Ben R McRee Professor of History


My interests lie in the social and religious history of medieval and early modern Europe. I am attracted to those areas in part because of their distance from our own age, a distance that creates contrasts that I find intriguing, and in part because of the challenging puzzles that the haphazard survival of source material has created. I teach a variety of courses in these areas, including advanced undergraduate seminars on medieval cities, the Black Death, and late-medieval spirituality. My research focuses on late-medieval England, particularly on urban political culture and on the lay religious organizations known as gilds or fraternities that were so important to both urban and rural communities in the fifteenth century.


Ph.D., History, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1987

M.A., History, Indiana University, Bloomington, 1981

B.A., History, Pomona College, Claremont, 1979


"The Mayor and the Saint: Remaking Norwich’s Gild of St. George, 1548-49,” Huntington Library Quarterly, 79 (2016), pp. 1-20

“The Mayor’s Body,” in Linda E. Mitchell, Katherine L. French, Douglas L. Biggs, eds., The Ties That Bind: Essays in Medieval British History in Honor of Barbara A. Hanawalt (Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2011)

“An Urban Fraternity in the Age of Reform: Norwich’s Gild of St. George, 1516-1548,” in Monika Escher-Apsner, ed., Mittelalterliche Bruderschaften in Europaeischen Staedten (Medieval Confraternities in European Towns) (Frankfurt/Main: Peter Lang, 2009)

“After 1452—The Evolution of the Gild of St. George in the Wake of Yelverton’s Mediation,” Norfolk Archaeology, XLV, part I (2006), pp. 28-40

“Traditional Religion,” in Robert Tittler and Norman Jones, eds., A Companion to Tudor Britain (Blackwell Publishing, 2004), pp. 207-20.

“Working Women in the Medieval City,” co-authored with Trisha Dent, ‘96, in Linda Mitchell, ed., Women in Medieval Western European Culture, (New York: Garland, 1999), pp. 241-56

“Peacemaking and it Limits in Late Medieval Norwich,” English Historical Review, CIX(1994), pp. 831-66.

“Unity or Division? The Social Meaning of Guild Ceremony in Urban Communities,” in Barbara A. Hanawalt and Kathryn L. Reyerson, eds., City and Spectacle in Medieval Europe, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994), pp. 189-207

“Charity and Gild Solidarity in Late-Medieval England,” Journal of British Studies 32 (1993), pp. 195-225

“Religious Gilds and Civic Order:  The Case of Norwich in the Late Middle Ages,” Speculum  67 (1992), pp. 69-97

“The Gilds of Homo Prudens in Late Medieval England,” co-authored with Barbara Hanawalt, Continuity and Change 7 (1992), pp. 1-18

“Religious Gilds and Regulation of Behavior in Late Medieval Towns,” in Joel Rosenthal and Colin Richmond, eds., People, Politics and Community in the Later Middle Ages  (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987), pp. 108-22.

Course Information

The Middle Ages

Early Modern Europe

Tudor-Stuart England

The End of the Middle Ages: Plague, War, and Cultural Change in Late-Medieval Europe

Heretics, Saints, and Sinners: Religious Life at the End of the Middle Ages

Medieval Urban Life