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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Rachael Harkes

Lecturer (Late Medieval History) in the Department of History

Contact Dr Rachael Harkes

I am a historian of the later middle ages, with research interests across the social, religious, political, and economic spheres of Britain and Europe, c. 1250-1550. I am particularly interested in processes of decision-making and the multifaceted influences that shaped individual actions. 

I am currently working on my first monograph which examines the prevalence of national religious guild membership in late medieval England and Wales. It makes the case that membership of religious fraternities was a vital aspect of medieval life, at once reflecting societal structures such as political bodies, households, and religious institutions, while simultaneously creating new communities that transcended these boundaries.

I am also working on a number of smaller projects that take advantage of the extensive records of the Ludlow Palmers’ Guild. These projects explore concepts of gendered membership of religious English guilds, patterns of urban guild membership, and practices of money-lending and debt repayment in the Welsh Marches.

Research Interests

  • Relationships between individuals and institutions
  • Households and domesticity
  • Lay religious practices
  • Urban politics