Dr Ian Forrest

Dr Ian Forrest
Catto Fellow and Tutor in History / Fellow Librarian
MA, MPhil (Glas.), D.Phil.

I am a Fellow and Tutor in History at Oriel, and I also hold the position of Fellow Librarian.

At undergraduate level I teach the history of Britain and Europe between 1000 and 1550, including a first-year paper on ‘Crime and Punishment in England 1280-1450’ and a third-year paper on ‘England in Crisis, 1374-1390’.  I also teach the archaeology, art and economics strands of ‘Approaches to History’, and the political thought paper ‘Theories of the State’.

Graduate Supervision

I have supervised graduate students working on the history of political thought in late medieval England (Wyclif, Conciliarism), sanctity and religious geography, insult in late medieval London, fourteenth-century sermons, and the medical language of religious women.  I would be interested in receiving inquiries from prospective graduate students with interests in any aspect of late medieval social and religious history.

At Master’s level I teach an option on the ‘Use of English and the Public Sphere in England, 1300-1550’, and I am the faculty’s Tutor for Medieval Graduates. Along with John Blair (The Queen's College) I convene the graduate seminar 'Medieval Economic and Social History', which is held in Oriel in Trinity Term each year.

Research interests

My first book, The Detection of Heresy in Late Medieval England examined the development of inquisitorial procedure in England from the 1380s to the 1430s, looking at the involvement of ordinary people in the prosecution of heretics, and exploring themes of government and ecclesiastical communication and propaganda. My current project is the history of trust and trustworthiness in England between 1200 and 1400, which brings questions from the social sciences to bear upon the records of church courts and administration.

I am interested in the way in which social values build social bonds but also throw up barriers and divisions, and in the relationship between communications and communities. Heresy, inquisition and religious movements across Europe continue to interest me, and I am also pursuing research into popular (peasant) politics, particularly the symbolism of political protest, and the use of social theory to ask questions about solidarity and rebellion.

Ecclesiastical administrative and judicial records are at the heart of my research, especially visitation records. I am a council member of the Lincoln Record Society, which publishes historical records relating to Lincolnshire and the ancient diocese of Lincoln, which once stretched from the Humber to the Thames (and included Oxford).

Selected publications

'The Transformation of Vistation in Thirteen-Century England' . Past and Present 221 (2013), 1-36.

'The survival of medieval visitation records'. Archives forthcoming (2013).

'Lollardy, inquisition, and the English provincial constitutions', ed. by K. Walter and M.C. Flannery (2012).

'Lollardy and late medieval history', in Wycliffite controversies, ed. by M. Bose and P.J. Hornbeck (2011).

'The archive of the official of Stow and the 'machinery' of church government in the late-thirteenth century'. Historical Resarch 84 (2011).

'The politics of burial in late medieval Hereford'. English Historical Review (2010).

'William Swinderby and the Wycliffite attitude to excommunication'. Journal of Ecclesiastical History 60 (2009) , 246-69.

'Defamation, Heresy and Late Medieval Social Life', in Image, Text and Church, 1380-1600: Essays for Margaret Aston (Toronto, 2009), 142-61.

'The Dangers of Diversity: Heresy and Authority in the 1405 Case of John Edward', in Discipline and Diversity (Papers read at the 2005 summer meeting and the 2006 winter meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society) (2007), 230-240.

The Detection of Heresy in Late Medieval England (Oxford, 2005).

'Anti-Lollard Polemic and Practice in Late Medieval England', in The Fifteenth Century III: Authority and Subversion (Woodbridge, 2003), 63-74.