Dr John Hunt

Department of History
Honorary Research Fellow

Contact details

I am a medievalist working primarily on regional history and archaeology, medieval lordship and community, and cultural history, in England and France between the tenth and fourteenth centuries.

Qualifications

  • BA (Comb Hons) Ancient History and Archaeology / History (Birmingham)
  • PhD, History (Birmingham)
  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Education
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Biography

I studied history and archaeology as an undergraduate at Birmingham University where I specialised in the medieval period. After graduating in 1975 I trained as a teacher and began a teaching career in Birmingham. At the same time my passion for teaching and sharing my enthusiasm for medieval history was met by teaching in Adult and Continuing Education, to which I moved as a full-time career in the late 1970s, now able to combine teaching with my research activities. More importantly it offered me the sheer delight of sharing an all-consuming passion.

Although I have taught for several universities and other organisations, it is at Birmingham University that my academic career has primarily developed. I undertook my doctoral research here on the theme of lordship and landscape within the Honor of Dudley.

Although I have teaching and research experience in both pre-Conquest and post-Conquest history and archaeology, and initially specialised in the early medieval period, my main focus is now within the period of the tenth to mid-fourteenth centuries, combining the approaches of history, archaeology and art history.

I am a member of the Centrefor West Midlands History.

Teaching

Committed to research-led teaching, I have taught extensively British and European history and archaeology, from the post-Roman period to the fourteenth century.  At Birmingham I regularly contribute to teaching on the medieval modules of the ‘MA in West Midlands History’. The themes I teach on this programme include –

  • Medieval towns, urbanisation and urban society; economy and trade
  • Feudal society; medieval lordship and seigneurial society; knights in local society, cult of family, and the rise of the gentry.
  • Manor, parish and township; medieval rural society and landscape; manorial society and economy.
  • Sources for medieval society.
  • Castles, honours, landscapes and community.
  • Monasticism; monastery and landscape.
  • Regional culture and spirituality; patronage, building, community and the parish churches. Message and identity in parish churches.
  • Structural analysis of churches.

Research

Combining the approaches of history, archaeology and art history, my research focuses on medieval regional society and culture, particularly in the English west midlands, and south-western France.

  • The nature and function of medieval lordship, particularly between the tenth and early fourteenth centuries, intrinsically linked to which are interests in patronage, locality, community and landscape.
  • Medieval cultural history encompassing art and architecture, religion and religious patronage, and the relationship between art and society.
  • Medieval archaeology and landscape, including castle studies (especially from a perspective of their social, economic and political role) and the parish church. These interests also embrace settlement history and the monastic church.

These ‘strands’ combine around two key themes of lordship and locality.  The relationship between documentary and archaeological data, and material culture, is one that interests me.

I am currently pursuing specific work on

  • ‘Models of lordship’, examining profiles (eg. structurally, institutionally, material culture, underpinning dynamics etc) of contemporary lordships and the implications of these for locality, communities and landscape.
  • Changing ‘religious landscapes’; looking at the relationship between lordship, the local church and community particularly within the context of emerging parishes in England and their subsequent development. Patronage, local spirituality, culture and landscape are key dimensions.
  • Regional societies in transition; a book is in preparation based primarily on north Warwickshire.
  • Patronage, art and society; building upon my previously published work relating to twelfth century sculpture and its context, this continues the exploration of medieval art and material culture in association with the dynamics of lordship, locality and identity. This research is concerned with the Romanesque and earlier and is primarily located in England and western France.

Other activities

Editorial  / Editorial Boards  activities currently include -

  • West Midlands Archaeology ublished by Council for British Archaeology, West Midlands (2010 – present); joint editor.
  • Staffordshire Studies, published by the Centre for Local History, Keele University (January 2008 - present); board member.
  • Landscape History, published by the Society for Landscape Studies. (2001 - present); board member and former assistant editor.

Active  in community engagement and the promotion of history and heritage in the community -

  • Local societies. Currently President of the ‘Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society’, and Vice Chair (formerly Chair) of the ‘Council for British Archaeology, West Midlands’.

Associated with many regional historical and archaeological societies and groups across the west midlands since 1979, providing support and development.

  • Member of the West Midlands Historic Environment Forum.
  • Consultant to / organising participant in HLF projects in Herefordshire and Staffordshire.
  • Development, organisation, promotion and delivery of community based programmes in history and archaeology, 1976 – present.
  • Regular speaker for local societies and tutor to community groups.

Consultant (JH Consulting); Medieval Historical and Archaeological Research; Heritage and the Historic Environment.

Publications

Books and monographs

  • Hunt J and Paul S, forthcoming 2015, Evolution of a Community: The Colonisation of a clay inland landscape. Neolithic to Post-Medieval remains excavated over sixteen years at Longstanton in Cambridgeshire, Archaeopress, Oxford.
  • Hunt J, 2011, Kilpeck Church in Context. A window on medieval mentalité? The Simon de Montfort Society, Evesham.
  • Hunt J, 1997, Lordship and the Landscape. A Documentary and Archaeological Study of the Honor of Dudley, c.1066-1322,BAR British Series, 284; Oxford.

