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Dr Caitlin Ellis

Lecturer (Early Medieval History)

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Lecturer (Early Medieval History) in the Department of History  


I am an early and central medieval historian. My research into maritime networks and cultural contacts focuses on the Vikings and Normans in Britain, Ireland and the North Atlantic. I use textual and material evidence to analyse identity, trading connections, religious change, and the expression of power.

I studied in the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge. My PhD thesis concentrated on eleventh-century Orkney and Dublin. Before coming to Durham, I held a Bernadotte scholarship from the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy, awarded by the king of Sweden and based in the Centre for Medieval Studies, Stockholm University. I previously taught at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and East Anglia.


Book review

  • Ellis, Caitlin (2020). Saint Patrick Retold: The Legend and History of Ireland’s Patron Saint, by Roy Flechner. The English Historical Review
  • (2019). Review of King Cnut and the Viking Conquest of England 1016 by W. B. Bartlett. Saga-Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research 43: 147–9.
  • Ellis, Caitlin (2017). Emer Purcell, Paul MacCotter, Julianne Nyhan & John Sheehan (eds), Clerics, kings and Vikings: essays on medieval Ireland in honour of Donnchadh Ó Corráin. Peritia 28: 300.

Journal Article

  • Ellis, Caitlin (2020). A Plausible Eleventh-Century Welsh–Orcadian Alliance. Notes and Queries 67(3): 336.
  • Ellis, Caitlin (2020). Remembering the Vikings: Violence, institutional memory and the instruments of history. History Compass
  • Ellis, Caitlin (2020). Degrees of Separation: Icelandic Perceptions of Other Scandinavian Settlements in the Faroes, Orkney, Ireland, and the Hebrides. Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 16: 1-26.
  • (2020). Impressions of a twelfth-century maritime ruler—Somerled: viking warrior, clan chieftain or traitor to the Scottish king? Northern Studies (51): 1–14.
  • (2019). Reassessing the career of Óláfr Tryggvason in the Insular world. Saga-Book of the Viking Society for Northern Research 43: 59–82.
  • (2018). Perceptions of the Slave Trade in Britain and Ireland: “Celtic” and “Viking” Stereotypes. Quaestio Insularis 19: 127–57.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • (2018). Alfred vs. the Viking Great Army. The Historian 139: 16–22.
  • (2017). The Other Invasion: The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. History Today

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • (2019). Vikings didn’t just murder monks and pillage monasteries – they helped spread Christianity too.