Dr Sophie Therese AmblerLecturer in Later Medieval British and European History
I'm a historian of the Middle Ages, focusing on the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, largely in England and France but also looking to the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and the Holy Land, with broad interests in radicalism and war. I joined Lancaster in 2017, and teach an undergraduate course on the Crusades and a co-taught MA course on non-textual sources, as well as contributing to several other modules. Previously I was at the University of East Anglia, where I was fortunate to be a researcher on the AHRC's Magna Carta Project, which produced a number of new and exciting discoveries about the Charter. From 2012-13 I was a researcher for the AHRC's Breaking of Britain project, which explored the period leading up to the Wars of Independence. I undertook my PhD at King's College London with joint supervision at University College London, and in my fourth year was Thornley Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. I'm a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and secretary of the Pipe Roll Society, and enjoy writing for and speaking to a broader public audience, whether through talks or TV, radio and print.
My interest spans the later Middle Ages, largely in England and France but also looking to the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and the Holy Land. The two broad areas of my research are radicalism – in terms of both political thought and action on the ground – and war – in terms of both culture and individual experience. My early research falls into the first category, exploring the role of bishops in rebellion and revolution in thirteenth-century England, looking at the interaction of political thought and action in the age of Magna Carta and the Montfortian revolution. My monograph (Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213–1272) was published with OUP in January 2017. My current project, a book on Simon de Montfort earl of Leicester (d.1265), spans both interests, for Montfort led a cohort of nobles in seizing power from the king and establishing a council to govern indefinitely – England's first revolution – amassing a vast popular following, many of whom died with him on the battlefield in 1265 fighting as avowed crusaders. More broadly, this research places Montfort's career, and the way in which he cultivated his reputation as leader, in the context of the unique and vigorous identity of the Montfort family, who operated as crusaders across Europe and the Middle East. My next major area of research will be the soldier of later medieval England, bringing together social, cultural and intellectual history in order to explore the experiences and cultures of troops operating in the British Isles and France between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, as well as the shifting patterns of thought concerned with soldiers and their roles and responsibilities in conflict.
I teach an undergraduate course, 'Crusade and Jihad: Holy War in the Middle East, 1095-1254' (HIST208) and a 'Dates' module on 1415 (the battle of Agincourt) as part of HIST100 (the 'big picture' introductory course for History), and I'm a tutor on 'The Nature and Practice of History' (HIST250). I also co-teach an MA course, 'Beyond the Text: Image Sound and Object as Historical Evidence (HIST421).
I'm a council member and secretary of the Pipe Roll Society: founded at the Public Record Office (now The National Archives) in 1884, the PRS is dedicated to publishing editions of the pipe rolls of the Exchequer and of other related medieval documents.
PhD Supervision Interests
I would welcome inquiries from students interested in later medieval British and European history generally, and specifically the themes of political thought and action, the Church, warfare, crusaders, and charters and diplomatic.
Bishops in the Political Community of England, 1213-1272
Ambler, S. 2017 Oxford : Oxford University Press. 256 p. ISBN: 9780198754022.
The Montfortian Bishops
Ambler, S. 2016 In: Baronial Reform and Revolution in England, 1258-1267. London : Boydell & Brewer p. 139-151. 13 p. ISBN: 9781843834670.
Magna Carta: Its Confirmation at Simon de Montfort’s Parliament of 1265
Ambler, S. 1/08/2015 In: English Historical Review. 130, 545, p. 801-830. 30 p.
Simon de Montfort and King Henry III: The First Revolution in English History, 1258–1265
Ambler, S. 9/12/2013 In: History Compass. 11, 12, p. 1076-1087. 12 p.
On Kingship and Tyranny: Grosseteste’s Memorandum and its Place in the Baronial Reform Movement
Ambler, S. 2013 In: Thirteenth Century England. Woodbridge : Boydell & Brewer p. 115-128. 14 p. ISBN: 9781843838098.
The Montfortian bishops and the justification of conciliar government in 1264
Ambler, S. 05/2012 In: Historical Research. 85, 228, p. 193-209. 17 p.