Monthly Archives: November 2015

SAIMS/TMJ Essay Prize

SAIMS invites entries for its annual Essay Competition, submitted according to the following rules:

  1. The competition is open to all medievalists who are graduate students or have completed a higher degree within the last three years. For PhD students the time period of three years begins from the date of the successful viva, but excludes any career break. Any candidate in doubt of their eligibility should contact the Director of SAIMS at
  2. A candidate may make only one submission to the competition.
  3. The submission must be the candidate’s own work, based on original research, and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication.
  4. Submissions are welcomed on any topic that falls within the scope of medieval studies.medieval journal
  5. The submission should be in the English language.
  6. The word limit is 8,000 words, including notes, bibliography, and any appendices.
  7. The text should be double-spaced, and be accompanied by footnotes with short referencing and a full bibliography of works cited, following the guidelines on the TMJ webpage: An abstract of 200 words should preface the main text.
  8. The deadline for submissions is 24 March 2016.
  9. The essay must be submitted electronically to, in both Word and pdf formats, to arrive by the deadline.
  10. The submission must be accompanied by a completed cover sheet and signed declaration; the template for this is available at The candidate’s name should not appear on the submission itself, nor be indicated in any form in the notes.
  11. Decisions concerning the Competition lie with the Editors and Editorial Board of The Mediaeval Journal, who can, if they consider there to have been appropriate submissions, award an Essay Prize and in addition declare a proxime accessit. In the unlikely event that, in the judges’ opinion, the material submitted is not of a suitable standard, no prize will be awarded.
  12. The value of the Prize is £500.
  13. A candidate whose entry is declared proxime accessit will be awarded £100.
  14. In addition to the Prize, the winning submission will be published within twelve months in The Mediaeval Journal, subject to the usual editorial procedures of the journal.

Any queries concerning these rules may be directed to the Director of SAIMS who can be contacted at: Department of Mediaeval History, 71 South Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9QW


Publication: Dr Kathryn Rudy’s ‘Postcards on Parchment’

We are pleased to announce the publication of an exciting new work Postcards on Parchment: The Social Lives of Medieval Books by Dr Kathryn Rudy, senior lecturer in the School of Art History.

From the Yale University Press website:Kate Rudy

Medieval prayer books held not only the devotions and meditations of Christianity, but also housed, slipped between pages, sundry notes, reminders, and ephemera, such as pilgrims’ badges, sworn oaths, and small painted images. Many of these last items have been classified as manuscript illumination, but Kathryn M. Rudy argues that these pictures should be called, instead, parchment paintings, similar to postcards. In a delightful study identifying this group of images for the first time, Rudy delineates how these objects functioned apart from the books in which they were kept. Whereas manuscript illuminations were designed to provide a visual narrative to accompany a book’s text, parchment paintings offered a kind of autonomous currency for exchange between individuals—people who longed for saturated color in a gray world of wood, stone, and earth. These small, colorful pictures offered a brilliant reprieve, and Rudy shows how these intriguing and previously unfamiliar images were traded and cherished, shedding light into the everyday life and relationships of those in the medieval Low Countries. 

Alex Woolf’s Interview About Macbeth on BBC Radio 4

Alex Woolf was interviewed for an episode of Open Country on BBC Radio 4, which examined the historical origins of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. ‘The Macbeth Trail’ aired on Friday 13th November and is now available online for your listening pleasure (Dr. Woolf’s interview begins approximately 13 minutes into the episode).

From the website:

‘Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most enduring plays; a tragic tale of a Scottish king driven to his death as a consequence of the ruthless pursuit of power. However many are surprised to hear that there was a real king Macbeth of 11th century Alba who bears little resemblance to the character in the play. Mac Bethad mac Findláich or Macbeth as he’s known in English, had a legitimate claim to the kingship and ruled relatively successfully from 1040 to 1057. It’s possible to trace Macbeth’s story through the landscapes he’s associated with and where the significant events of this period of history occurred. Helen Mark journeys through Moray and south to Perthshire to visit places that are strongly connected to the life of Macbeth; landscapes in which it’s also possible to discover the heritage of medieval Alba.’

Baroness Hale of Richmond’s Opening Lecture for the New ILCR

This year, the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research (ILCR) was launched at the University of St Andrews. The program is led by SAIMS members Professor John Hudson (Director) and Professor Caroline Humfress (Deputy Director and Postgraduate Convenor). The purpose of the ILCR is to encourage cross-disciplinary research in the fields of law, legal history, and constitutionalism, uniting scholars and graduate students from history, international relations, and literature backgrounds.

Baroness Hale of Richmond

Beginning in the next academic year, 2016-2017, the ILCR will be offering a MLitt in Legal and Constitutional Studies. In keeping with the cross-disciplinary approach of the Institute, MLitt modules will be taught by faculty from different schools across the university, including the schools of History and International Relations. The ILCR will also offer scholarships for the MLitt, with applications closing 1 May 2016.

On 8 October, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, gave the ILCR opening lecture, speaking on ‘The Supreme Court in the United Kingdom Constitution’. In her lecture, Lady Hale addressed the constitutional relationship between Westminster and the devolved parliaments of the UK, as well as the role of the Supreme Court within an international legal and political context, including its relationship with the European Union and the Council of Europe. The full text of Lady Hale’s lecture is available here.

You can keep abreast of the latest ILCR events via the website or Twitter.