The Medieval Iron Industry in the Weald, Archaeology -PhD Studentship. Ref: 3042

About the award

This PhD studentship in archaeology, offered by the Dept. of Archaeology in collaboration with the Wealden Iron Research Group and the Early Metals Research Trust, will research the medieval iron industry in the Weald, combining documentary, field and laboratory studies. 

The Wealden Iron Research Group (WIRG), the Early Metals Research Trust (EMRT) and the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter have worked in partnership since 2015 to support a PhD studentship on ‘The organisation of Roman iron production in the Weald’. This has been a very successful collaboration. WIRG, EMRT and the University are seeking to develop the partnership further by establishing an additional three-year PhD studentship on ‘The Medieval Iron Industry in the Weald’ combining documentary, field and laboratory studies.

The proposed PhD studentship will be supervised in the Department of Archaeology by Dr Gillian Juleff, a highly-experienced and well known archaeometallurgist specialising in early ferrous technology with over thirty years’ experience working in archaeology in Britain and Asia. The studentship will be co-supervised by Dr Levi Roach, a senior lecturer within the History Department and an expert in early medieval Britain.


The objectives of the PhD studentship on ‘The Medieval Iron Industry in the Weald’ include:

• To identify and gain a greater understanding of the field evidence for iron production and working in the Weald in the medieval period in order to learn how iron-making was organised both technologically and socially.
• To compare, and if possible link, the field and technological evidence from the sites investigated with the limited contemporary documentary sources available.

Research Questions:

• What are the distinctive characteristics of medieval iron-making in the Weald, in terms of processes and residues?
• How does the historical evidence of ownership and management of medieval iron-making in the Weald relate to the physical evidence of sites?
• Were water-powered bloomeries a significant element in medieval Wealden iron production?
• Crawley was a medieval settlement with an economy based on iron production; what evidence is there that other settlements in the Weald were similar?

Suggested Areas of Focus:

Investigate in the field the few known and documented medieval ironworks using geophysical, excavation and other archaeological techniques. Sites could include:

• Roffey, between Crawley and Horsham;
• Rats' Castle Forge, potentially the site of the Tudeley ironworks of the mid-14th century;
• Sharpthorne Brickworks where evidence of iron making in the area needs investigation to tie it to ore extraction evidence;
• The Parrock area of Upper Hartfield;
• Crawley where evidence for medieval ironworking has largely been provided by development-led archaeology.

Investigate Documentary Sources:

• The 1263 dispute over the ‘iron mine’ near East Grinstead;
• The ironworks belonging to John de Lynleghe in 1320;
• Accounts of Boxley Abbey and Chingley Manor in relation to iron in the 14th century.
• The Anglo-Saxon Lyminge charters

Research Proposals:

Applicants will be expected to put forward an outline proposal based on, but not necessarily limited to, one or more of the areas of research suggested above. The project will be of interest to students of history or archaeology. Fieldwork experience will be valuable. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss potential proposals with the supervisors before submission. The final work plan will be mutually agreed between the successful applicant, WIRG/EMRT and the academic supervisors.

For UK/EU candidates this studentship covers full tuition fees and annual maintenance allowance at Research Council rate of £14,777 per year.  International students can apply, but will only receive the equivalent of UK/EU tuition fees (currently £4,400) and will be required to pay the outstanding balance of the international tuition fees. 

For more information about the project and informal enquiries, please contact the primary supervisor, Dr Gillian Juleff



Application deadline:30th April 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:The studentship covers full UK/EU tuition fees and annual maintenance allowance at Research Council rate of £14,777 per year. International students can apply, but will be required to pay the outstanding balance of the international tuition fees.
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Matt Barnes - Post Graduate Research Administrator. Tel 01392

How to apply

You should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant field of humanities, and have obtained, or are currently working towards a Master’s degree at Merit level or international equivalent, in a relevant field of humanities.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the English language entry requirements and provide proof of proficiency. Click here for more information and a list of acceptable alternative tests.

Currently enrolled PhD students of the University of Exeter are not eligible to apply.

You will be asked to submit some personal details and upload a full CV, covering letter and, if relevant, proof of your English language proficiency. Your covering letter should outline your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project. Please also include your outline project proposal (max. 3000 words) as indicated under ‘Research Proposals’ as above.

Please ensure that two referees email their references to the Postgraduate Administrator at by 30 April 2018. Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the deadline. References should be submitted by your referees to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

Please note that if you have already submitted references to support your application to one of our MPhil/PhD programmes you may re-use these to support your funding application.  However, this is not automatic and you must email us at to confirm that we have two references on file to support your application, and to request that they be used to support your funding application.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

You are also asked to upload verified transcripts of your most academic qualification.

Interviews will be held at Streatham Campus in May 2018.

Please quote reference 3042 on your application and in any correspondence about this studentship.

For more information contact:

Matt Barnes - Post Graduate Research Administrator
College of Humanities Graduate School, University of Exeter
Room 101, The Old Liabary, The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon, EX4 4SB.

Visit  for more information.