Dr Hugh Willmott FSAHugh Willmott

Senior Lecturer in European Historical Archaeology
Programme Director MA Medieval Archaeology

Undergraduate Exams and Assessment Officer

Programme Director of the MA Medieval Archaeology

BA Hons., MA, PhD (Dunelm)

Email address

0114 2222940

Department of Archaeology, Northgate House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 4ET

Room 202

Brief personal biography

Hugh studied archaeology at the University of Durham, completing his PhD in 1999. After a brief period working in commercial archaeology, he was appointed a lecturer in European Historical Archaeology at Sheffield in 2004, and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2010.

Research interests

Hugh's research interests lie in the archaeology of the medieval and early modern period in Europe.

Currently, he is primarily focused upon exploring the archaeology of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, although other aspects of his work examine the development of historical societies through their production, consumption and deposition of material culture.

Current research projects

Converting from Christianity, the Archaeology of the Dissolution

In 2011 Hugh started a major survey and excavation project centred on the well-preserved monastic enclosure at Thornton Abbey, Lincolnshire, a site that was converted into a early modern estate by several successive families of wealthy landowners. This project is a key case study in a wider research project investigating the aftermath of the Dissolution on the Monasteries in Northern England.

Newark Civil War Siegeworks Project

Working with Dr Rachel Askew, Hugh is currently establishing a community outreach project to be jointly run by the University of Sheffield and Newark & Sherwood District council's recently established National Civil War Centre, focusing on the Civil War era siegeworks surrounding Newark-on-Trent. These represent the most complete example of their kind in the UK, and the project will utilise the latest geophysical and topographical survey techniques to revaluate upstanding earthworks and features previously thought to have been destroyed in order to produce an accurate reconstruction of a mid-17th century town at war.

Trade and Exchange in The Adriatic

Hugh recently published (with Dr Irena Lazar) the first comprehensive analysis of the glass cargo of Gnalić shipwreck, a Venetian galley that sank in the 1580s. He is currently extending this research into the material culture of the Adriatic, in collaboration with colleagues from Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg and Univerza na Primorskem, to help better understand the cultural encounters that took place between Christian and Ottoman groups in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Early Medieval Industry

Hugh has recently finished investigating (with Dr Kate Welham of Bournemouth University), the Saxon glassworking evidence from Raleigh Radford´s 1950s excavations at Glastonbury Abbey as part of an AHRC funded project. This research is now being extended to look at other early medieval monastic sites with evidence for glass manufacture.

Research supervision

Hugh is interested in supervising research students who have an interest in historical archaeology and/or material culture research.

Recently completed PhD students

  • Rachel Askew - The social role of material culture in Civil War period castles (2013)
  • Alex Cassels - Dress accessories in England AD 1200-1500, an archaeological study of consumption (2014)
  • Claire Finn - The material culture of drinking in the 17th-century Dutch Republic (2014)
  • Freya Massey - Ritual practices and special deposits in vernacular housing of the post-medieval period (2014)
  • Greig Parker - The material environment and the formulation of social identity amongst Huguenot communities in London (2011)
  • Verónica Velasquez Sánchez-Hidalgo - Maiolica and the construction of ideologies in New Spain (2015)

Current PhD students- First Supervisor

  • Courtenay-Elle Crichton-Turley - The application of structure-from-motion 3D modeling in material culture studies (Transforming Research Methods in the Humanities Award)
  • Francesca Dornan - An archaeological study of the medieval Charterhouses of the English Province (WRoCAH)
  • Samantha Garwood - Christian and Muslim interactions in the post-medieval Adriatic: an examination of cultural and economic exchange through the analysis of shipwreck assemblages (UoS Studentship)
  • Charlotte Howsam - Book fittings and fixtures: an archaeology of medieval literacy (AHRC)
  • Martin Huggon- The Medieval Hospitals of England and Wales: investigating the archaeology of a forgotten institution (AHRC)
  • Peter Townend - An Archaeological Study of the Monastic Order of the Gilbertines

Current PhD students- Second Supervisor

  • Kelly Green (Archaeology) - A study of the production and consumption of anthropomorphic pottery in selected sites from Eastern England, the Midlands, and the South West, c.1150 – 1450
  • Lenny Salvagno (Archaeology) - The neglected goat: a methodological approach to the understanding of the role of this species in English medieval husbandry
  • Tom Rusbridge (History) - Leather and Life: Objects and their Actors in Early Modern England



