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Doctor Nicholas Karn

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • My main research interest is in the institutions of law and the culture of the law in England in the central middle ages, and especially from about 1000 to 1250. This has arisen from my earlier work on 12th-century charters and acta, where I concentrated upon the uses to which these documents were put, and upon understanding the structures within which they were used. 
  • I have worked on the processes by which courts made decisions in this period. This focus on procedure has been productive, because it directs attention to who was allowed to speak and determine matters; whose voice was preferred in cases of divergence, and how precedence was accorded; how the agenda of the court was settled. In this way, the relatively formal setting of courts exposes to an extent little seen elsewhere the structures of local power, how shires and hundreds ran themselves, and how the king's power and representatives interacted with them. As part of this, I will produce a new edition and translation of the Leges Henrici Primi, the longest and one of the most important of the legal texts surviving from twelfth-century England, which will appear as part of the Early English Laws project.
  • I am also interested in the institutions of the church and the roles and influence of churchmen, 1100-1400; my first book was an edition of documents from the diocese of Ely 1109-1197 which illustrated these themes, and was published by the British Academy as part of its authoritative English Episcopal Acta series. A second volume, covering the period 1198-1256, was published in 2013, and a third volume covering the years 1256-1337 has been commissioned.

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.

Connect with Nicholas


Address: B65, Avenue Campus, Highfield Road, SO17 1BF (View in Google Maps)

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Research interests (for researchers only)
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In Pure (opens in a new tab), select ‘Edit profile’. Under the heading 'Curriculum and research description', select 'Add profile information'. In the dropdown menu, select 'Research interests: use separate lines'.

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Accepting PhD applicants (for researchers only)
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A brief description of who you are and what you do.

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Write about yourself in the third person. Aim for 100 to 150 words covering the main points about who you are and what you currently do. Clear, simple language is best. You can include specialist or technical terms.

You’ll be able to add details about your research, publications, career and academic history to other sections of your staff profile.

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