Medieval Loyalty Research Network

This research network aims to bring together discussions in the developing field of loyalty studies. Researchers from any field, medieval period, and region are warmly welcomed, including but not limited to kinship, lordship, kingship, courtly romance, group solidarities, and space and place. Amongst other activities, the group will run a monthly reading group from September, hold twice-yearly online workshops, and produce an ongoing series of publications.  

First online workshop: Saturday 2nd November

Please contact Hannah Boston ( or Chris Lewis ( to join the mailing list

Conference: Loyalty in the Medieval World, 5th-7th April 2024

Loyalty has long been recognised as a crucial medieval concept, being invoked by contemporaries in such widely spaced contexts as political struggles, state-building, courtly romance, group solidarities, and marital and kinship bonds. This conference aims to bring together fresh approaches to loyalty in practice and as an ethical bond, and foster a deeper understanding of emotion, behaviour, and social and political structures across the medieval world.

Online registration is open on the online store until midnight on Wednesday 3rd April:

We are generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust, Lincoln Record Society, and Haskins Society, and sponsored by the Battle Conference on Anglo-Norman Studies

Get in touch with the organisers with any questions: Hannah Boston ( or Chris Lewis (


All times given as BST

Day 1— Friday 5th April 2024

9:15-10:00 Registration, coffee

10:00-11:30 (Optional) Walking tour of Lincoln

12:00-13:15 Lunch and Early Career poster session

13:15-13:30 Opening remarks: Loyalty in the Medieval World
Chris Lewis and Hannah Boston

13:30-15:00 Session 1

Room A
Defining Loyalty

Alastair Gardner (University of Birmingham), Nihil in amicitia fide praestantius: The Entanglement of Trust and Loyalty in Aelred of Rievaulx’s De spirituali amicitia

Emily A. Winkler (St Edmund Hall, Oxford), God’s Greatest Treasure? Grief, Loyalty, and the Problem of Candour

Room B
Complex Loyalties

Andrei Pogăciaș (Independent scholar, Romania), Loyalty in the Medieval Romanian Countries: God, Voivod, and Pragmatism

Bill Aird (University of Edinburgh), The Revolt of Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria, in 1095, and Competing Loyalties

Matthew Bennett (University of Winchester), William the Marshal’s Conflicting Loyalties to the Realm, Family, and Followers

15:00-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-17:00 Session 2

Room A
Dilemmas in Loyalty to Kin

Morgan Powell (Zurich University of Applied Sciences), Triuwe and Truth: Concepts of Loyalty and Christian Truth in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Narrative Poetics

Francesca Cannon (University of Lincoln), ‘Wife, [Step-]Mother, Sister, Spy?’ The Loyalty of Margaret of France, Queen of England.

Sofya Nikiforova (University of Lincoln), Reflections on Marital Loyalty in Early Fourteenth-Century France: The Tour de Nesle Affair

Room B

Rituals of Loyalty

Arnaud Montreuil (Université de Québec à Chicoutimi), Building Chivalric Loyalties through Knighting Rituals in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century England and France

Andrea Tarnowski (Dartmouth College), Loyalty and Christine de Pizan’s Tale of the Rose [online]

Jenny McHugh (Lancaster University), Loyalty, Faith, and Service: How was Loyalty Conceptualized in Scottish Oaths of Allegiance, c. 1296–1445?

18:00-21:00 Keynote: David Stocker (Leeds)

‘Dead Loyal: exhibitions of loyalty in the burial ground during the tenth and eleventh centuries’

Joint event with Lincoln Record Society, followed by drinks and canapés

Day 2— Saturday 6th April

8:45-9:15 Registration for later arrivals

9:15-10:00 Keynote: Simon Keller (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ) (remote)

10:00-10:30 Coffee

10:30-12:00 Session 3

Room A
Loyalty and Legal Status

Bobbie Jenner-Clarke (University of Winchester), Legislating Loyalty and Lordship in Early Medieval England [online]

Alexander Thomas (Independent scholar, England), A Question of Erratic Loyalty? Danish Law and Custom within the Danelaw

Niall Ó Súilleabháin (Université de Poitiers/CNRS), More servorum: Loyalty and Unfreedom in Late and Post-Carolingian France, c. 850–c. 1100

Room B

The Use and Effects of Loyalty

Annett Krakow (University of Silesia), Of Devotion and Deception: Hákon Jarl’s Use of Loyalty [online]

Max Lieberman (University of Zurich), Loyalty in the March of Wales

Caroline Bourne (University of Reading), A Source of Disloyalty? Reginald de Braose’s Quest to be Lord of Gower

12:00-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:00 Session 4

Room A
Communal Loyalties

Eleanor Bailey (University of Sheffield), ‘Fyghters, Brawlers, Brekers of Lofedayes’: Peace-Keeping and Loyalty-Making at the Loveday of 1458

Philippa Byrne (Trinity College, Dublin), The Loyalty of Scholars: Promises, Formation, and Coercion in the Thirteenth-Century University

Gustav Zamore (Uppsala University), Parochial Solidarity and Resistance in Late Medieval England

Room B

Multiple Lordship

Matthew Hammond (King’s College, London), How Common was Multiple Lordship in Scotland?

