July 7, 2023, by ahzsa

Festschrift (commemorative volume) for Emeritus Professor Michael Jones

After being awarded his doctorate at the University of Oxford in 1966, Michael Jones taught for a year at the University of Exeter before joining the History Department at the University of Nottingham in September 1967 as an assistant lecturer. Promoted Reader in 1984 and Professor of French Medieval History in 1991, he retired in 2002 but has continued to be active in his main field of research, the history of the medieval duchy of Brittany. Thanks to particular political circumstances Brittany was able to develop into a largely independent and sovereign power within the kingdom of France at the end of the Middle Ages, with its own institutions, policies and traditions, before its definitive incorporation into the crown between 1491-1532. His work has especially traced the complicated political, social and cultural consequences of the confrontation between the Montfort dukes of Brittany and the Capetian and Valois kings of France. In addition for over 40 years he has worked in conjunction with Professor Gwyn Meirion-Jones on a major interdisciplinary study of surviving seigneurial residences in Brittany (manoirs, châteaux) with a wealth of publications.

In retirement, he has also worked on local Nottinghamshire history, of which the major output has been an edition with colleagues of The White Book (Liber Albus) of Southwell (Pipe Roll Society, N.S. 61, 2 vols., 2018) and studies of Norwell in central Nottinghamshire where he now lives, a prebendal village owned by the church from Anglo-Saxon times until 1952. He edited Nottingham Medieval Studies from 1989-2008, and from 1990-97 he was one of the two literary directors of the Royal Historical Society, being responsible for seeing 12 volumes of the Camden Series through the press as well as several Handbooks, including revising C. R. Cheney’s invaluable Handbook of Dates for Students of English History (2000), the book most frequently stolen from the old PRO!

In 2002 he was awarded the Order of the Ermine by the Institut Culturel de Bretagne in recognition of his contribution to Breton history and culture. In 2006 he was elected ‘correspondant étranger’ of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, one of the five academies that make up the Institut de France (the French equivalent of the Royal Society, British Academy and Royal Society of Arts combined), and in 2017 he was promoted ‘Associé étranger’, becoming ‘Membre de l’Institut’.

The Mélanges now published in his honour as an issue of Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de l’Ouest (Bretons du Moyen Âge, entre Guerre et Paix, ed. Yves Coativy, Anne Curry and Fréderique Lachaud), is a further tribute, chiefly from his continental friends and colleagues, to his contribution and its influence on those currently working on late medieval France and England.

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