Leeds IMC 2020: The Marches of Britain and Ireland, 1100-1400

deadline for submissions: 
August 31, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Victoria Shirley, Cardiff University
contact email: 

The Marches of Britain and Ireland, 1100-1400, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 6-9 July 2020

Sponsors: Medieval and Early Modern Research Initiative, Cardiff University and the Welsh Chronicles Research Group, Bangor University


In medieval Europe, a March was a ‘broad zone on or beyond the frontiers of a country or an ill-defined and contested district between two countries’ (R.R. Davies). Marches were typically military buffer zones that had their own legal and administrative structures. These military zones marked the limits of political power, but they were also sites of contact between different peoples, languages, and cultures. Their relative independence from central governments allowed for peripheral cultures and identities to flourish which then could influence the center.

While marches can be found in different areas of medieval Europe, this series of sessions will focus in particular on comparisons, connections, and continuities between the Irish, Scottish, and Welsh Marches from the twelfth century to the fourteenth century. The comparative nature of these sessions will provide an opportunity to consider how these border zones were constructed and conceptualised across time and space.


This series of sessions will be organised around the following themes:

The Marches of Britain and Ireland, I: Conflict and Conquest: This session will examine the history of conflict and conquest between different peoples in the Marches. Papers are particularly welcome on military conflict, ideologies, strategies, and cultural outcomes of a militarized borderland.

The Marches of Britain and Ireland, II: Geography and Landscape: This session will address constructions of place and space and the political geography of the Marches. Papers are particularly welcome on onomastics, mapping, contested territorial boundaries, and saints’ cults.

The Marches of Britain and Ireland, III: Languages and Cultures: This session will examine cultural encounters and linguistic contact in the Marches. Papers are particularly welcome on linguistic influence, literary contact, historical writing, genealogy, and identity in the Marches.


We welcome submissions from a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to: archaeology, geography, literature, linguistics, history, and politics. Papers may be comparative (examining more than one march) or focus on a single area. Submissions from Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers are very welcome.

Please send abstracts for 20-minute papers of up to 250 words to Georgia Henley (georgiah@gmail.com) and Victoria Shirley (shirleyve@cardiff.ac.uk) by 31st August 2019. Abstracts should include a summary and full title of your paper, along with your name, institution or affiliation, and full postal and electronic contact details. It would also be helpful if you could indicate which session you would like to participate in.