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Duncan Berryman

<p>Duncan Berryman</p>

Duncan Berryman


BA [Hons] Ancient History & Archaeology (QUB)
MSc Landscape, Heritage & Environment (QUB)




School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 5287

Current Research:

Past Cultural Change

A documentary and archaeological investigation of the buildings of manorial curiae

Much work has been carried out on the agriculture of medieval England, such as crop yields and practices. The society of medieval England is well understood, Roberts and Wrathmell have researched the development of settlement across England and Beresford initiated the analysis of medieval towns in England and Wales. Salzman has compiled a comprehensive collection of documentary references and illustrations of building techniques and materials from the Middle Ages. At the centre of the English manor was a curia, the lord’s residence and the farm with barns and outbuildings. However, very little is understood about the curia; the type of buildings and their size remains unknown and the position of the buildings on sites is a mystery.

This project aims to shed new light on manorial curiae and answer questions that have remained unasked for years. By understanding the buildings of the curia, their construction materials and their maintenance, we can gain a fuller understanding of curiae and how they functioned. This study will also consider the social aspect of these buildings and its effect on the choice of construction materials. This research will use documents, such as manorial accounts and Inquisitions Post Mortem, from the fourteenth century to illustrate the buildings of the curia and the annual expenditure on maintenance.

Principal Supervisor: Dr Mark Gardiner
Secondary Supervisor: Dr Colm Donnelly

Previous research

My BA dissertation in archaeology focused on the defensibility of the Irish Tower House and involved an experiment to test the strength of an oak door. I returned to QUB to complete an MSc in Landscape, Heritage and Environment. This allowed me to gain GIS skills and my thesis developed a new method for assessing the value of historic landscapes.


In preparation, ‘Welcome to the occupation: patterns in the management of the fourteenth-century English landscape’

In preparation, with Mark Gardiner ‘Manor Houses in England Before 1550: A Long-Term Perspective’

In preparation, ‘The fourteenth-century buildings of the curia of Alciston manor’ Historic Farm Buildings Group Review

2010, ‘A study of the defensibility of Irish Tower Houses’ Castle Studies Group Journal

2009, ‘Home Security: How strong was a Tower House Door?’ Archaeology Ireland 23 [Summer 2009], 8-10

2008, ‘Defending the lord's power - Testing the strength of an Irish Tower House door’, Proceedings of Power in the Middle Ages conference, NUI Galway

2008, ‘Field surveys undertaken by the Ulster Archaeological Society in 2007’ Ulster Journal of Archaeology

Papers Presented

25th May 2013: Manors in the landscape: Buildings and the management of fourteenth-century manors, Space and Settlement in the Middle Ages: Trinity College Dublin

18th May 2013: Lordship and Manors: Did Monastic Possession Influence Manorial Management?, Monasticism & Lordship, Second Postgraduate Monasticism Conference: University of Leeds

10th May 2013: A look at medieval life through manorial buildings, School Research Day: Queen’s University Belfast

19th April 2013: Welcome to the occupation: patterns in the management of the fourteenth-century English landscape, Borderlines XVII: Trinity College Dublin

21st November 2012: Archaeology from Documents: Using large collections of accounts to investigate medieval buildings, NiDeMAH working group on large text collections: Hugens ING, Den Haag

7th July 2012: What can documentary evidence and archaeology tell us about fourteenth-century buildings? Rethinking the Middle Ages Conference: University of Nottingham

20th April 2012: Did size matter? An archaeological look at the use of fourteenth-century agricultural buildings for social prestige, Borderlines XVI: QUB

9th March 2012: How many buildings make a farmstead? A study of fourteenth-century manorial agricultural buildings, Medieval Cultures Forum: QUB

4th April 2009: Irish Tower Houses: a study of their defensibility, Association of Young Irish Archaeologists Annual Conference: Institute of Technology Sligo

8th October 2008: Defending the lord's power - Testing the strength of an Irish Tower House door, Power in the Middle Ages: NUI Galway


9th November 2012: Archaeology from documents: the buildings of fourteenth-century Alciston, Society of Medieval Archaeology Student Colloquium, Cardiff

Awards & Grants

June 2013: £311 Student Bursary for Vernacular Architecture Group Spring Conference in South Wales

May 2013: travel grant from TCD to present at Space & Settlement in the Middle Ages, Trinity College Dublin

May 2013: £100 travel grant from Economic History Society to attend Monasticism & Lordship conference, University of Leeds

October 2012: €700 travel grant to attend NeDiMAH working group on large text collections, Den Haag

May 2011: £800 from QUB Postgraduate Office to run a palaeography training course for PGR students in School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, plus an additional £80 from the School of GAP

March 2011: 1 year free membership of Vernacular Architecture Group

Honorary positions:

Newsletter Editor for the Ulster Archaeological Society since 2011
Responsible for the organisation of the School of GAP Postgraduate Seminar series


The Medieval Academy of America since 2013
Medieval Settlement Research Group since 2011
British Agricultural History Society since 2010
Vernacular Architecture Group since 2010
Institute for Archaeologists since 2009
Society for Medieval Archaeology since 2008
Castle Studies Group since 2008
Ulster Archaeological Society since 2006
Council for British Archaeology since 2002