Jacob Henry Deacon

Jacob Henry Deacon


I originally come from Devon in the south west 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 Univerity to help fund my MA in History, completed with a distiction 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. 

Whilst not working on my PhD I enjoy chess, historical martial arts, and coffee.

Research interests

My main research interests are primarily concerned with the following areas in medieval and early modern Europe.

1. The transmission of bodily knowledge and the relationship between martial knowledge and other forms of practical education. 

2. The practice and surrounding cultural context of martial arts.

3. Attitudes towards armed violence in urban centres.

3. Modern representations, interpretations, and practices of historical martial art systems. 

4. The development of medieval arms and armour.

Conference Activity

Conferences and Panels Organised

2019. Two panels currently submitted on behalf of the Society for Historical European Martial Arts Studies at the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (1-4 July).

2018. Historical European Martial Arts Studies: Practices, Contexts, and Narratives, International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (2-5 July).
Panel organised on behalf of the Society for Historical European Martial Arts Studies 

2016. Conflict Resolution in Historical Perspectives, Cardiff University (10th September)  
Conference co-organised with William Buck and Dan Jewson.

Selected Papers 

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 fy?te"?: 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' (with Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis).
L'art du combat chez Pietro del Monte, University of Tours (20-21 April).

2017. 'A Long Distance Relationship: Staff Weapons as a Microcosm for the Study of Fifteenth and Sixteenth-Century Fight Books' (with Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis).
Fight Books in Comparative Perspective. Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen (9-10th November)

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)

Round Table Activity

2016. 'Discussion: Future of Historical European Martial Arts Studies'. 
International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds (4-7th July)


  • MA History (Distinction)
  • BA History (First Class)