Professor Wendy R. Childs


I completed my BA and my PhD at Girton College, Cambridge. I joined the School of History at Leeds in 1975. Throughout my career my teaching spanned medieval English and European History at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I became Reader (1997) and Professor (2005). I was Director of the institute for Medieval Studies (1989-93) and Chair of the School of History (1991-4). I was on the Council of the Royal Historical Society 1999-2006.  I retired in 2007 but continue to research and write on medieval trade and fourteenth century politics and chronicles.

Research interests

My research has always had two distinct branches. The first is in England’s international trade. This work is underpinned by the excellent series of national customs accounts which survive at the National Archives, Kew.  I have been especially interested in Anglo-Iberian trade; my first book was Anglo-Castilian Trade (1978) and my most recent one was Trade and Shipping in the Medieval West: Portugal, Castile and England (2013); in between I have published widely on other branches of England’s overseas trade (eg Italy, Ireland, Iceland), and on its commodities (iron, timber, cloth, painter’s materials) and ports and areas (Hull, Bristol, the Channel Islands, Devon and East Anglia).

My second main interest has been in fourteenth century politics (especially the reign of Edward II) and English chronicles. Here I have edited  (with John Taylor) part of the Anonimalle Chronicle (Brotherton MS 29), re-edited the Vita Edwardi Secundi (Oxford Medieval Texts 2005), and edited (with John Taylor and Leslie Watkiss) two volumes of The St Albans Chronicle (Oxford Medieval Texts 2003, 2011), the second volume of which was awarded the J. Franklin Jameson Prize of the American Historical Association.

I have two further chapters in the press, and I am currently preparing a volume of documents for the reign of Edward II with Phillipp Schofield.


'England's contacts with Poland-Lithuania in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries', in Britain and Lithuania: Contact and Comparison from the Middle Ages to 1795, ed. J. Basista and R. W. Unger (Brill, 2008).

‘Cloth of gold and gold thread: luxury imports to England in the fourteenth century’, Essays presented to Michael Prestwich, ed. C. Given-Wilson, A. Kettle and L. Scales (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2008), pp. 267-85.

'Painters' Materials and the Northern International Trade Routes of Late Medieval Europe' in Trade in Painters' Materials: Markets and Commerce in Europe to 1700, ed. Jo Kirby, Susie Nash and Joanna Cannon (London: Archetype Publications Ltd, 2010), pp. 29-41.

‘Chronicles and Politics in the Reign of Edward II’ in Leeds Studies in English, new series XLI, Essays in Honour of Oliver Pickering, ed. J. Burton, W. Marx, V. O’Mara (Leeds: School of English, University of Leeds, 2012 for 2010), pp. 45-55.

‘East Anglia’s Trade in the North Sea World’, in East Anglia and its North Sea World in the Middle Ages, ed. David Bates, Robert Liddiard, (Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2013), pp. 188-203.

‘Overseas trade and shipping in Cornwall in the later middle ages’, in The Maritime History of Cornwall, ed. P. J. Payton, A. Kennerley, H. Doe (University of Exeter Press, 2014), pp. 60-71.

‘ “A paradise hit is to behold”. Opportunities for profit in Spain and Portugal in the later Middle Ages’ in The Medieval Merchant. Proceedings of the 2012 Harlaxton Symposium, ed. Caroline M. Barron and Anne F. Sutton, Harlaxton Medieval Studies XXIV (Shaun Tyas, Donington, 2014), pp. 1-19.

‘The Shipman’, in Historians on Chaucer. The ‘General Prologue’ to the Canterbury Tales ed. Steve Rigby (Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 277-96.

‘From Chronicles to Customs Accounts. The Uses of Latin in the Long 14th Century’, in Latin in Medieval Britain, ed. Richard Ashdowne and Carolinne White, Proceedings of the British Academy 206 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 85-105

‘The overseas trade of Bristol and its region in the mid-fifteenth century’, The World of the Newport Ship, ed. Evan Jones (University of Wales Press, 2018)

‘England’s Maritime and Commercial Networks in the Late Middle Ages’, Maritime Networks as a Factor in European Integration/Reti Marittime come Fattori dell’integrazione Europea. Atti delle “Settimane di Studi” e altri Convegni 50, Fondazione Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica “F. Datini”, Prato (Florence: Florence University Press, 2019), pp. 89-115.

‘Government and market in the early fourteenth century’, in Ruling Fourteenth Century England. Essays in Honour of Christopher Given-Wilson, ed. R. Ambühl, J. Bothwell, L. Tompkins (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2019), pp. 36-57.

‘Everyday Life’, in Geoffrey Chaucer in Context, ed. Ian Johnson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), pp. 371-7.


Trade and Shipping in the Medieval West: Portugal, Castile and England, Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales. Textes et Études du Moyen Âge 70 (Porto: Brepols, Turnhout, 2013), pp. 187.


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