Vanessa Greatorex-Roskilly

Postgraduate research student

In response to allegations that medieval Chester was a militarised, wild-west frontier town, the principal aim of my postgraduate research is to investigate the state of law and order in Chester from The Domesday Book to the Great Charter (1506).


Not satisfied with an Honours degree in English (University of Nottingham, 1992) and a Master of Arts degree in Medieval Studies (Liverpool University, 1992), I went on to do a second Masters degree – in Landscape, Heritage and Society - at Chester, graduating with Distinction in 2006. Duly equipped with the requisite linguistic, palaeography and research methodology skills, I have worked my way through the Cheshire-based records of Chester’s medieval city courts and will be polishing off my research with forays into primary sources held by Lichfield Record Office and The National Archives.


Previously involved in excavating Chester Amphitheatre and contributing to the Mapping Medieval Chester project, I am currently editing a field-names anthology for the Chester Society for Landscape History.

I’m also a member of the:

  • Royal Archaeological Institute
  • English Place-Name Society
  • Council for British Archaeology North West
  • Chester Society for Landscape History
  • Chester Gender Research Network

Published work

As well as being a historian, I’m a compulsive writer with a professional publishing career spanning twenty-seven years and a mission to engage with the public at large rather than elite cliques of academics. Under my professional (and birth) name of Vanessa Greatorex, I’ve written about everything from Finnish saunas to biplanes, Floridian waterparks, Lindow Man and the importance of decent toilets. I even picked up an award for a travel article along the way. In terms of history/landscape history, my most relevant publications are:

Peas and Pigmen: the human face of Chester’s medieval court records (Cheshire History, due for publication in Autumn 2013)

Wilmslow Through Time (Amberley Books, 2013)

Market Forces: Ross-on-Wye’s historic market house (Herefordshire Life, November 2006)

The Reluctant Cabin Boy (in Word Weaving, Chester Academic Press, 2006)

Layers (in Prize Flights, Chester Academic Press, 2004)

Robin Hood: birth of a legend (Medieval History Magazine, December 2003)

66-part series on Cheshire place-names (Cheshire Life, 2003-2008)