Jacob H. Deacon
I originally come from Devon in the southwest of England, where I lived until moving to Cardiff for my undergraduate studies. I graduated from Cardiff University in 2015 with a BA in History, also receiving the Graham and Ismay Thomas Prize for best final year student reading medieval history.
Following this I was awarded funding from the Master’s Excellence Scholarship scheme at Cardiff University to help fund my MA in History, which I completed with a distinction in 2016. After this I took a year out of university before resuming my studies at the University of Leeds. My current research is funded by a School of History and Institute for Medieval Studies PhD Scholarship.
In addition to my doctoral studies at Leeds I have taken an active role in several other academic projects with other institutions. This includes cataloguing a collection of sabres at the Deutsches Klingenmuseum in Solingen, Germany, contributing to the ‘En Garde! Le maniement des armes à travers les âges’ exhibition at Château de Morges et ses Musées in Switzerland, and working for the ‘Martial Culture in Medieval Towns’ project at Universität Bern.
From October to December in 2020 I also undertook a fellowship at the Trierer Kolleg für Mittelalter und Neuzeit, Universität Trier, to work on my PhD under the auspices of their research concentration, ‘The Value of Information in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period’. In 2021 I became the assistant editor for Acta Periodica Duellatorum, the open-access journal for historical martial arts studies.
At the University of Leeds, I have previously worked for the International Medieval Bibliography (2018–2020), taught on the undergraduate module ‘Medieval and Renaissance Europe’ as a PGR tutor (2018-2021), and organised departmental work-in-progress sessions for fellow PGR students (2019–2020). I have also served as a student representative on the Leeds School of History Staff-Student Forum and the International Medieval Congress Steering Committee. I am currently assisting with the AHRC-funded project ‘The Joust as Performance: “Pas d’armes” and Late Medieval Chivalry, led by the principal investigator Professor Rosalind Brown-Grant (University of Leeds) and Dr Mario Damen (Universiteit van Amsterdam) .
I have delivered talks on late medieval fencing, tournaments, and arms and armour for Leeds Central Library, the Royal Armouries Museum, and Pontefract Castle, and am happy to receive further invitations to speak to general audiences.
Outside of my doctoral studies I hold the following research interests:
- violence in urban centres
- late medieval tournaments and pas d’armes
- the development of late medieval and early modern arms and armour.
- the transmission of bodily knowledge and the relationship between martial knowledge and other forms of practical education.
- 2022 – ‘When is a Sword not a Sword?: Spada-azzas in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe’. International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (4–8 July). In preparation.
- 2021 – ‘By the Cross of this Sword: The Masters of Defence in Sixteenth-Century London’. Martial Culture in European Towns (1350–1650), Universität Bern (11–13 November).
- 2021 – ‘Tinker, Tailor, Fishmonger, Fencing Master: The Instruction of Arms in Fifteenth-Century London’. International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (5–9 July).
- 2019 – ‘The Arms and Arts of the Masters of Defence’. International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (1–4 July).
- 2019 – ‘Discourses of Violence: The Relationship between Fight Books and Preparation for Violence in England, c.1400–1600’. Preparing for Battle, University of Leeds (20–21 June).
- 2018 – ‘“To teche or to play or ellys for to fyte”?: The Purposes of the Fight-Book in Harley MS 3542'. International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (2–5 July).
- 2018 – ‘“A Waste of Property and Injury of Their Characters”: Learning to Fight in Medieval and Renaissance London’. Urban Military Matters in the Late Middle Ages, University of Vienna (11–12 June).
- 2018 – ‘Pietro del Monte's Staff Weapons: Context, Comparisons, and Analysis’. L'art du combat chez Pietro del Monte, University of Tours (20–21 April). With Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis.
- 2017 – ‘A Long Distance Relationship: Staff Weapons as a Microcosm for the Study of Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Fight Books’. Fight Books in Comparative Perspective. Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen (9–10 November). With Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis.
- 2016 – ‘Cogito Ergo Offendo: Attitudes of Fifteenth-Century Fencing Masters to Single Combat as a Form of Conflict Resolution’. Conflict Resolution in Historical Perspectives, Cardiff University (10 September).
- 2016 – ‘The Science and Practice of the Noble Axe-Play: The Pollaxe c.1350–1550’. Medieval Soldier Research Day, University of Southampton (24 August).
- 2016 – ‘Prologues, Poetry, and Portrayal: The Purposes of Fifteenth-Century Fight Books According to the Diplomatic Evidence’. International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (4–7 July).
- 2016 – ‘Single Combat during the Hundred Years' War: Representations and Realities’. Medieval Culture and War: Ideal, Representations, Realities, University of Leeds (5–7 May).
- 2015 – ‘The Mythologisation of Combat during the Fourteenth and Fifteenth-Centuries’. Medieval Myths and British Identities: Past, Present, Future, Cardiff University (18 September).
Conferences and Panels Organised
- 2022 – Four panels under the theme of ‘Arms, Armour, and the Arts of Combat’ organised with Dr Karen Watts at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (4–8 July). In preparation.
- 2021 – Four panels under the theme of ‘Arms, Armour, and the Arts of Combat’ organised with Dr Karen Watts at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (5–9 July).
- 2019 – Two panels under the theme of ‘Historical European Martial Arts Studies’ organised with Dr Eric Burkart at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (1–4 July).
- 2018 – One panel under the theme of ‘Historical European Martial Arts Studies’ organised with Dr Iason-Eleftherois Tzouriadis at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (2–5 July).
- 2016 – Conflict Resolution in Historical Perspectives, Cardiff University (10 September) Conference organised with William Buck and Dan Jewson.
- ‘“A Waste of Property and Injury of Their Characters”?: Learning to Fight in Medieval London’, in The City at War: Urban Communities and War in Medieval Europe, eds. Craig M. Nakashian and Peter Sposato (Boydell, forthcoming).
- ‘La Posta di Falcone and La Porta di Ferro: Representations and Receptions of Historical Fighting Practices in Medieval Media and Contemporary Popular Culture’, in The Medieval Ages in Modern Culture: History and Authenticity in Contemporary Medievalism, eds. K. Alvestad and R. Houghton (Bloomsbury, forthcoming).
- ‘A Long-Distance Relationship: Staff Weapons as a Microcosm for the Study of Fight Books, c. 1400–1550’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum, 8/1 (2020), 45–72. With Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis.
- ‘“Falsely Accused by the Villain”?: A Fishy Trial by Combat in Fifteenth-Century London’, online contribution to the Martial Culture in Medieval Towns Research Project, 2020.
- ‘Reaching Excellence: Staff Weapon Typologies, Contexts, and Fighting Techniques in the Collectanea of Pietro Monte’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum, 7/1 (2019), 235–54. With Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis.
- ‘Prologues, Poetry, Prose, and Portrayals: The Purposes of Fifteenth-Century Fight Books According to the Diplomatic Evidence’, Acta Periodica Duellatorum, 4/2 (2016), 69–90.
I have also contributed several articles on late medieval single combat and Italian fight books to the Medieval Warfare Magazine.
- Graham and Ismay Thomas Prize for Best Final Year Student Reading Medieval History, Cardiff University, 2015.
- MA History (Distinction)
- BA History (First Class)