“Monastic Life in the Medieval British Isles” – UWTSD Academic honoured with Festschrift


Academics and students came together at Oxford University recently to celebrate the career of UWTSD’s Professor Janet Burton.

Janet Burton 1

During the ‘Lampeter Legacies Alumni Conference’, held at St Anne’s College, Oxford, Professor Burton was presented with a copy of a new book (festschrift) entitled Monastic Life in the Medieval British Isles.  The book celebrates the work and contribution of Professor Burton to medieval monastic studies in Britain and a number of individuals from UWTSD and other institutions have been busy arranging for this special edited collection to be published in her honour.

festschrift is a volume of writings and essays published in an academic’s honour and is presented to individuals who have made a major contribution in their field. This festschrift comprises contributions by her colleagues, former students and friends – leading scholars in the field – who engage with and develop themes that are integral to Professor Burton’s work. This rich and diverse collection, edited by Dr Karen Stöber (Lleida, Catalunya), Professor Emilia Jamroziak (Leeds) and Dr Julie Kerr (Edinburgh), represents original work on religious life in the British Isles from the twelfth to the sixteenth century. Following the presentation, Professor Janet Burton said:

“This is a tremendous surprise. As I look around the room, I can see so many people, some of whom I have known for very many years, some of more recent acquaintance, but I wonder how many of you have ever seen me lost for words. There is a first time for everything and I am genuinely taken aback and struggling to find what to say. I would like to thank all of you who have clearly put so much into preparing this wonderful book, and the arrangements for today, and to all of you who are here to give me this amazing surprise.

To be the recipient of a festschrift is a great honour and I am looking forward to the opportunity to read and find out more about the research in this new book. My greatest thanks must go to the editors, Karen, Emilia, and Julie, and also to Dani Leiva for designing the book cover (and to him and Karen for the framed poster of the artwork), as well as the University of Wales Press. I would also like to say a big thank you to my Lampeter colleagues Dr Harriett Webster and Dr Alex Scott for what must have been much hard work towards today’s arrangements. Once again, I thank everybody for this wonderful honour and for being here today – and for your collaboration, support and friendship over the years.”

Professor Burton concluded by thanking her fellow medievalist, UWTSD colleague, and husband, Dr William Marx, for all he had done towards the day and paid tribute to his capacity for keeping it a secret!

Janet Burton 2

Academics from across the world have also taken the opportunity to pay tribute to Professor Burton.  Professor Richard D. Oram, Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling commented:

This is a splendid tribute by her colleagues, peers and students to the outstanding scholar of British medieval monasticism. Its thirteen papers – transformative, stimulating and pioneering – explore themes that span the range of Janet Burton’s research, underscoring the breadth of her scholarship and pointing to new research horizons that have been opened by her endeavours.”

Constance H. Berman, Professor of History Emerita at the University of Iowa added:

“This volume pays homage to Janet Burton’s lifetime work on British monastic and ecclesiastical history. She has written on bishops and Cistercians, and has importantly been a pioneer in work on Cistercian nuns – as well as focusing on monks, Benedictine and Cistercian monastic communities; her work has broken new ground in our understanding of communities of regular canons. The papers in this volume demonstrate close ties to, and inspiration by, Janet Burton throughout. A solid, indeed spectacular, reflection of her work, but also a volume of substantial studies.”

Further information regarding the new volume, Monastic Life in the Medieval British Islesis available on the University of Wales Press website: https://www.uwp.co.uk/book/monastic-life-in-the-medieval-british-isles-ebook-pdf/


Professor Janet Burton is a professor of medieval history at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. As an undergraduate she studied history at the University of London and then moved to undertake her DPhil in the Department of History and Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York, studying the monastic houses of Yorkshire in the 150 years after the Norman Conquest. She subsequently worked as an archivist in York and then in Aberystwyth, alongside teaching at the University of Wales, Lampeter, and undertaking commissions for bodies such as the York Archaeological Trust, English Heritage and the Vatican. In 1994 she was appointed as a lecturer, then senior lecturer, and reader at Lampeter, and since 2006 has been a professor of medieval history. She is a fellow (and former council member and a former vice-president) of the Royal Historical Society, fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

She has researched widely on medieval monasticism, with a particular focus on regional contexts of Yorkshire and Wales. She has also worked on the Cistercians, regular canons, and religious women. With Karen Stöber, she founded the Monastic Wales project (www.monasticwales.org) in July 2007. This project aims to establish a comprehensive monastic history of medieval Wales, communicating findings to both academics and the public. Professor Burton is the author or editor of twelve books on medieval monasticism, and dozens of articles and papers. Key works include Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain 1000–1300The Monastic Order in Yorkshire 1066–1215 and, with Karen Stôber, Monastic Wales: New Approaches, and Abbeys and Priories of Medieval Wales.

Further Information

For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 676663 / arwel.lloyd@uwtsd.ac.uk