• Dr Robert W Jones
Visiting Scholar of History

Biography

I specialise in the socio-cultural history of medieval warfare and warriors. Military history is very often considered the preserve of retired generals and focused on tedious narratives of battle and campaign. For me, warfare is a cultural phenomenon and its study should be as much about understanding the participants and their experience of battle as of the battles themselves. To my mind, the behaviour of the warriors on the battlefield was informed as much by the culture and society from which they came as by the practicalities of combat. 

I came to military history from a background in reenactment and costumed interpretation (something I still do; I have my own fourteenth-century harness and am a practitioner and instructor of Historical European Martial Arts, focusing on medieval longsword combat), and so experiential learning is a large part of my research.

 

  • The use of experimental archaeology and experiential learning is an important aspect of my academic work. Here I give a public presentation on arming the knight at the Chiltern Open Air Museum. The use of experimental archaeology and experiential learning is an important aspect of my academic work. Here I give a public presentation on arming the knight at the Chiltern Open Air Museum.

It is one of the joys of working for Advanced Studies in England - the study abroad programme based in Bath, England owned by Franklin and Marshall College, where I am the Alumni Association Coordinator  - that not only am I supported in my on-going research but I also get to teach on the subjects of knighthood and chivalry, and military cultures to bright, enthusiastic students.

Education and Professional Memberships

2016: Co-editor of the 'Armour and Weapons' series, Boydell and Brewer

2011: Fellow, The Royal Historical Society

2006: PhD (Cardiff University) 'Bloodied Banners: The Forms and Functions of Martial Display on the Medieval Battlefield.

1999: MA with distinction in Medieval British Studies (Cardiff University)

1996: Upper second, BA(hons) in History (Cardiff University)

Publications 

Books

Cultures of the Sword in the High Middle Ages (Boydell and Brewer, forthcoming).

(ed. with Peter Coss) A Companion to Chivalry (Boydell and Brewer, 2019).

Knight: The Warrior and World of Chivalry.  (Osprey Publishing, 2011).

Bloodied Banners: Martial Display on the Medieval Battlefield.  (Boydell and Brewer, 2010).

 

Chapters and Articles

'".j. veel feble fauchon dil anxien temps." The Selection of the Falchion as Symbol of Tenure: Form, Function and Symbolism', in The Sword: Form and Thought, ed. L. Deutscher, M. Kaiser and S. Wetzler (Boydell and Brewer, 2019)

'Heraldry and Heralds' and 'Marshalling the Chivalric Elite for War' in A Companion to Chivalry, ed. P. Coss and R. W. Jones (Boydell and Brewer, 2019)

'Cum Equus Discoopertus: The ‘Irish’ Hobelar in the English armies of the Fourteenth Century', in Military Communities in Late Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Andrew Ayton , ed. G. Baker, C. Lambert and D. Simpkin (Boydell and Brewer, 2018)

'A silver boar on Bosworth Field: the significance of the livery badge on the medieval battlefield.' Coat of Arms (3rd ser.) 11 (2015), part 1: no 229

'þen hentes he þe healme, and hastily hit kisses:  The symbolic significance of donning armour in medieval romance.'  Battles and Bloodshed: The Medieval World at War. (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)

Entries on ‘The Peace and Truce of God’, ‘Chivalry’ and ‘The Great Companies’ for The Encyclopaedia of Warfare, ed. G. Martel  (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Entries on ‘banners’, ‘livery and uniforms’ and ‘signals’ for Medieval Warfare and Military Technology: An Encyclopaedia, ed. C. Rogers (Oxford University Press, 2010).

‘Re-thinking the origins of the ‘Irish’ hobelar.’  Cardiff Historical Papers. (2008).  Awarded the 2009 Gillingham Prize for an outstanding article in the field of medieval military history, given by De Re Militari: The Society for Medieval Military History.

‘Identifying the Warrior on the Pre-Heraldic Battlefield.’ Anglo-Norman Studies, 30 (2008) 154-67

“What Banner Thine?’ The Banner as Symbol of Identification, Status and Authority on the Medieval Battlefield.’  Haskins Society Journal, 15 (2006)

 

Selected Conferences and Lectures 
  • 2021 International Medieval Congress, Leeds: 'It's Only a Sword: Challenging the Mysticism of High Medieval Swords.' 
  • 2018 International Medieval Congress, Leeds: 'Learning the Sword:  Fighting Manuals and Medieval Pedagogy.'
  • 2016 International Medieval Congress, Leeds: ‘The Word in the Sword: Towards an Understanding of the Inscribing of Medieval Blades.’
  • 2015 Sword; Form and Thought, Solingen: Un Veel Feble Fauchon dil Anxien Temps: The selection of the falchion as a symbol of tenure; form, function and symbolism.’
  • 2015 Middle Ages in the Modern World, Lincoln University: 'Awakening the Blade: Historical Fencing as Hobby, Sport and Academic Study.'
  • 2011 British Commission for Military History New Research in Military History Conference, Kings College London: ‘Livery, Ensigns and Russet-Coated Captains: The Military Revolution Through the Lens of Martial Display.'
  • 2011 International Medieval Congress, Leeds: ‘The sword that Sever’d Malchus’ ear: The appearance of the falchion in medieval iconography.’
  • 2010 International Medieval Congress, Leeds:Un Veel Feble Fauchon dil Anxien Temps: The selection of the falchion as a symbol of tenure; form, function and symbolism.’
  • 2010 Coloquio Internacional de Historia Bélica, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain: 'þen hentes he þe healme, and hastily hit kisses:  The symbolic significance of donning armour in medieval romance.'
  • 2007 The Historical Association, Cardiff Branch: ‘The True Origins of the ‘Irish’ Hobelar.
  • 2007 Anglo-Norman Studies Conference, Gregynog, Wales: ‘Identifying the Warrior on the Pre-Heraldic battlefield.'
  • 2005 ‘Mercenaries and Paid Men’, Swansea University: ‘Military Culture, Mercenary Culture and Martial Display.'
  • 2004 Haskins Society Conference, Ithaca, New York, USA: “What Banner Thine?’ The Banner as Symbol of Identification, Status and Authority on the Medieval Battlefield.'
  • 2001 ‘War’, Durham University: ‘Saint and Devil: Military Display and the Medieval Warrior's Humanity.'