, Katherine; Greatorex Roskilly, Vanessa J. (University of Chester, 2018-09-19)
      Medieval Chester has been stigmatised by post-medieval writers and academics as a militarised ‘Wild West’ town full of ruffians and criminals. This thesis investigates whether that reputation is justified. Three categories of evidence are systematically evaluated: the Domesday laws, the records of proceedings from Chester’s four medieval city courts – the Crownmote, the Portmote, the Pentice Court and the Passage Court – and references to Chester in medieval texts. Findings from the city’s Mayors’ and Sheriffs’ Books, the Cheshire Outlawry Rolls, Trailbaston proceedings and the Bishops’ Registers are also assessed. It is clear from these sources that, while the centuries wrought some changes and assault was not uncommon, throughout the Middle Ages the proportion of violent offences perpetrated by citizens of Chester was comprehensively dwarfed by the trading offences, property transactions and debts which formed the bulk of cases handled by the City Courts. The examination of medieval chronicles and other literary sources confirms that contemporary commentators did not view Chester as particularly lawless. Comparisons with the national state of law and order in medieval England strengthen the contention that Chester was no more criminal or militarised than any other medieval city.
    • No Contemptible Commander: Sir William Howe and the American War of Independence, 1775-1777

      McLay, Keith A. J.; Gaunt, Peter; Smith, David (University of Chester, 2013-10)
      This thesis examines the period in command of British land forces during the American War of Independence of Sir William Howe. The previously untapped resource of a draft of Howe’s famous narrative to the House of Commons underpins the original contribution made by this thesis, which also draws original conclusions from more familiar documents. Howe’s command is considered in the light of four major factors: his relationship with subordinate officers; the composition and quality of his army; his relationship with the American Secretary, Lord George Germain; and his personal qualities and experience. These four factors are then combined to consider key tactical and strategic decisions made by Howe while in command of the British army in North America. No attempt has been made to examine every decision or event during Howe’s period in command. Rather, those most contentious and controversial events, and those that can be reconsidered using new evidence and new interpretations of existing evidence, have been focussed on. This thesis does not (nor was it intended to) systematically counter the prevailing opinions of Howe set down over more than two centuries of historical works. However, it can be seen that Howe had more reasonable grounds for some of his most contentious decisions than has previously been argued and his overall strategy for 1776 was more coherent than he is generally given credit for.
    • The Governance of Shropshire During the Civil War and Interregnum 1642-1660

      Jones, Isabel (University of Chester, 2017-05)
      Often considered as an insignificant, sleepy, rural backwater, the county of Shropshire has attracted little academic interest, particularly concerning the period covering the civil war and Interregnum. Recent studies on the county have concentrated solely on the military aspect of the conflict and have not ventured into the Commonwealth and Protectorate years, nor looked at the administration and the internal politics of the shire. Yet in the first months of the war, the county was seen by Charles I as being vital to his success given its location on the Welsh border and with good transport links to the neighbouring Marcher counties. Shrewsbury was the main rallying point for the crown, and many of the local gentry flocked to the town with donations for the royal coffers. From then, up until 1645, most the county was held for the crown, until the fall of Shrewsbury in 1645 signalled an end to royalist dominance. This thesis is not an analysis of the causes of, or the actual events of, the war, as those matters are peripheral to this examination, being mentioned only briefly during the examination. It is, however, a full analysis of both county society and government, and will consider local issues, some of which had a wide-ranging effect, finances, justice and religion. But, most importantly, it will examine the personnel involved in both local and central government, how they changed over the period according to their allegiance and who was in power, and whether in the aftermath of war former royalists were welcomed back into the Commission of the Peace and other local committees to resume what they saw as being their rightful place in society. The academic study of the county is not a unique concept, having been promoted by Professor Alan Everitt in the 1960s in his study of Kent. In that research, Everitt proposed the concept of the county community, whereby the insular gentry were more interested in local affairs than national issues, and very much resented any interference from central government into what they considered was their domain. This thesis is not an attempt to try and slot Shropshire into that category, for Everitt’s argument has long been considered void. However, the basic framework of research into the county community that many academics have used in the past will be utilised to a certain extent, and the findings compared as much as possible with other neighbouring counties to try and ascertain whether there were any peculiarities within this Marcher society.
    • Sculpture and Place: a biographical approach to recontextualising Cheshire’s early medieval stone sculpture

