Law, lordship, and locality: landscapes of authority in England, 1250-1350
I am a social and legal historian studying England in the high middle ages. My thesis investigates the coercive and cooperative relationships between local communities and structures of authority such as centralized legal institutions or the demands of lordship. The personal or institutional rights which people claimed interest me less than how these structures of law and lordship were mediated, rejected, or appropriated by the people they affected. The study of this dynamic is accomplished through an analysis of central and local legal records in order to uncover points of contact between local communities and the official representatives of royal, lordly, or ecclesiastical power. The relationship of people to more amorphous conceptions of authority can be identified through their interactions with the direct representations of authority such as stewards, bailiffs, foresters, and sheriffs.