Prof Bruce M. S. Campbell
BA Hons (Geography, 1st Class) Liverpool 1970. PhD Cambridge 1975. Member of the Royal Irish Academy, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Academician of Social Sciences, Fellow of the British Academy.
Professor of Medieval Economic History
School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen's University Belfast
Belfast BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK
My curriculum vitae
Database of medieval crop yields, “Three centuries of English crop yields, 1211 1491”.
Podcast of my 2008 Tawney Lecture, “Nature as historical protagonist”, delivered to the Economic History Society on 30 March 2008
+44 (0)28 9097 3345
Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.
In-house Teaching Publications
B. M. S. Campbell, Hazards, humans, and history: human-environment interaction during the last millennium. Tutorial handbook, The Queen’s University of Belfast: Belfast, 2004.
B. M. S. Campbell and A. M. McVeigh, Monks, warlords, and peasants: an economic and social history of Ireland 1014-1492. Tutorial Handbook I: Ireland in an age of European expansion 1014 1314, The Queen’s University of Belfast: Belfast, 2000. (pdf file)
B. M. S. Campbell and A. M. McVeigh, Monks, warlords, and peasants: an economic and social history of Ireland 1014-1492. Tutorial Handbook 2: Ireland in an age of European crisis and contraction 1315-1492, The Queen’s University of Belfast: Belfast, 1999.(pdf file)
B. M. S. Campbell and A. M. McVeigh, William Wallace to Wat Tyler: an economic and social history of England and Ireland 1315-1381. Tutorial handbook, Belfast, The Queen’s University of Belfast: Belfast, 1998.(pdf file)
B. M. S. Campbell and A. M. McVeigh, Robin Hood to William Wallace: an economic and social history of England and Ireland 1169-1315. Tutorial handbook, Belfast, The Queen’s University of Belfast: Belfast, 1997.(pdf file)
B. M. S. Campbell and A. M. McVeigh, Plantation to Partition: an economic and social history of Ireland. Tutorial handbook, The Queen’s University of Belfast: Belfast, 1996. (pdf file)
I was born and educated in Hertfordshire, a metropolitan county with a strong tradition of individualism and an excellent state school system. From 1967 to 1970 I studied Geography at Liverpool University, where I was powerfully influenced by the distinctive blend of data-driven historical geography and economic history taught by Professor Richard Lawton. My doctoral research — into the agrarian institutions and economy of late medieval Norfolk — was then undertaken at Cambridge, at that time, under the headship of the notable Domesday scholar Professor H. C. Darby, the leading British Geography department for research into the historical geography of the pre-industrial period. There I benefited from the wise supervision of Dr Alan Baker. Tony Wrigley, Jack Langton, and Harold Fox were on the staff, Mark Overton and Richard Smith were fellow postgraduates, and the newly founded Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure was attracting a raft of talented young researchers. It was a stimulating if daunting time to be there and the contacts then made, as also at Darwin College, have stood me in good stead ever since.
In 1973 university appointments for people with my research interests were scarce and becoming scarcer and I was therefore glad to accept the position of Lecturer in Geography at The Queen's University of Belfast, notwithstanding that the Northern Irish 'Troubles' were then at their height. That move to Northern Ireland and Queen's has paid dividends - personally, professionally, and intellectually - and I have spent the whole of my academic career here in, successively, the departments of Geography, Economic History, History, and, now, the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology. Always I have been as much interested in teaching as in research and there are few more challenging and rewarding environments within the UK in which to teach undergraduates than Belfast. Teaching Irish economic history to my students has also taught me much and greatly enriched my agenda as an economic historian. Further, it has exposed me to some first-rate scholars and scholarship and I am proud to have been elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1997.
Medieval economic history has always been my chosen research field. It offers big issues, a wealth of data, and the stimulus of a small but energetic band of fellow researchers. Since my initial work as a postgraduate in Cambridge, my aim has been to harness the wealth of detailed statistical information contained in England's extensive medieval archives to shed systematic light on the country's economic development when it was still comparatively poor, under-developed and prone to subsistence crises and famine. Much of my work has focused on the fourteenth century, when the population was halved within the narrow space of a generation and the trajectory of socio-economic development thereby transformed. I am currently working on a book which examines human — environment interactions in Britain and Ireland across this watershed century. This project deploys the results from my successful ESRC-funded project “Crops yields, environmental conditions, and historical change, 1270-1430” (RES-000-23-0645) and draws upon ideas I have been developing with the help of my students in my Level 3 module, ‘Hazards, humans and history’.