      Gondek, Meggen; Williams, Howard; Kirton, Joanne (University of Chester, 2016-02)
      Researching early medieval stone sculpture has long been enabled and constrained by approaches devised and subsequently honed over the last century focusing on form and ornamentation. These approaches largely prioritise the physical appearance of sculptural fragments, often distancing them from the physical and cognitive contexts in which they operated from their creation to the present. This thesis brings together popular strands of research from other areas of archaeology - landscape, biography, materiality and monumentality - to explore how early medieval stone sculpture operated in place and time, from their construction through processes of use and reuse. The study recognises that sculpture did not function independent of physical location or the socio-political context with which it was connected and that many sculptures have life-histories which can be charted through individual monuments, assemblages of sculpture, and regional patterns. Using a tenth-/eleventh-century assemblage from Cheshire, the biographies of the county’s early medieval monuments and architectural fragments are explored in relation to their physical location and the local historical frameworks with which they are connected. Through this original and distinctive approach, Cheshire's corpus of early medieval stone sculpture is both revisited and reinterpreted to emphasis the power of place and the biographies of stone sculpture.
    • Handling the dead: a haptic archaeology of the English Cathedral dead

      Williams, Howard; Nugent, Ruth (University of Chester, 2015-10)
      This thesis takes a longue dureé approach to the manifold ways in which those engaging with English cathedrals have been able to physically interact with the bodies, burials, and monuments of the dead. Three themes are explored to that effect: Haptic Experiences, Haptic Interactions, and Haptic Connections. Haptic Experiences takes a fresh, nuanced look at the evolution of English shrine architecture in relation to tensions between the sight and touch of pilgrims. Haptic Interactions employs new and different data surveyed from monuments within five cathedral interiors: historic graffiti, iconoclastic damage, and haptic erosion and staining. This is explored through a lens of touch as a component of early modern masculinities. Haptic Connections explores the presencing of the absent and displaced dead through touch and bodiliness of both the living and the dead in the (late) modern cathedral. Such an approach requires a multi-strand methodology, harnessing archaeological and documentary evidence, and multiple datasets. This allows the thesis to examine both period-specific practices and recurring themes of touch and emotion, identity, and re-connection which have been central to haptic explorations of the dead in past and present incarnations of the English cathedral.
    • Cheshire castles in context

      Ainsworth, Stewart; Gaunt, Peter; Williams, Howard; Swallow, Rachel E. (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      This thesis considers a little-examined region of medieval Britain through the concept and significance of power and place applied to the architecture and landscapes of castles. Over the last thirty-five years, castle studies have shifted in their interpretations of the defensive, offensive and aesthetic landscape contexts of medieval fortified residences and have adopted a new line of research. It is now understood generally that, apart from occasional military activity, most castles were used less for military purposes and more for administration and display as the lords’ residences. No such study has been made of castles in medieval Cheshire, to critically evaluate and apply new approaches in castle studies to the Cheshire evidence. This thesis concerns the number, location and distribution of castles raised in medieval Cheshire — which included current areas of north-east Wales and Greater Manchester — under the quasi-independent earls of Chester and their tenants, c.1070–1237. The study is primarily one of landscape history and archaeology, which together span many disciplinary boundaries. It draws upon previously un-studied or under-studied documentary and cartographic sources, as well as new interpretations of archaeological features at and around castle sites. An original research approach is thus employed to revisit and reinterpret the changing social, political and historical frameworks of fortified élite residences in medieval Cheshire. Within the context of current debates on the historic landscape, in-depth exploration situates related castle case studies within their respective spatial and temporal environs.