Clare College Cambridge

Dr Rory Naismith

Dr Rory Naismith

Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow
Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic


What is your subject and specific area of study?

I work in the department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, which combines study of the history, languages, literature and material culture of the peoples who lived in the British Isles between (roughly) the fifth and twelfth centuries AD. Within this, my research focuses primarily on the currency of England and its neighbours, and on how this can enrich historians knowledge of the country at that time. The coinage of early medieval England consisted of silver pennies and some much rarer gold coins. These represented not only a means of payment and a store of value with implications for economic history, but also provide scholars with an important window onto developments in culture, political history and administration.

My work so far has been based largely on the coins of the eighth and ninth centuries the age of the venerable Bede, King Alfred and the viking raids when English kings and mint-officials (known as moneyers) first placed their names on coins as standard. I am now moving on to pursue developments in the tenth and eleventh centuries as the kingdom of Wessex expanded into the kingdom of England; a process which is vividly illustrated by the increasingly elaborate minting systems of the period. 

What makes Clare College such a good place to study your subject?

Clare is a beautiful and very welcoming place in which to pursue ASNC, and there are typically one to three ASNC students in each undergraduate year. There is a strong tradition of ASNC at Clare, going back to the very beginnings of the subject in Cambridge. In particular, the interdisciplinary ethos of the department owes much to Hector Munro Chadwick (Elrington and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon 191241), who was a fellow of Clare and advocated an approach to Anglo-Saxon studies that encompassed language, literature and history. This approach remains at the heart of ASNC at Clare.

Main Publications:
Selected Publications