Meanwhile, I am enjoying collaborating with a team of fellow economic historians (led by Professor Steve Broadberry of Warwick and including Professors Mark Overton of Exeter and Jan Luiten van Zanden of Utrecht), reconstructing the national incomes of Holland and Britain from the nineteenth back to the thirteenth centuries on an annual basis. This project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust (Ref. F/00215AR), aims to shed fresh light on the extended process whereby the countries of northwestern Europe slowly achieved the breakthrough to modern economic growth. Comparison of English economic development with that of other European countries comprises a key strand of the work. As such, it forms one component within the European Union FP7 Project: “Historical patterns of development and underdevelopment: origins and persistence of the Great Divergence (HI-POD)”, led by Professor Broadberry and Professor Kevin O’Rourke of Trinity College Dublin. My plenary lecture to the Rural History 2010 conference, “Agriculture and national incomes in Europe, 1300-1850”, is informed by this work.An academic's work is never done. When not working, I enjoy looking at architecture of all periods (but especially the thirteenth century), attending live performances of classical music, and walking and swimming my Newfoundland dog.
Rural History 2010 plenary lecture (pdf file)
Selected Recent Publications
2010 Bruce M. S. Campbell, ‘Physical shocks, biological hazards, and human impacts: the crisis of the fourteenth century revisited’, pp. 13-32 in Simonetta Cavaciocchi, ed., Le interazioni fra economia e ambiente biologico nell’Europe preindustriale. Secc. XIII-XVIII (Economic and biological interactions in pre-industrial Europe from the 13th to the 18th centuries), Istituto Internazionale di Storia Economica “F. Datini”, Prato, Italy. (pdf file)
2010 Bruce M. S. Campbell, ‘Nature as historical protagonist: environment and society in pre-industrial England’ (the 2008 Tawney Memorial Lecture), Economic History Review, 63 (2), 281-314. (pdf file)
2010 Stephen N. Broadberry, Bruce M. S. Campbell, Alexander Klein, Mark Overton, and Bas van Leeuwen, ‘British economic growth, 1270-1870’ (pdf file) (working paper, this version 19 August 2010).
2010 Stephen N. Broadberry, Bruce M. S. Campbell, and Bas van Leeuwen, ‘English medieval population: reconciling time series and cross sectional evidence’ (pdf file) (working paper, this version 27 July 2010).
2010 Stephen N. Broadberry, Bruce M. S. Campbell, Alexander Klein, Mark Overton, and Bas van Leeuwen, ‘British economic growth, 1270-1700’ (pdf file) (working paper, this version 9 July 2010).
2009 ‘Four famines and a pestilence: harvest, price, and wage variations in England, 13th to 19th centuries’, pp. 23-56 in Agrarhistoria på många sätt; 28 studier om manniskan och jorden. Festskrift till Janken Myrdal på hans 60-årsdag (Agrarian history many ways: 28 studies on humans and the land, Festschrift to Janke Myrdal 2009), eds., Britt Liljewall, Iréne A. Flygare, Ulrich Lange, Lars Ljunggren, and Johan Söderberg, KSLAB, Stockholm, Sweden, 2009. (pdf file)
2009 Bruce M. S. Campbell, ‘Factor markets in England before the Black Death’, Continuity and Change, 24 (1), 79-106. (pdf file)
2009 Bruce M. S. Campbell, Land and people in late medieval England, Variorum Collected Studies Series, Ashgate, Aldershot. (pdf file)
2008 Bruce M. S. Campbell, Field systems and farming systems in late medieval England, Variorum Collected Studies Series, Ashgate, Aldershot. (pdf file)
2008 Bruce M. S. Campbell, ‘Benchmarking medieval economic development: England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland circa 1290’ Economic History Review 61 (4), 896-945.(pdf file) and 'Corrigendum: Benchmarking medieval economic development: England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, c.1290', Economic History Review 61 (4), 946-8. (pdf file)
2006 Bruce M. S. Campbell and Ken Bartley, England on the eve of the Black Death: an atlas of lay lordship, land, and wealth, 1300-49, Manchester, Manchester University Press. (pdf file)
2005 Bruce M. S. Campbell, ‘The agrarian problem in the early fourteenth century’, Past and Present, 188, 3-70. (pdf file)
2003 Bruce M. S. Campbell, ‘Economic progress in the canal age: a case study from counties Armagh and Down’, in David Dickson and Cormac Ó Gráda, eds., Refiguring Ireland: essays in honour of Louis M. Cullen, Dublin, Lilliput Press. (pdf file)
2000 Bruce M. S. Campbell, English seigniorial agriculture 1250-1450, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Nominated proxime accesit for the Whitfield Prize 2000 by the Royal Historical Society. (Reprinted in paperback 2006).(pdf file1) (pdf file2)(pdf file3)(pdf file4)