  • Archaeology of the Medieval Church (coordinator)
  • Archaeology of Death & Burial (coordinator)
  • World Civilisations
  • Towards Modernity
  • Catastrophe & Climate Change


  • From the Wars of the Roses to Elizabeth, the Archaeology of England 1455-1603 (coordinator)
  • Heritage Museum and Field, Medieval Archaeology in Practice (coordinator)
  • Funerary Archaeology
  • Ethnicity & Identity in Early Medieval Europe
  • Society & Culture in the Later Middle Ages (coordinator)

Selected publications


  • Glass from the Gnalić Wreck. Univerza na Primorskem. ISBN: 9616328425 (with I.Lazar).
  • A History of English Glassmaking AD 43-1800. ISBN: 0752431315
  • John Baker's 17th-century glass furnace at Vauxhall. Museum of London Monograph 28. ISBN 1-901992-44-6 (with K. Tyler).
  • Consuming Passions: Dining from Antiquity to the Eighteenth Century. ISBN: 0752434454. (With D. Hadley & M. Carroll).
  • Early Post-medieval Vessel Glass in England: C.1500-1670. Council for British Archaeology ISBN: 190277129X.

Recent Book Chapters and Papers

  • Saxon glass furnaces. (with K. Welham), in Gilchrist, R. (ed.). Glastonbury Abbey Excavations 1904-79, London: Society of Antiquaries of London Monograph, 218-38. (2015)
  • Table glass in the West Country home, c. 1500-1700, in Allan J, Alcock, N & Dawson, D. (eds) West Country Households, 1500-1700. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 321-38. (2015).
  • Excavations of an Early 17th-century glass-making site in Shinrone, Co. Offaly, Ireland. (with J. Farrelly & C. O'Brien) Post-Medieval Archaeology 48/1, 45-89. (2014)
  • A Bawdy Joke or Refined Dining? The Problems of Assigning Status and Meaning as Exemplified by Phallic Jugs, in Žegklitz, J. (ed) Studies in Post-Medieval Archaeology 5. Prague: Archaia. (2014).
  • 'Glazeniers en het vervaardigen, herstellen en hergebruiken van vensters', Jaarboek Abdijmuseum ten Duinen Novi Monasterii 13, 121-8. (2013).
  • 'Late Seventh-Century Glassmaking at Glastonbury Abbey' (with K. Welham), Journal of Glass Studies 55, 71-83. (2013).
  • 'Changing to Suit the Times, a Post-Dissolution History of Monk Bretton Priory, South Yorkshire'. (with A Bryson) Post-Medieval Archaeology 47/1, 136-63. (2013).
  • Glass recipes and the output from a 19th-century glass works: examples from Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd., Jersey Street, Manchester. (with C Jackson & I Miller), Industrial Archaeology Review 34/1, 51-64. (2012).
  • 'The hidden material culture of death: coffins and grave goods in late 18th- and early 19th-century Sheffield', (with D Mahoney-Swales & R O´Neill) in King, C & Sayer, D. (eds) The Archaeology of Post-Medieval Religion. Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology Monograph, 215-232. (2011).
  • 'Irish glassmaking in its wider context', in Hearne, JM (ed) Glassmaking in Ireland 100AD - 2005 AD. An archaeological, historical, social and economic survey, 1-14. Irish Academic Press (2010).

Full publications list

Recent presentations

  • Keynote Speaker- ‘A Century of Excavation: Challenging Some of the Myths of Monastic Archaeology in the 21st century’, Leeds Monasticism Conference (May 2014)
  • Invited Speaker- ‘Recent excavations at Monk Bretton Priory’, Yorkshire Archaeological Society (April 2014)
  • Invited Speaker- ‘The role of glaziers in the repair and recycling of medieval monastic windows in England’ 6th International Colloquium Abbey Museum Ten Duinen 1138, Koksijde (October 2013)

Other professional activities

  • External Examiner, School of Sciences, University of Staffordshire (2015- )
  • Membership Secretary, The Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, and formally assistant editor for the society’s journal, [top rated 'A' by the European Reference Index for the Humanities] (2009-)
  • Peer reviewer for the Qatar National Research Fund (2011-)
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (2005-)

Hugh Willmott’s Research Page