Prof John Hudson

Professor John Hudson

MA (Tor.), MA, DPhil (Oxon.), FRHistS, FRSE - Professor of Legal History, FBA

Contact Details

E-mail -
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462888
Fax - +44 (0)1334 463334

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews


Teaching and Research Interests

Professor John Hudson joined the School of History at the beginning of October 1988.  His research then concentrated on law and land-holding in twelfth-century England, and this subject has remained central to much of his subsequent work, leading up to his recent volume of The Oxford History of the Laws of England, 871-1216 (2012).  Some of his legal history work plays with the applicability to mediaeval situations of ideas from modern legal theory; this work is furthered by his visiting association with the University of Michigan Law School, where he enjoys the title of William W. Cook Global Law Professor.  He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 2016.

Professor Hudson has two other main areas of research interest.  One is mediaeval historical writing, mostly in England – as in his two-volume edition of the History of the Church of Abingdon, an important twelfth-century monastic text – but also more widely, as in his contribution on ‘Local Histories’ in the Oxford History of Historical Writing.  The other is nineteenth-century writing on the Middle Ages, and in particular the work of the greatest of legal historians, F. W. Maitland.

He has taught a wide range of courses both in and outside his main research areas.  In particular he has presented a series of Honours modules about aristocratic culture, the latest mutation of which is called Courtroom Dramas: Law and Literature in Twelfth Century France.

Main Publications

  • ed. with S. Crumplin, ‘The Making of Europe”: Essays in Honour of Robert Bartlett (Leiden, 2016)
  • Land, Law, and Lordship in Anglo-Norman England (Oxford, 1994) [Details]
  • editor - with G S Garnett, Law and Government in Medieval England and Normandy (Cambridge, 1994) [Details]
  • The Formation of the English Common Law (London, 1996) [Details]
  • (editor) "Pollock and Maitland": Centenary Essays on the "History of English Law" (Proceedings of the British Academy (89; 1996)
  • The History of the Church of Abingdon (2 vols, Oxford, 2002 and 2007) [Details]
  • F. W. Maitland and the Englishness of English Law (Selden Society Lecture for 2006:published 2008)
  • The Oxford History of the Laws of England Volume II 871-1216 (Oxford University Press 2012)
  • ed., with Stephen Baxter, Papers Preparatory to the Making of English Law: King Alfred to the Twelfth Century, Volume II: From God's Law to Common Law, (University of London: Early English Laws, 2014); freely accessible on the Early English Laws website at
  • ed. with A. Rodriguez, Diverging Paths? The Shapes of Power and Institutions in Medieval Christendom and Islam (Leiden, 2014)
  • ed. with G.S. Garnett, J. C. Holt, Magna Carta (3rd edition, with new Introduction and other additional material, Cambridge, 2015)

Research Students

Professor Hudson will supervise postgraduate students in the fields of English History c. 900 -1250; medieval legal history; medieval historical writing.

Current Research Students:

  • Dominika Brzezinska, Living with the burden of illegitimacy in the societies of Medieval Europe.
  • Ingrid Ivarsen, Form and grammar in Anglo-Saxon legal texts
  • Ethan Birney, East Anglian Monasteries in Stephen’s Reign

Completed Research Students:

  • Kyoko Kamiya: Crown and towns in Norman Sicily (M. Litt., 1992) [jointly with H. Kennedy]
  • Nicola J. Castles: The Transmission of Classical and Patristic Texts in late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman England, (Ph.D 1994)  [jointly with D.A. Bullough and A. Gratwick]
  • Julie Kerr: Perceptions and Practices of Benedictine Hospitality in England (Ph.D., 2000)
  • April Harper, Representations of adultery in Old French Literature (Ph. D., 2003)
  • Amanda Martinson, Ecclesiastical Patronage of Henry II (Ph.D., 2007)
  • Elizabeth Thomas, Royal marriages in twelfth and thirteenth century England (Ph.D.,  2009)
  • Linsey Hunter, Lordship and landholding norms between the Humber and the Forth c. 1050-1250 (Ph. D., 2012)
  • Kate Hammond, Family and Politics in Normandy to c.1150 (Ph. D., 2013)
  • Matt McHaffie, Lordship in Anjou (Ph. D., 2013)
  • Eilidh Harris, 'Religious Identity in Anglo-Norman Hagiography' [with Kirsten Fenton] (Ph. D., 2014)
  • Michael French, Religious Depictions: Written Representations of Anglo-Norman Churchmen (1066 - 1135) (Ph. D., 2015)
  • Jane Edwards, "Bettered by the Borrower" ?: the use of extracts from English Twelfth Century historical writing (Ph. D., 2015)
  • Will Eves, The Assize of Mort d’Ancestor in the Late Twelfth and Early Thirteenth Centuries.
  • Lydia Hayes, Holiness and the image of women in Chretien de Troyes
  • Maxine Esser, John of Salisbury and Law
  • Joshua Hey, 'Political Oaths in England'
  • Cory Hitt, 'Law & honour in medieval Iceland and France'
  • Sarah White, Legal arguments and equity in Church courts in England in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Administrative Duties

Research Lead, Marie Curie ITN Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom.

Director, Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research

Teaching Duties

Offers the following Honours courses:

Offers the following Postgraduate course:


Main Publications


The History of the Church of Abingdon


The Formation of the English Common Law