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Prof Helen Nicholson 

Education & Qualifications

1979-1982 B.A. degree course in Ancient and Modern History at St Hilda’s College, University of Oxford. Class awarded: First.

1986 Converted B.A. degree to an M.A.

1986-1989 Researching Ph.D. Supervisor: Norman Housley, Dept. of History, University of Leicester. Thesis entitled: ‘Images of the Military Orders, 1128-1291: spiritual, secular, romantic’.

1990 Obtained PhD.

Career Overview

1982-1985 Employer: Coopers and Lybrand, Chartered Accountants, Abacus House, 32 Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA. Final position: Audit Senior.

1986 Admitted to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

1986-1989 Open Research Scholarship in the Dept of History, University of Leicester.

1990-1992 Maternity break.

1992-1994 Part-time teaching assistant in the Dept of History, University of Leicester.

1994- present member of staff in School of History and Archaeology, Cardiff University (1994-96: fixed-term lecturer; 1996 lecturer; 2000: Senior Lecturer; 2004 Reader; 2013 Professor).

Teaching Profile


With my colleagues in medieval history, I contribute to:

Year two: I teach an option course, currently:

and supervise students for:

Year three: I teach an option course:

and supervise students on:


Together with my colleagues, Professors Peter Edbury and Denys Pringle, I teach an MA course on the History of the Crusades (for syllabus details see my webpage, I also offer postgraduate modules on Heresy and on Gender in the Middle Ages.

I contribute to the MA in Medieval British Studies, offering the module:

I played a key role in the modularisation of the M.A. scheme in History and the M.A. scheme in Welsh History.

MA Crusades webpage:

I contribute to the MA in Ancient and Medieval Warfare:


Awards & Prizes

2003-2004 British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship for 2003-2004

Other awards:

1999 Isaiah Berlin travel award of £200 from the Academic Study Group on Israel and the Middle East, for travel to Israel in July 1999

2003 British Academy Overseas Conference Grant of £212 towards attending the Ordines Militares – Colloquia Torunensia Historica conference XII in Toruń, Poland, in September 2003

Membership & External Activity

I am regularly asked by publishers and the broadcast media to comment on the crusades and the military orders for the general public and for students. I regularly speak at international academic conferences.

2002 elected as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society;

1999-2002 Treasurer of the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East; 1999-2004: associate editor of the Society’s journal Crusades;

Member of the Ecclesiastical History Society, the International Arthurian Society and Societas Magica.

Notable Achievements

1982 Helen Smith Prize for a first class degree in History;

1986-1989 awarded an Open Research Scholarship in the Dept of History, University of Leicester;

1997 publication of Chronicle of the Third Crusade, my translation of the Itinerarium peregrinorum et gesta regis Ricardi. This is now the standard, often-quoted translation of this text, an important source for late twelfth-century warfare;

1999 set up a new website for the Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East (an international academic society) with a ‘frequently asked questions’ page. Site described as ‘most informative’ by a scholarly online list of websites on the crusades and much praised by users;

2001 publication of three books: a monograph, Love, War and the Grail, and two general surveys, Knights Hospitaller and Knights Templar;

2001 my article of 2000 proposing a new source and dating for the De ortu Walwanii is hailed as ‘ground breaking’ (Bulletin of the International Arthurian Society).

I was lead organiser of the fifth international conference on the Military Orders, held at Cardiff University, 3-6 September 2009.