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Helen Lawson’s doctoral thesis, ‘Navigating Northumbria: Mobility, Allegory and Writing Travel in Early Medieval Northumbria’, considers the narrational and theological role of travel and mobility in Northumbrian histories and hagiographies. This work originally stemmed from the idea that scholarship on early medieval northern Britain tends to underestimate, or reject outright, the role of land transport in early medieval mobility. Whilst the original starting point was focussed on the practice and practicalities of travel, the thesis has shifted to interrogate the conceptual role of travel in the milieu of Bede and his contemporaries.




Helen Lawson completed an MSc by Research (Scottish History) on early medieval Scotland in August 2013, also at the University of Edinburgh, with a dissertation entitled “The narrational context of early medieval Scottish battles”. In it, she considered the presentation of warfare and conflict in early medieval narratives, with particular reference to Scotland. This research explored the role of warfare in early medieval narratives encompassing Scotland, and argued that the importance of battles and conflict that are narrated reflect more of the authorial context and later narrational importance, rather than the political significance of the actions in their own time. Prior to this, also at the University of Edinburgh, she completed an MA (Hons.) in Celtic and Archaeology.


Lawson, Helen (2017). Navigating Northumbria: mobility, allegory, and writing travel in Early Medieval Northumbria. PhD Thesis, University of Edinburgh. Download from the Edinburgh Research Archive

Helen Lawson

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