Chapters in books

  • Hunt J, 2011, ‘The Medieval Period’, in Watt S (ed), The Archaeology of the West Midlands. A Framework for Research, Oxbow Books.
  • Hunt J, 2008, ‘Medieval Period Discussion’, in Powell A B, Booth P, Fitzpatrick A P and Crockett A D (eds), The Archaeology of the M6 Toll 2000 - 2003, Oxford Wessex Archaeology, Monograph No. 2.
  • Hunt J, 2006, 'An Overview: Castles, Landscape and Community', in Nash G (ed) Looking beyond the castle walls: the Weobley Castle Project, BAR British Series 415, Oxford.
  • Hunt J, 2006, 'The Musard Family', New Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford.

Refereed articles in journals

  • Hunt J, submitted, ‘Alveley Revisited: A Note on Patronage’, Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society.
  • Hunt J, forthcoming 2015, ‘Sculptured Head from Lichfield Cathedral’, West Midlands Archaeology, 56.
  • Hunt J, 2009, ‘A Figure Sculpture at Upton Bishop, Herefordshire: Continuity and Revival in Early Medieval Sculpture’, Antiquaries Journal,89, ii,pp1-36.
  • Cuttler R, Hunt J, Ratkai S, 2009, ‘Saxon Burh and Royal Castle: Re-thinking early urban space in Stafford’, Transactions of the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume XLIII.
  • Hunt J, 2004, 'Sculpture, Dates and Patrons: Dating the Herefordshire School of Sculpture'. Antiquaries Journal,84,pp185-222.
  • Hunt J, 2001, 'Ralph VIII, Lord Basset of Drayton, and Coventry Whitefriars: a note on late medieval religious benefaction and patronage', Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society 104, pp 93-99.

Articles for magazines

  • Hunt J, 2014, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom of Mercia’, History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3 (The Anglo-Saxons).
  • Hunt J, 2014, ‘Grave Goods, Gospels and Carvings’, History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3. (The Anglo-Saxons).
  • Hunt J, 2014, ‘Saints, Structures and Spirituality. Churches and Society in Anglo-Saxon Mercia’, History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3 (The Anglo-Saxons).
  • Hunt J, 2014, ‘Family and Faith. Stained Glass Windows in Medieval Parish Churches’, History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 1 (Glass and Glass Making).
  • Hunt J, 2009, ‘Local History in the Community: whose agenda?’, Local Studies Librarian.
  • Hunt J, 2006, ‘Kilpeck Church: a window on medieval ‘mentalité’, The Historian. The magazine of The Historical Association, Number 92.

