Dr Simon Yarrow BA, MA, D.Phil. Oxon

Dr Simon Yarrow

School of History and Cultures
Senior Lecturer in Medieval History

Contact details

Address
Arts Building
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I teach the history of religion and society in the early and central middle ages, and research on the cult of saints’ relics, miracles and religious cultures from the tenth to the thirteenth century in England. I am also the Director of Birmingham Research Institute for History and Cultures.

Biography

Simon read for his BA and MA in History at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.  He then moved to Oxford and read for a D.Phil. on saints’ cults in twelfth century England (1995-1998).  In 1999 he taught medieval history at St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, before teaching at Birkbeck College, University of London, for two years (2000-2002).  In 2000 Simon was awarded the Past and Present Research Fellowship.  He spent two rewarding years at Liverpool University (2002-2004), in an AHRC post-doctoral research fellowship, working with a team of young scholars on Anglo-Norman historiography, before taking his current post at Birmingham in the autumn of 2004.

Teaching

Undergraduate

First year:

  • Medieval History, c.500-1500

Second year:

  • Critical Analysis
  • Dissertation Preparation
  • Conquests and Identities: England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries; Before Globalization? Afro-Eurasian World History, 500-1800 (2nd/3rd year option)
  • Before Globalization: Afro-Eurasian World History, 500-1800 (2nd/3rd year option)

Third year:

  • Special Subject: The Making And Remaking of English History: 1066 to the Present
  • Historical Reflections
  • Conquests and Identities: England in the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries; Before Globalization? Afro-Eurasian World History, 500-1800 (2nd/3rd year option)
  • Before Globalization: Afro-Eurasian World History, 500-1800 (2nd/3rd year option)
  • Dissertations

Postgraduate

  • Themes in Medieval History
  • Approaches to Medieval History

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested to supervise postgraduate work on narrative sources, including histories and hagiographies, of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, in Northern France and England, with particular reference to elite political cultures and ideas of gender and other social identities.


Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.

Research

I am interested in religious cultures, beliefs and practices, and in the social history of small communities and institutions in the central middle ages, including saints’ cults, monasteries, the aristocratic family, and court cultures. I am interested in anthropology and how its insights and approaches might be used in the study of medieval narrative sources. A third interest is in comparative world history, particularly between 500-1500 CE.

I am currently working on the material and religious culture of relics in twelfth and thirteenth century England.  My particular interest is in the dynamic positions relics occupy in relation to what are traditionally categorized as economic and religious activities.  The aim is to explore a history of the social evaluation of relics. 

My book (see publications) on miracle narratives and the cult of saints in twelfth-century England was published early in 2006. It argues for the diffuse social importance of saints’ cults, and for closer attention to be paid to the tensions contained in miracle narratives of religious practice.

Publications

Recent publications

Book

Yarrow, S 2016, The Saints: A Short History. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Yarrow, S 2006, Saints and their Communities: Miracle Stories in Twelfth Century England. Oxford University Press.

Article

Yarrow, S 2015, 'Religião, crença, e sociedade: perspectivas antropológicas ', Alceu, vol. 16, no. 31, pp. 5-26. <http://revistaalceu-acervo.com.puc-rio.br/cgi/cgilua.exe/sys/start.htm?infoid=549&sid=43>

Yarrow, S 2014, 'Men and Masculinities at the Courts of the Anglo-Norman Kings in the Ecclediastical History of Orderic Vitalis', The Haskins Society Journal.

Yarrow, S 2013, 'The Invention of St Mildburg: Community and Cult in an Anglo-Norman Shropshire Town', Midland History, vol. 38, no. 1, 2, pp. 1. https://doi.org/10.1179/0047729X13Z.00000000014

Yarrow, S 2013, 'The Invention of St Mildburg of Wenlock: Community and Cult in an Anglo-Norman Shropshire Town', Midland History, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 1-15.

Chapter

Brady, S, Arnold, J & Yarrow, S 2011, ‘Masculinity as a World Historical Category of Analysis’. in What is Masculinity? Historical Dynamics from Antiquity to the Contemporary World. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 114-138.

Yarrow, S, Beattie, C & Fenton, K 2010, Prince Bohemond, Pincess Melaz, and the Gendering of Religious Difference in the Ecclesiastical history of Orederic Vitalis. in Intersection of Gender, Religion and Ethnicity in the Middle Ages.

Yarrow, S, Brady, S & Arnold, J 2010, What is Masculinity in World History? in What is Masculinity? Historical Dynamics from Antiquity to the Contemporary World.

Book/Film/Article review

Yarrow, S 2011, 'European religious cultures. Essays offered to Christopher Brooke on the occasion of his eightieth birthday', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 368-369. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046910003817

Yarrow, S 2010, 'A History of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, 1182-1256: Samson of Tottington to Edmund of Walpole', Speculum, vol. 85, no. 2, pp. 393-394. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0038713410000254

Yarrow, S 2009, 'Imagining the sacred past. Hagiography and power in early Normandy', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 60, no. 1, pp. 149-150. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046908006362

Yarrow, S 2009, 'Religious life in Normandy, 1050-1300. Space, gender and social pressure', Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 783-784. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022046909990339

Paper

Yarrow, S 2011, 'Prince Bohemond, Princess Melaz, and the Gendering of Religious Difference in the Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis', Paper presented at Intersections of Gender, Religion and Ethnicity in the Middle Ages, 1/01/11 pp. 140-157.

Special issue

Yarrow, S 2018, 'Economic imaginaries of the global middle ages', Past & Present, vol. 238, no. 13 Supp, pp. 214–231. https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gty029

View all publications in research portal