Mark Ormrod is Professor of History and Academic Coordinator for Arts & Humanities at the University of York. Educated in London and Oxford, he has been at York since 1990, and has previously served as Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies and Head of the Department of History.
Mark’s research focuses on the political, social and cultural history of later medieval England. He has helped champion access to government records through an earlier AHRC-funded project to digitise and index the series of ‘Ancient Petitions’ in The National Archives, and through the Leverhulme-funded Parliament Rolls of Medieval England project. He has recently published a major biography of Edward III in the Yale University Press ‘English Monarchs’ series. Among his other recent and forthcoming publications are studies of English parliamentary discourse, political economy and statehood, literacy and orality, and medieval exoticism.
A full biography and bibliography are available here.
In addition to taking general responsibility for the management of the project, Marks’s particular role in the ‘England’s Immigrants’ is to research the regulation of aliens in later medieval England. It was in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that the English state first clearly defined the legal distinction between natives and foreigners. These concepts developed against a background of endemic war with Scotland and France, and of dramatic economic dislocation and social change following the Black Death of 1348-9. In both cases, aliens were easy victims of politicians and legislators eager to defame enemies and preserve England’s prosperity. Yet it was in the same period that the English crown also set up the process known today as naturalisation, and offered foreigners the opportunity to acquire the rights of native-born men and women. This and a multitude of other, informal compromises worked out on the ground, indicate that England was usually remarkably tolerant of its immigrant population, and acknowledged the important contribution that foreigners sometimes made to the material prosperity of the kingdom.