Dr Andy King is a Lecturer in History at the University of Southampton.
After an entirely un-remunerative and unremarked career as a musician in a rock band, I had another stab at academia, taking a BA in Medieval Studies at Durham, followed by an MA and Ph.D., supervised by Prof. Michael Prestwich. I subsequently worked on the AHRB-funded research project ‘Chronicles and Society in Northern England in the Fourteenth Century’, again at Durham. I moved to Southampton to work on the AHRC funded research project ‘The Soldier in Late Medieval England’, and stayed as a part-time lecturer.
My research centres on late-medieval England and Britain, and covers Anglo-Scottish relations; historical writing and perceptions of the past; the conduct of warfare, and the rules that govern it; chivalry, political culture and attitudes to treason; and castles.
My research interests centre on the political and military culture of late-medieval England, and its relations with the rest of Britain – and in, particular Scotland. My Ph.D. research concerned Northumberland in the fourteenth century, and how the Scottish wars affected the relationship between its ‘county community’ (if there was indeed any such thing) and the royal government based far away in the south at Westminster. And this is an area I am continuing to research; in particular, I am interested in concepts of identity in late-medieval North-East England.
It was this work which led to me coming to Southampton, as a Research Assistant on the ‘The Soldier in Late Medieval England’, headed by Professor Anne Curry. Taking a broadly prosopographical approach, the project explored the careers of those who served under arms for the English Crown in the period 1369 to 1453, and whether they should be considered a professional soldiery. The project produced a co-authored monograph, The Soldier in Later Medieval England, and an online database, freely accessible, which contains some 250,000 entries relating to military service: http://www.medievalsoldier.org/
I am also interested in late medieval historiography, and perceptions of the past; and in the culture of chivalry and gentilesse, and how this helped to shape perceptions and expectations of the conduct of war, politics and government. Much of this stems from my work on the Scalacronica, a chronicle of British (but in fact, mostly English) history written by the Northumbrian knight Sir Thomas Gray in the mid-fourteenth century; I produced an edition of the latter part of the text (1272-1363), published by the Surtees Society. Gray spent his life serving under arms on the northern marches, and in France; as a rare example of a chronicle written by a layman who was himself involved in some of the events he describes, the Scalacronica provides an unparalleled insight into the attitudes, politics and worldview of a militarily active member of the English gentry. Some of my recent research has centred on the Anglo-Norman Brut chronicle for the period 1307-33. The author of this section was a skilled propagandist, and his main agendas, supporting the earls of Lancaster in their opposition to the Despensers and Roger Mortimer, and supporting war against Scotland, provide a fascinating insight into the politics of the reigns of Edward II and Edward III.
The final strand of my research is castles, which have fascinated me since I was a kid! I have published a couple of articles on castles as symbols of lordship and lordly culture, and hope to take this work further.