Monasteries and monasticism in Late Medieval Dorset

On Friday 19 April at his viva David Cousins successfully defended his thesis on ‘The Monasteries and Monasticism in Late Medieval Dorset’ and was awarded his PhD subject to minor changes capable of being completed in a month. His supervisors were Prof Michael Hicks and Dr John Hare, and his examiners were Prof Janet Burton and Dr Ellie Woodacre. Dorset was an exceptional country, with five Benedictine abbeys dating from the Anglo-Saxon era – Abbotsbury, Cerne, Milton, Shaftesbury and Sherborne – and hardly any later foundations. Although all are poorly documented, David was able to advance historical understanding by using royal and episcopal sources to illuminate the demography of the monks and nuns, the ecclesiastical patronage of the monasteries, and their economies, especially sheep-flock management. The next step is to publish his results. David was a forensic scientist with a PhD in chemistry who turned to history on retirement and took our MA in Regional and Local History and Archaeology before starting his PhD.

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