Prof James Palmer

Prof James Palmer


Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 46 2197
Mediaeval History, 71 South Street



I was born in Nottingham and studied in Sheffield (BA and PhD) and Cambridge (MPhil). I held posts at the universities of Leicester and Nottingham, before moving to St Andrews in 2007.

Research areas

My research focuses on culture and religion c. 400-900. I am particularly interested in the movement of ideas and people across different cultural worlds – across Eurasia and Africa – and the consequences of the exchanges involved.

My first book, Anglo-Saxons in a Frankish World 690-900 (2009), explored this theme in relation to the memorialisation of the work of English missionaries in and beyond the Merovingian and Carolingian Rhineland. I then worked on The Apocalypse in the Early Middle Ages (2014), supported by an AHRC Research Fellowship (2010-11). In that book, I sought to establish a more comparative, Europe-wide perspective on the theme. This was developed further in Early Medieval Hagiography (2018), which saw me start to think more about comparison with Chinese and Japanese Buddhist sources too.

At present, I hold a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (2018-21) for the project Science and Belief in the Making of the Early Medieval World. I also hope to use this, and my previous work, to begin a global history of religious and cultural interactions in the period.

PhD supervision

  • Hiu Ki Chan
  • Cameron Houston
  • Jessica Collett
  • Matthew Edholm

Selected publications


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