Lecturer in Medieval History
School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
I am a historian of the end of the Roman world and the emergence of the early middle ages in Europe. My interest in this period stems from my own childhood in the North-East of England and memories of family visits to Hadrian's Wall, Lindisfarne and the Anglo-Saxon churches that dot the region. That interest has taken me far afield, from Oxford to the United States and Hungary, before taking up my full-time position at Newcastle in 2002.
Roles and Responsibilities
Module leader: HIS3008 Reading History & HIS8004 Ideas and Influences in British History
- DPhil History, University of Oxford, 1998
- BA (Hons), Modern History, University of Oxford, 1992
Lecturer in Medieval History, University of Birmingham, 1999.
Honours and Awards
Visiting Fellowship, Harry Ransom Humanties Research Center, University of Texas, Austin, USA, 2003.
Visiting Fellowship, Huntington Library, San Marino, California, USA, 1999, 2002.
Sir James Knott Research Fellowship, Newcastle University, 2000-2002.
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 1998.
Sydney L. Mayer Postgraduate Fellowship, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. 1992-93.
My major research interests lie in the history of Europe from late-antiquity to eleventh century. I was trained as a historian of Anglo-Saxon England and the Carolingian Empire, and I have subsequently expanded my work into the history and archaeology of Scandinavia and the Viking diaspora, from Russia and the Islamic world in the east to the North Atlantic and the American coasts in the west. I am also interested in world history, and the possibilities of developing comparative perspectives across medieval Eurasia, Africa and the Americas.
I have also published on nineteenth and early-twentieth century Irish cultural history and on the the eighteenth-century global voyaging of Captain James Cook.
I am currently writing a book on the Vikings and world history to be published by Yale University Press. I am also completing articles on the Icelandic experience of the Byzantine Empire, the return of Halley's Comet to Earth in 837 (the closest ever recorded pass), and the ecology of feuding in Saga Iceland.
If you are considering coming to Newcastle to study for a postgraduate degree and have an interest in any aspect of late antiquity or early medieval history then please contact me. I would particularly welcome interest in postgraduate research in the following areas:
- Anglo-Saxon England, especially Northumbria
- Vikings in the British Isles
- Scandinavia from the Roman period to c.1000.
- The Carolingian Empire
- Captain Cook and eighteenth-century maritime history
- HIS1025 World Empires
- HIS1044 Aspects of British History
- HIS2103 The Dark Ages: Early Medieval Europe and its Neighbours, 500-900
- HIS3121 Viking-Age Scandinavia
- HIS3008 Reading History: Alfred W. Crosby's Ecological Imperialism
- HIS3010 Writing History
- HIS8004 Ideas and Influences in British History
- Ashley S. How navigators think: The death of Captain Cook revisited. Past & Present 2007, 194(1), 107-137.
- Ashley S. The lay intellectual in Anglo-Saxon England: Ealdorman Æthelweard and the politics of history. In: Wormald, P; Nelson, JL, ed. Lay Intellectuals in the Carolingian World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp.218-245.
- Ashley S. Introduction. In: Ashley, S, ed. Robert Graves: Count Belisarius and and Lawrence and the Arabs. Manchester, UK: Carcanet Press, 2004, pp.vii-xxix.
- Ashley S. Primitivism, Celticism and Morbidity in the Atlantic fin de siècle. In: McGuinness, P, ed. Symbolism, Decadence and the fin de siècle: French and European Perspectives. Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2000, pp.175-193.
- Ashley S. What Did Louis the Pious See in the Night Sky? A New Interpretation of the Astronomer's Account of Halley's Comet, 837. Early Medieval Europe 2013, 21(1), 27-49.