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Dr Elizabeth New BA (Exeter), MA (York), PhD (London) is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her research interests focus on high and later medieval England and Wales, especially its social, cultural and religious history; the visual and material culture of medieval Britain and northern Europe; medieval seals and sealing practices; and heritage studies. Dr New is currently working on her Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2020-23), ‘Identity, interaction and exchange in medieval England’, and was Co-Investigator for the recent AHRC Imprint: a forensic and historical investigation of fingerprints on medieval seals project She is also an advisor to the British Academy English Episcopal Acta project, Chair of Sigillvm (the international association for the study of seals), and a member of the Harlaxton Medieval Symposium steering committee.

Research interests

Dr Elizabeth New works on the social, cultural and religious history and material and visual culture of medieval Britain, and on aspects of heritage studies.

She currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2020-23). Her project, ‘Identity, interaction and exchange in medieval England’, draws on a range of historical and scientific research methods to explore the ways in which people, especially of the under-investigated middling and lower levels of society, used seals as a means of identification and representation, and in relation to social, cultural and legal interactions and exchange, and will lead to a major monograph, Impressing People. Identity, interaction and exchange in medieval England and Wales. In addition to this book Dr New is working on a series of publications that highlight how a holistic approach to seals and sealing practices, and in particular their full integration into medieval studies, can provide new insights into society and reveal important nuances of cultural meaning. Dr New was Co-Investigator for the AHRC project Imprint: a forensic and historical investigation of fingerprints on medieval seals and previously was Senior Researcher for the AHRC Seals in Medieval Wales project.

Dr New’s critical edition of the records of the Jesus Guild in St Paul's Cathedral (Oxford, Bodleian Tanner MS 221), which provide valuable insights into socio-economic networks and the 'economy of salvation' on the eve of the Reformation, is published in February 2022 This is one element in Dr New’s ongoing work on aspects of the Holy Name (the subject of her PhD) in relation to expressions of Christocentric devotion, a monograph about which is forthcoming.

Dr New has a range of interests relating to heritage, material culture, and historiography, and currently is investigating a group of medievalists active during the period of the ‘professionalization’ of history.


PhD Supervision

  • Seals and sealing practices in medieval Britain. Approaches include cultural and social history; administrative and legal practices; local studies; imagery and semiotics; cross-cultural and trans-national exchange; archival, museum and historiographical studies.

  • Religious and devotional practices in later medieval England and Wales, especially the material and visual culture of devotion, guilds and fraternities, Christocentric devotion.

Additional information

I currently am working on a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship project, so I am unable to respond to teaching or administrative queries. I am however happy to receive enquiries from potential PhD students.


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