Dr Paul Stamper

Visiting Fellow in English Local History

Dr Paul StamperBiography

I was lucky enough to attend Kettering Grammar School, where there was a Local History and Archaeology Society under the leadership of the headmaster John Steane, a former pupil of WG Hoskins. Schoolboy excavating and fieldwalking was followed by a first degree and PhD at Southampton under Colin Platt, the latter combining archaeological and historical sources to study the medieval landscape of Hampshire. From there I moved to work for over a decade on the Victoria History of Shropshire, before moving to English Heritage (latterly Historic England) in 1996. There, my twenty-year career was spent in a variety of roles, most of them in designation – that is, the legal protection of buildings, sites and landscapes.

In 2017 I left Historic England to establish my own historic environment consultancy, Paul Stamper Heritage: https://paulstamperheritage.wordpress.com For the academic year 2017-18, while Dr Richard Jones is on sabbatical, I will be teaching the MA here on ‘Medieval Landscapes’.

Research and academic interests

While my bibliography (below) demonstrates a fairly catholic range of interests, most are related in one way or another to the study of the post-Roman rural landscape. At the core of those interests, interweaving through my career from schoolboy days to the present, has been medieval settlement. In the past I was involved in several large-scale village excavations, notably Wharram Percy (North Yorkshire), where I was Assistant Director for the last ten seasons, through the 1980s. In 2012 Neil Christie and I jointly edited the major overview, Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600.

For 15 years from 1994 I was a visiting lecturer at the University of Bristol, on its Landscape Archaeology MA. I also taught there on its Garden History MA (later transferred to the University of Buckingham), and also teach some garden history at Kellogg College at the University of Oxford. Over the years I have organised various meetings including two international conferences: ‘The Age of Transition’ at the British Museum in 1996; and the Fourth World Battlefield Archaeology Conference, at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds in 2006.

My wider engagement with the scholarly community has included the Society for Medieval Archaeology (as Assistant Editor, Secretary and Vice President), the Royal Archaeological Institute (Council member and Vice President), the Medieval Settlement Research Group (President), the British Archaeological Awards (trustee and Book Panel chairman) and the journal Landscapes (Joint Editor 2005-15). I was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1987.

Principal Publications

(i) General archaeology and excavation reports

(Editor, with D. Gaimster) The Age of Transition: The Cultural Archaeology of England 1400-1600 (1997)

(with R.A. Croft) The South Manor Area: Wharram volume VIII (2000)

(with T.C. Darvill and   J.R. Timby) England: An Archaeological Guide (2002)

(ii) Landscape, topography and settlement

Contributions to The Victoria History of Shropshire volumes 10 (1999) Wenlock Edge and the Stretton Hills; 11 (1985) Telford

‘Woods and Parks’, pp. 128-48 in G. Astill and A. Grant (eds),The Countryside of Medieval England (1988)

(with M.D. Leah et al) The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire (1998)

‘Rural Settlements and Manors’, pp. 247-63 in J. Hunter and I. Ralston (eds), The Archaeology of Britain (1999; revised edition 2009)

(Joint Editor, with N. Christie) Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland, AD 800-1600 (2012)

(iii)   Agriculture

‘The Farmer Feeds Us All’: A Short History of Shropshire Agriculture (1989)

Contributions to The Victoria History of Shropshire volume 4 (1989) Agriculture

(with Robin Hill) The Working Countryside 1864-1945 (1993)

(iv)   Designed landscapes

Historic Parks and Gardens of Shropshire (1996)

‘Of Naked Venuses and Drunken Bacchanals’: Tong Castle, Shropshire, and its Landscapes’, pp. 181-94 in M. Costen (ed.), People and Places: Essays in Honour of Mick Aston (2007)

Cheshire, Gloucestershire (part), Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Worcestershire: revised entries for English Heritage, Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England (1996-2000)

(v)   Architecture

(with N. Baker and R.K. Morriss) ‘Shrewsbury Market Place and Hall’, Archaeological Journal 163 (2006), 180-232

‘Bring Up the Bodies; Patronal Bodies and the Dissolution’, pp. 169-80 in C. Donovan (ed.), A Fresh Approach: Essays Presented to Colin Platt in Celebration of his Eightieth Birthday (2014)

(vi)   Military

(Joint Editor, with V. Holyoak), The First World War, being English Heritage Conservation Bulletin 71 (Winter 2013)

Contributions to C. Appleby, W. Cocroft and J. Schofield (eds.), The Home Front in Britain1914-18: An Archaeological Handbook (2015)

(Joint Editor with W. Cocroft), The Home Front (forthcoming, Historic England 2018)

(vi)   Biography and historiography

‘Northamptonshire’, pp. 291-301 in C.R.J. Currie and C.P. Lewis (eds.), English County Histories: A Guide (1994)

George Baker; Elizabeth Baker; and John Mastin, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004/5)

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