Tom Rochester

Tom Rochester

Department of History
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: Bede and the Miraculous: Innovation and Tradition
Supervisor: Dr Simon Yarrow and Dr Peter Darby
PhD Medieval History


I’m conducting an AHRC-funded investigation of the Venerable Bede (673-735) and his understanding of the miraculous. The main intention of this thesis is to question how original or innovative we can call Bede when compared to his predecessors and contemporaries. The first chapter of my thesis looks at patristic authors, examining who Bede was influenced by or whether he differed from them when it came to narrating miracle accounts. I then proceed to look at Bede’s historical method and questions of eyewitness testimony, linking his work, through Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, back to the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of Luke. My third and fourth chapters then apply this knowledge to both Bede and his contemporaries, exploring the way they attested miracle stories in broadly historical texts. The final chapter is a case study of the miracles of St. Cuthbert and John of Beverley, showing how the miraculous could be used to craft a particular image of an early medieval holy man.  

This is my third academic year at Birmingham, having previously studied at both Bachelors and Masters level at the University of Leicester (2009-2013). I am a Teaching Assistant on the "Discovering the Middle Ages" undergraduate module. You can find Tom at