Portrait of Dr Katherine Lewis Dr Katherine Lewis

k.lewis@hud.ac.uk | 01484 471870


Dr Katherine Lewis studied for her BA in History at the University of Warwick and for her MA and DPhil in Medieval Studies at the University of York. She is History's Research Co-ordinator. She teaches on the foundation level module 'Early Medieval Europe'. At Intermediate level she teaches 'Holy Wars: The Age of Crusades'. At Honours level her module 'History and Myth: Writing and Re-writing the Middle Ages' includes consideration of modern representations of the medieval past.

Katherine is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She is on the advisory board of Boydell & Brewer's 'Gender in the Middle Ages' series, and a member of the steering committee for the annual Gender and Medieval Studies conference.

Research and Scholarship

Katherine's research is concerned with the religious, social and cultural history of the later Middle Ages. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of saints' cults and intersections between holiness and gender in the period, in relation both to female and male saints. She also works on representations of gender and other aspects of identity in narrative sources (especially hagiography and chronicles).

Katherine's most recent book Kingship and Masculinity in the Middle Ages (2013) presents a ground breaking study of Kings Henry V and Henry VI, examining the extent to which medieval discourses of masculinity informed understandings and judgements of their respective successes and shortcomings as both kings and men. The book's main concern is with how Henry V and Henry VI were perceived and represented by their contemporaries. But it also considers to what extent either man can be said to have understood the importance of personifying a particular brand of masculinity in their performance of kingship, and of meeting the expectations of their subjects in this respect. 

Katherine's current research continues to focus on later medieval ideas of kingship, masculinity and chivalry, as expressed in later medieval crusade narratives. For example William Caxton's Godefroy of Boloyne, published in 1481 and dedicated to Edward IV with the express wish that the king should lead a crusade against Mehmed II and his Ottoman forces, who were threatening Christian interests in the Mediterranean at this time. Katherine is currently working with Dr Natasha Hodgson (Nottingham Trent University) and Dr Matthew Mesley (University of Zurich) to create an international network of scholars focussed on the examination of crusading masculinities from cross-cultural perspectives. A conference on this topic was held at the University of Zurich in April 2016, featuring papers from noted experts in the fields of crusades history and medieval gender, as well as postgraduates and early career researchers working in these areas. A selection of these papers is currently being edited for publication.

Katherine is also continuing to work on the lives and experiences of female saints and has appeared on BBC Radio 4's 'In Our Time' discussing The Book of Margery Kempe and English mysticism http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07cyfkg

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Lewis, K (2014) ‘The Prioress and the Second Nun’. In: Historians on Chaucer: The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 94-113. ISBN 978-0-19-968954-5


Lewis, K (2013) ‘'Imitate, too, this king in virtue, who could have done ill, and did it not': Lay sanctity and the rewriting of Henry VI's manliness’. In: Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. pp. 126-142. ISBN 9781843838630

Lewis, K (2013) Kingship and Masculinity in Late Medieval England . Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9780415316125

Cullum, P. and Lewis, K. (2013) Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages . Gender in the Middle Ages. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. ISBN 9781843838630


Lewis, K (2012) ‘Male Saints and Devotional Masculinity in Late Medieval EnglandGender and History , 24 (1), pp. 112-133. ISSN 0953-5233


Lewis, K (2007) ‘"Accident my codlings" : sitcom, cinema and the re-writing of history in The Blackadder’. In: Mass Market Medieval: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. pp. 113-125. ISBN 978-0-7864-2922-6


Lewis, K (2006) ‘History, Historiography and Re-writing the Past’. In: A Companion to Middle English Hagiography. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer. . ISBN 9781843840725


Lewis, K (2004) ‘Anglo-Saxon saints' lives, history and national identity’. In: History, Nationhood and the Question of Britain. New York, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 160-170. ISBN 1403912963

Lewis, K (2004) ‘Edmund of East Anglia, Henry VI and ideals of kingly masculinity’. In: Holiness and Masculinity in the Middle Ages. Cardiff, UK: University of Wales Press. pp. 158-173. ISBN 0-7083-1894-0

Cullum, P. and Lewis, K. (2004) Holiness and masculinity in the middle ages . Wales, UK: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0-7083-1894-0

Lewis, K (2004) ‘Margery Kempe and saint making in late Medieval England’. In: A Companion to the Book of Margery Kempe. New York, USA: Boydell & Brewer. pp. 195-216. ISBN 9781843840305


Jenkins, J. and Lewis, K. (2003) St Katherine of Alexandria: Texts and Contexts in Western Medieval Europe . : Brepols. ISBN 9782503512907

Lewis, K (2003) ‘Female life-writing and the testamentary discourse: women and their wills in later medieval England’. In: Medieval women and the Law. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. pp. 57-75. ISBN 9780851159324


Lewis, K (2002) ‘Becoming a Virgin King: Richard II and Edward the Confessor’. In: Gender and holiness: men, women and saints in late medieval Europe. London: Routledge. pp. 86-100. ISBN 0415258219

Lewis, K (2002) The cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in late medieval England . Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. ISBN 0851157734


Lewis, K (2000) ‘"Lete me suffre": reading the torture of Margaret of Antioch in later medieval England’. In: Medieval women - texts and contexts in late medieval Britain, essays in honour of Felicity Riddy. : Brepols. pp. 69-82. ISBN 9782503509792


Lewis, K (1999) ‘Model girls? virgin martyrs and the training of young women in later medieval England’. In: Young medieval women. : Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 25-46. ISBN 9780312221300

Lewis, K., Menuge, N. and Phillips, K. (1999) Young medieval women . : Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780312221300

Lewis, K (1999) ‘Pilgrimage and the Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Late Medieval England’. In: Pilgrimage explored. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer. pp. 145-160. ISBN 9780952973430


Lewis, K (1998) ‘The life of St Margaret of Antioch in late medieval England: a gendered readingStudies in church history , 34, pp. 129-142. ISSN 0424-2084

Research Degree Supervision

Katherine would be interested in supervising students in the areas of late medieval gender and religious history, especially issues of masculinity in relation to saints' cults, and/or royalty, also aspects of history writing and representations of crusading in later medieval England.

Specific projects suitable especially for MA by Research include:

  • Later medieval chronicles (c. 1100-1500) with a particular focus on issues of identity and/or the appropriation of the past to serve political and socio-cultural purposes
  • Crusading and gender (as this pertains to men and/or women, either focussing on a particular individual/group, or on representations of masculinity/femininity within specific narrative sources).
  • The afterlife of medieval saints (the representation and veneration of an individual saint or type of saint post-Reformation).

Katherine is currently supervising the following doctoral students:

Ashley Firth, 'Gender Identities in William of Tyre's A History of Deeds Done Beyond the Sea

Emma Levitt (co-supervised with Dr Pat Cullum), 'Masculine Display in Late-Medieval Court Culture'. Emma can be heard talking about her research on the World Service here and her work was also featured in the Daily Telegraph.

Previous students:

Elizabeth Anderson, 'Establishing Adult Masculine Identity in the Angevin Royal Family, c. 1140-1200'. PhD

Mark McCabe, 'Godfrey of Bouillon: Representations of Kingship and Masculinity on the First Crusade'. MA by Research.