Thibault Jouis (Sorbonne Université), Datum fuit intelligi domino regi quod Paganus adjunxit se regi Francie: The Loyalty of Defectors after the Capetian Conquest of Anjou (1199–1246)

John Marshall (Trinity College, Dublin/Institute of Historical Research, London), The Sides of the Curragh: Tenantry Loyalty in the Rebellion of Richard Marshal, 1233–4

15:00-15:30 Coffee

15:30-17:00 Session 5

Room A
Family and Lovers

Stephen Church (University of Lincoln), Henry fitz Empress, Henry the Young King, and Roger of Howden: Reintegrating the Rebellious Boys into the Plantagenet World at the end of the War without Love, 1174-5

Daniela Maldonado Castañeda (University of Toronto), Rediscovering Loyalty in the Medieval World: A Narrative Analysis [online]

Ruth Harvey (Royal Holloway, University of London), Loyalty and Litigation in the Troubadour Love-Lyric

Room B
Discourses of Loyalty

Katy Cubitt (University of East Anglia), Dissolving and Creating Bonds of Loyalty in Regnal Transitions: England 1014–1018

Michał Machalski (Central European University, Vienna), ‘So Vipers Nurse at the Breasts of Devout Loyalty!’ Loyalty in Vincentius of Cracow’s Chronica Polonorum

Katy Bennett (University of York), Nous avons réservé notre foi envers notre seigneur naturel: Discourses of ‘Natural Loyalty’ in Late Medieval Gascony

19:00 Conference dinner

Day 3— Sunday 7th April

9:15-10:45 Session 6

Room A
Disloyalty and Betrayal

Linsey Hunter (University of the Highlands and Islands), ‘The Vice of Treachery, Worst of All Vices’: Disloyalty, Status, Gender, and Politics in the Scotichronicon

Emilia Musumeci (University of Teramo), Obsessed with Betrayal: Disloyalty and the Crime of Poison in Medieval Italy

Room B

Warriors and Lords

Adrian Jobson (University of East Anglia), Under Pressure: Loyalty, Lordship, and Royalist Affinities during the First English Revolution

Matthew Hefferan (University of Nottingham), The Cost of Loyalty? Rewarding Household Retainers in Fourteenth-Century England

Andrew Fischer (University of Cambridge), Hardly a Virtue: Loyal Service in Medieval Japan

10:45-11:15 Coffee

11:15-12:45 Session 7

Room A
Loyalty and Group Identity

Jennifer Pearce (Nottingham Trent University), Loyalty and Disloyalty in the Latin East, 1099–1350

Dean Irwin (University of Lincoln), The Queen’s Man: Eleanor of Castile and Cok Hagin

Jonathan Sheill (Bishop Grossteste University), National Identity through Loyalty in Early Fourteenth-Century Britain

Room B

Loyalty to Kings

Mark Hewett (University of Reading), Loyalty to a Condemned King: The Case of Philip I of France and William IX of Aquitaine

Andy King (University of Southampton), ‘The King’s Scottish Enemies and Rebels’: Identity, Enmity, and Allegiance in Northumberland, c. 1296–c. 1307

Alan Thacker (Institute of Historical Research, University of London), The Loyalties of Ranulf II, Earl of Chester 1129-53

12:45-14:00 Lunch

14:00-15:30 Presentation of ECR Poster prizes
Roundtable discussion and closing remarks
Launch of Loyalty Network

15:30 Delegates depart

Medieval Loyalty Research Network at Leeds IMC 2024

For those members of the Network at Leeds IMC 2024, we are having a meet-up in the Old Bar at 21:00 on Monday. All are warmly welcomed.

We are also running a Roundtable at 9am on Tuesday morning. This session will reflect on the ideas raised by the conference on Loyalty in the Medieval World, held at Lincoln University in April 2024, and on the IMC Loyalty sessions of the last few years. Drawing on discussions carried on there and subsequently, speakers working on varied regions and with source material ranging from administrative to vernacular narratives to material culture, will examine the emerging questions and methodologies in studies of loyalty. What has been learnt so far? What methodologies are being developed and how can they be refined? And what are the directions for future research? 

Participants include Matthew Bennett (Independent Scholar), Hannah Boston (University of Lincoln), Chris Lewis (Institute of Historical Research, University of London), Jenny McHugh (Lancaster University), and David Stocker (University of Leeds).