Dr Claire Trenery


I completed my PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016 on the subject of ‘Miracles for the Mad: Representations of Madness in English Miracle Collections from the Long Twelfth Century’, under the supervision of Professor Peregrine Horden and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

I am currently working as Research Manager and Teaching Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London.

Research interests

My research explores how madness was distinguished and diagnosed as a condition of the mind and what effects it was thought to have on the bodies, minds and souls of sufferers whose miraculous encounters with madness (either as a divine punishment or as a condition from which they were miraculously cured) were recorded by monks in large collections of miracles attributed to the saints.

I focus on the twelfth century, which has been identified as a ‘Medieval Renaissance’: a time of cultural change that saw, among other things, the expansion of England’s great cathedrals, the development of canon law, the emergence of the concept of purgatory, the rise of the universities, and the wide dissemination of Latin texts and translated Greek and Arabic works, which brought with them a wealth of new ideas.


Journal articles

‘Insane Innocents: Mad Children in Benedict of Peterborough’s Miracula Sancti Thomae Cantuariensis’, Journal of Family and Community History, 18 (2015), 139-55 [peer-reviewed]

Articles in edited volumes

‘Medieval Madness: The Influence of Ancient Ideas about Mind and Body Interaction in Twelfth-Century England’ in Ancient Holisms, ed. by Chiara Thumiger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2019) [commissioned, peer-reviewed]

 ‘Madness in the Middle Ages’, co-authored with Peregrine Horden, in The Routledge History of Madness and Mental Health, ed. by Greg Eghigian (London: Routledge, 2017) [commissioned]

‘Demons, Saints and the Mentally Ill in the Twelfth-Century Miracles of Thomas Becket’, Demons and Illness: Theory and Practice from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period, ed. by Catherine Rider and Siam Bhayro (Leiden: Brill, 2017) [peer-reviewed]

Editorial work

Section Editor for Medieval History at h-madness (https://historypsychiatry.com), a forum for researchers to exchange ideas and information about the historical study of mental health and mental illness.

<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>