Dr Michael Spence


2005 MA in Anglo-Saxon Studies, University of Manchester
2014 PhD Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds

Research interests

Medieval record-keeping; early documentary history of northern England; economic history of northern monasteries; manuscript digitisation; digital humanities.


Monograph: The Late Medieval Cistercian Monastery of Fountains Abbey: Monastic Administration, Economy and Archival Memory (Brepols, July 2020).

Critical Edition: BL Add MS 40010, Fountains Abbey Rentals; in preparation.


‘Cartularies of Fountains Abbey: Archival Systems and Practices’, Cîteaux: Commentarii cistercienses, 61 (2010), 185-205;

‘Interpretations of Malham from Fourteenth-Century Sources’, in Medieval Studies in the Yorkshire Dales (York: PLACE/YDLRT,  2013), pp. 17-27;

‘Fountains Abbey and the Acquisition of Bordley in Craven: Anglo-Scandinavians, Scots and monastic flocks’,  Northern History, 53 (2016), 26-55;

‘Stimulating the Institutional Memory : the President Book of Fountains Abbey’ in Les pratiques de l'écrit dans les abbayes cisterciennes (XIIe - milieu du XVIe siècle). Produire, échanger, contrôler, conserver : Actes du colloque international, Troyes-Abbaye de Clairvaux, 28-30 octobre 2015, ed. by Arnaud Bodin and Laurent Morelle (Paris: Somogy, 2016), 293-304;

‘Medieval Dairying: A Ewe Flock in Fourteenth-Century Malham’, Northern History, 56 (2019), 3-24;

‘The Disputed Election at Fountains Abbey Revisited’, Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies, 8 (2019), 207-33;

with Philip Butterworth: ‘WILLIAM PARNELL, SUPPLIER OF STAGING AND INGENIOUS DEVICES, and his Role in the Entry of Elizabeth Woodville into Norwich in 1469’, Medieval English Theatre, 40 (2019), 7-65.


Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow, ed. by Christopher Grocock and I.N. Wood, Oxford Medieval Texts (Oxford: OUP, 2013), in Northern History, 52:1 (March 2015), 134;

Durham Priory Manorial Accounts, 1277-1310, ed. by Richard Britnell, Surtees Society Publications, 218 (2014), in Northern History, 52:1 (March 2015), 141;

The Latin Cartulary of Godstow Abbey, Oxford, ed. by Emilie Amt, (Oxford: OUP, 2014), in Sehepunkte, 15 (2015);

Alisdair Dobie, Accounting at Durham Cathedral Priory; Management and Control of a Major Ecclesiastical Corporation 1083-1539 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), in Northern History, 53:2 (2016), 155-56;

Susan Rose, The Wealth of England: The Medieval Wool Trade and Its Political Importance 1100-1600 (Oxford: Oxbow, 2018), in Northern History, 55 (2018), 255-58.

Colloquium papers

IMC 2009: ‘Precedent or President: Cross-referral in the Records of Fountains Abbey’;

IMC 2010: ‘Fountains Abbey: Making the Documentary Connection’;

IMC 2011: ‘A Fresh Look at Fountains Rentals’;

IMC 2012: ‘Scribes of Fountains Abbey’;

IMC 2014: ‘Record-Keeping at Fountains Abbey and the Election Dispute of 1410-16’;

Troyes, France, 2015: ‘Stimulating the Institutional Memory: The President Book of Fountains Abbey’

IMC 2018: ‘Recordkeeping at Fountains Abbey: Shaping Archival Memory’

Leeds 2018, Northern History Colloquium in memory of Gordon Forster: ‘Canons and Pastoral Care in Medieval Yorkshire?’

IMC 2019: ‘Navigation and Retrieval Systems in the Archives of Fountains Abbey’

Local History Society presentations

April 2013, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Medieval Section: ‘Record-keeping at Fountains Abbey’;

October 2014, Upper Wharfedale Heritage Group: ‘The Craven Granges of Fountains Abbey’;

November 2014: Ingleborough Archaeology Group, ‘Monastic Malham’;

April 2015: Yorkshire Dales National Parks Authority Day School: ‘The Lost Charters of Bordley’;

November 2015, North Craven Heritage Trust: ‘Craven and the Disputed Election at Fountains Abbey, 1410-1416’;

October 2017: 3D Archaeological Society, Harrogate: ‘A History of Aldfield and Fountains Abbey’;

September 2018, Halifax Antiquarian Society: ‘Calderdale and Fountains Abbey.’

October 2019, Hebden Bridge Local History Society: ‘A Monastic Flock in Medieval Malham?’


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>