Research and Publications

Gwen Seabourne

A graduate in law from Cambridge (B.A.) and Oxford (B.C.L.) and in History from Bristol (Ph.D.), and a former Law Commission research assistant,  I am currently employed by the School of Law, University of Bristol, as Professor of Legal History, teaching legal history and property law, and researching in legal history. I am a member of the Welsh Legal History Society committee and convenor of the Legal History section of the Society of Legal Scholars.

Research and Publications: see also

I have written mainly in the field of medieval legal history, but also have publications in other areas of law. In addition I have published numerous poems and some short stories.

Here are some highlights:

Authored Books
Imprisoning Medieval Women: Non-Judicial Confinement of Women in England c.1170-1509, (Ashgate, 2011). 238 pages. [Completed with a grant under the AHRC Research Leave scheme.]

Royal Regulation of Loans and Sales in Medieval England: ‘Monkish Superstition and Civil Tyranny’, (Boydell Press, 2003). 228 pages. [Brought to publication with the aid of a grant from the F.W. Maitland Fund]

Academic Journal Papers (refereed)
‘Eleanor of Brittany and her treatment by King John and Henry III’, Nottingham Medieval Studies, 51 (2007), pp. 73-110.

(with E.W. Paton) ‘’Time to eject the three years’ rack-rent penalty? Section 145 of the Law of Property Act 1925’’, Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, 70 (2006) pp. 451-459. [contribution 50 %]

‘Assize matters: regulation of the price of bread in medieval London’, Journal of Legal History, 27 (2006), pp. 29-52.

(with E.W. Paton) ‘You can’t get there from here: permissible use of easements after Das’, Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, 67 (2003) pp. 127-135. [contribution 50 %].

(with A. Seabourne), ‘Suicide or accident – self-killing in medieval England: a series of 198 cases from the eyre records’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 178 (2001), pp. 42-47. [Contribution: primary research, 100%, writing up 25%].

(with A. Seabourne), ‘The law on suicide in medieval England’, Journal of Legal History, 21 (2000), pp. 21-48. [Contribution: primary research, 100%, writing up, 90%].

(with E.W. Paton), ‘Unchained remedy: recovery of land by licensees’, Conveyancer and Property Lawyer, 63 (1999), pp. 535-542. [Contribution, 50%]

‘Controlling commercial morality in late Medieval London: the usury trials of 1421’, Journal of Legal History, 19 (1998), pp. 116-142.


Chapters in Edited Books

‘Copulative complexities: the exception of adultery in medieval dower actions’, in D. Ibbetson and M. Dyson (eds.), Law and Legal Process: substantive law and procedure in English Legal History, (Cambridge University Press, 2013) 34-55.

‘Law, morals and money: royal regulation of the substance of subjects’ sales and loans in England 1272-1399’, in Musson, A (ed.), Expectations of Law in the Middle Ages, (Boydell & Brewer, 2001), pp. 117-134.


Official Reports
(with G.C. Davis, R. Lindsey and J.E. Griffiths-Baker, Experiencing Inquests (Home Office Research Study 241, Home Office, Research, Development and Statistics Directorate, 2002). [I wrote two chapters for this book, and contributed to overall direction and conclusions].


I have published numerous poems and stories in books, magazines, refereed online poetry magazines, have performed, by invitation, at a number of readings, and a poem of mine has been read on BBC R4’s Poetry Please programme. The combination of interests in poetry and law may seem an odd one, but the two disciplines were, in the past, seen as linked: for example, the native jurists of medieval Wales composed triadic verse on aspects of law.