Review articles

  • Hunt J, forthcoming 2015, Review Article, Tutbury: ‘A Castle Firmly Built’. Archaeological and historical investigations at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire. Birmingham Archaeology Monograph Series 11. By Malcolm Hislop, Mark Kincey and Gareth Williams.  Pp xii + 293.  BAR British Series 546, Archaeopress, 2011. £55.00. Forthcoming  Staffordshire Studies, 21
  • Hunt J, 2014, Review, The Anglo-Saxon World. By Nicholas J Higham and Martin J Ryan, Yale University Press, 2013, 477pp, £30.00. History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3.
  • Hunt J, 2014, Review, Anglo-Saxon  Art. A New History. By Leslie Webster, British Museum Press, 256 pp, £18.99. History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3.
  • Hunt J, 2014, Review, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Sculpture, Volume X, The Western Midlands. By Richard Bryant, with Michael Hare. The British Academy, 2012, 596 pp, £95.00. History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3.
  • Hunt J, 2014, Review, The Anglo-Saxon Church of All Saints Brixworth, Northamptonshire. Survey, excavation and analysis 1972-2010. By David Parsons and D S Sutherland, Oxbow Books, 300 pp, £90.00. History West Midlands, Volume 2, Issue 3.
  • Hunt J, 2014, Review Article, The Medieval English Landscape 1000 – 1540. By GRAEME J. WHITE. Pp. xvi+277. Bloomsbury Academic 2012. £65.00 hardback; £19.99 paperback. Midland History, 39, Number 2, Autumn 2014.
  • Hunt J, 2013, Review Article, A History of the County of Stafford. Audley, Keele and Trentham. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. A History of Staffordshire, Volume XI. Edited by Nigel J Tringham.  Pp xxi + 297. Published for the Institute of Historical Research by Boydell and Brewer, 2013. £95.00. West Midlands Archaeology, 55.
  • Hunt J, 2013, Review Article, Britons and Anglo-Saxons. Lincolnshire AD 400-650. Studies in the History of Lincolnshire 3. By THOMAS GREEN. Pp. 320. History of Lincolnshire Committee. 2012. £29.95 hardback; £17.95 paperback, Midland History, 38, Number 2, Autumn 2013.
  • Hunt J, 2012, Review Article, The Birth of a Borough. An Archaeological Study of Anglo- Saxon Stafford.  By MARTIN CARVER. Pp. xv + 176. The Boydell Press. 2010. £60.00. Midland History, 37, Number 2, Autumn 2012.
  • Hunt J, 2012, Review Article, Archaeological landscapes of east London. Six multi-period sites excavated in advance of gravel quarrying in the London Borough of Havering (Museum of London Archaeology, London 2011). By Isca Howell, Dan Swift and Bruce Cotton with Jon Cotton and Pamela Greenwood. 217 x 304 mm. xv + 144 pp. 99 illustrations. 25 tables. Price £14.00, Landscape History, 33, Issue 1.
  • Hunt J, 2012, Review Article, Monumental Industry. The Production of Tomb Monuments in the Long Fourteenth Century. Edited by SALLY BADHAM and SOPHIE OOSTERWIJK. 240mm. Pp xiv + 274, 123 figs and plates, some col. Donnington: Shaun Tyas 2010. £35 (hbk), Antiquaries Journal, 92.
  • Hunt J, 2011, Review Article, The Birth of a Borough. An Archaeological Study of Anglo- Saxon Stafford.  By Martin Carver. Pp. xv + 176. The Boydell Press. 2010. £60.00. Transactions of the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 45.
  • Hunt J, 2011, Review Article, The Great Hall, Wolverhampton: Elizabethan Mansion to Victorian Workshop. Archaeological Investigations at Old Hall Street, Wolverhampton, 2000-2007. By Christopher Hewitson, Eleanor Ramsey, Michael Shaw, Malcolm Hislop and Richard Cuttler. Pp. vi + 102. BAR British Series 517, 2010. £35.00. Transactions of the Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society, 45.
  • Hunt J, 2008, Review Article, Medieval Birmingham: the Borough Rentals of 1296 and 1344-5, by George Demidowicz, Dugdale Society Occasional Papers, Number 48, 2008. 63 pages, Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society, 112.
  • Hunt J, 2008, Review Article, The Victoria History of the Counties of England. A History of the County of Stafford. Volume X. Tutbury and Needwood Forest, Nigel J Tringham (ed), Institute of Historical Research, London 2007, Midland History, 33, No 1, Spring 2008.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Review Article, Tyttenhanger. Excavation and Survey in the Parish of Ridge, Hertfordshire, undertaken by Archaeological Services and Consultancy Ltd, J.R.Hunn, BAR British Series 381, 2004, Landscape History, 28.
  • Hunt J, 2004, Review Article, A Second Domesday? The Hundred Rolls of 1279-80,  S Raban, OUP, 2004, West Midlands Archaeology, 47.
  • Hunt J, 2004, Review Article, 'Pathways to Europe's Landscape', J.Clark, J.Darlington & G.Fairclough (eds), EPCL, 2003, Landscape History, 26.

Other publications

  • Hunt J, 2000, Conference proceedings/summary: 'Sculpture and Patronage: the Herefordshire School in Local Society', West Midlands Archaeology, 42 (2000, for 1999) pp 16-18.
  • Hunt J (ed), 2000, 'Frameworks For Our Past: A Regional Strategy for the West Midlands', West Midlands Archaeology, 42 (2000, for 1999) pp 2-10

Consultancy and unpublished reports

  • Hunt, J, 2009, ‘Medieval Colton’. A Report for Colton Parish Council / Colton History Society, Staffordshire, September 2009.
  • Hunt J, 2008, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Ipstones. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. September 2008.
  • Hunt J, 2007, Staffordshire Extensive Urban Survey: Newcastle under Lyme. A Pilot Project Report. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate, February 2007.
  • Hunt J, 2007, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Yoxall. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. February 2007.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Elford. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. April 2006.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Barlaston. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. April 2006.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Grindon. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. April 2006.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Enville. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. April 2006.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Codsall. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. April 2006.
  • Hunt J, 2006, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Abbots Bromley. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. April 2006.
  • Hunt J, 2005, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Levedale. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. December 2005
  • Hunt J, 2005, Staffordshire Medieval Rural Settlement Survey: Acton Trussell. For Staffordshire County Council, Development Services Directorate. December 2005.
  • Hunt J, 2005, A Figure Sculpture at Upton Bishop, Herefordshire. For Heritage Upton Bishop / Herefordshire Archaeology, October 2005.

Internet publications

  • Hunt J, 2008, ‘Local History in the Community: whose agenda?’ A lecture delivered to the Annual General Meeting of the Cheshire Local History Association on April 29th, 2008 and subsequently published on the CLHA website.