An aerial view of Singleton Campus and the bay opposite
Simon John

Dr Simon John

Associate Professor, History

Welsh language proficiency

Basic Welsh Speaker
Office - 104
First Floor
James Callaghan
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


My main research interests concern the history of Latin Christendom in the Central Middle Ages. Much of my work is concerned with the period 1050 to 1250, and focusses on themes including the crusades and their memorialisation, the theory and practice of historical writing, the transmission and reception of texts, medieval attitudes towards historical truth and the past, and political thought on kingship. I also have expertise in medievalism, that is, perceptions of the Middle Ages in the modern era. I am particularly interested in statues of medieval figures created since 1800, and the insights that they provide on modern ideas about the Middle Ages.

In addition to my academic work, I enjoy sharing my passion for the study of the past more widely. I have been interviewed by NBC News, BBC Radio Wales and LBC Radio, and written shorter pieces for publications including History Today and the BBC History Magazine’s HistoryExtra website. I appeared on BBC History Magazine’s HistoryExtra podcast in June 2020 to discuss the statue of Richard I (‘the Lionheart’) in Westminster. In Autumn 2023, I co-taught an Historical Association course on the First Crusade.


Areas Of Expertise

  • The crusades and crusading memory
  • Medieval kingship
  • Medieval historical writing
  • Medievalism
  • The political uses of public monuments

Career Highlights


Much of my research focusses on the First Crusade and its cultural legacy in the Latin Christian world. My first book, Godfrey of Bouillon: Duke of Lower Lotharingia, Ruler of Latin Jerusalem, c.1060-1100, was published by Routledge in 2018; it has since been published in paperback (2019) and in a Polish translation (2018). I have also published major articles in journals including the English Historical Review, the Journal of Ecclesiastical History and the Journal of Medieval History.

In 2023 I completed a research project, funded by the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, entitled 'Contested Pasts: public monuments and historical culture in Western Europe, 1815-1930’. That project focussed in particular on the creation of monuments depicting medieval figures in nineteenth-century Europe. Its principal outcome is my second monograph, Medievalism in Nineteenth-Century Belgium: The 1848 Monument to Godfrey of Bouillon, published by Boydell and Brewer in 2023. That book investigates Godfrey of Bouillon’s emergence as a national hero in nineteenth-century Belgium, connecting to wider themes including the national uses of the medieval past and the use of public monuments to convey ideas about the Middle Ages. For further information, see Boydell’s website.