Dr Sara Elin Roberts MSt, DPhil (Oxon), FRHistS, FHEA

Project Leader

I am a legal historian and a leading authority on medieval Welsh law. My research takes an interdisciplinary approach to medieval Welsh history, using the many surviving lawtexts, in Welsh and Latin, to illuminate life and society in late medieval Wales and the March. Ranging across social, cultural, political and intellectual history, my investigation of the law-texts not only sheds light on the activities of the intellectual elite (lawyers, churchmen, poets, etc), and their participation in a precocious native literary culture, but also gets at the preoccupations and mentalities of the ordinary people of medieval Wales.

The medieval law of Wales, Cyfraith Hywel, is such a rich source for getting to grips with Welsh society and its relationship with the outside world in the central medieval period that working on this topic has led me into so many exciting areas of research, teaching and publications, from women's rights in medieval Wales to the power struggles of the Wars of the Roses.

In particular I am interested in questions of gender, governance, power and identity in post-Conquest Wales and the March, as well as in the manuscript culture that lay behind the extraordinary dissemination of medieval Welsh legal texts between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries. I am also an authority on medieval Welsh poetry, in particular the work of Dafydd ap Gwilym, as a member of the project team for the new edition at www.dafyddapgwilym.net, and the editor of the bardic debate.

I participate in the work of a number of academic societies, and I regularly give public lectures on various aspects of medieval Wales.