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KB27/351 AALT 4605

Hello! I am a PhD candidate in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working under the direction of Dr. Karl Shoemaker.

Originally from Houston, Texas, in 2006 I completed BA degrees in History and Classical Archaeology at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, VA. After a four-year hiatus, during which I worked at media and technology companies like Discovery Communications and Blizzard Entertainment, I began an MA program at the University of Houston under the direction of Dr. Robert Palmer and Dr. Sally Vaughn. I earned my MA with Distinction -- titled "Gilded, not Golden: Clerical Resistance and Royal Authority in the Age of Edward III -- in 2014.

My Dissertation, tentatively titled "Kingship and Collusion: Advowson Litigation in Late Medieval England," examines advowson disputes in the 14th and 15th centuries. Advowson -- the temporal right to present a candidate for installation into an ecclesiastical benefice -- was an important resource, and these disputes reveal the complex patronage networks underpinning the administrative infrastructure of England. Moreover, advowson exists at the intersection of disparate legal traditions and jurisdictions, and this convergence encouraged legal literacy, fluency, and flexibility. 

My work addresses three aspects of Edward III’s legal tactics regarding advowson: legal fictions, strategic prosecutions, and extra-legal agreements. Close readings of legal writs reveal trends in the king’s application of legal fictions and manipulation of statutory law. Edward III’s preferred tactic for the fraudulent acquisition of benefices was the idea that “no time ought to run against the lord king,” a cleverly constructed legal fiction that rewrote the rules governing certain situations, particularly wardship cases. 

My dissertation further posits that the king’s pursuit of these cases was strategic, focusing on disputes that brought economic or political gain. Finally, I argue that advowson disputes played a pivotal role in Edward III’s consolidation of resources, and that in these endeavors the king received aid by extra-legal means via his network of obligations. Edward III’s calculated application of litigation and legal fictions opened hundreds of patronage opportunities, and strategic provisions strengthened his domestic position.