Dr Rachel Meredith Davis

BA, MSc, PhD

I received my BA in History with an Ancient/Medieval concentration and an interdisciplinary Minor in Medieval and Early Modern Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. I completed my MSc in Medieval History at the University of Edinburgh in 2014. I remained at Edinburgh for my PhD, which I completed in 2020. My PhD thesis, titled: ‘Elite Women and Power in Late Medieval Scotland, 1296-1458’ explored the ways in which women’s identities were constructed in their seals and charters and how women used these identities to access power and resources in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

My current research interests broadly include agency, gender, and material culture in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Scotland. I am pursuing several diverse intellectual threads on this including non-heraldic Scottish personal seals and sigillographic methodologies.

I am currently a teaching assistant at the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands and associate staff at the School of History, Social Sciences and Law at the University of Dundee.

I was more than my PhD and I am more than my academic research! When not thinking about the Middle Ages, I can usually be found hillwalking, practising yoga, running, or reading.

I have depression and severe anxiety disorder. I believe that openness about mental health is merely the first step toward changing attitudes about mental illness. I’m a fierce advocate of improved mental health support within academia.

Site illustrations by the fabulous Holly Foskett-Barnes.


2021 Winner, Murray Prize for History, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

Article: ‘Material evidence? Re-approaching elite women’s seals and charters in late medieval Scotland’ PSAS (150), pp. 301-26.

2020 Runner Up, Leah Leneman Essay Prize, Women’s History Scotland

Essay: Lock Her Up! Elite Women, Treason, and Imprisonment in Late Medieval Scotland’