Digital History
17 May 2011
Professor Adrian Bell (Reading) and Dr Andy King (Southampton)
The Soldier in Later Medieval England Project – did it do what we wanted it to do?

Re-enactor in armour at the Tewkesbury Medieval FestivalThe research project: The Soldier in Later Medieval England was supported by the universities of Reading and Southampton between 2006 and 2009 and was run by Professor Adrian Bell, Dr Andy King.  It was never intended as a digital project which is somewhat ironic considering that this project has been selected as the opening discussion for a new IHR seminar group focused on analysing digital projects.  However, the impact of the online resource has been staggering.  Between 27 July 2009 and 15 October 2009 the website received 3.4 million hits with at least ¼ million unique visitors.  That’s somewhere around 3,000 visitors per day.  This was not just a brief ‘fad’ either.  For example in May 2011 the site received 15,000 visits.  In this session Adrian Bell and Andy King discuss the success of the project and particularly the online database.  They explain what their original brief was, what they planned to achieve (and what they feel they did, in the end, achieve), the methodology behind the project, and where they plan to take the research in the future.  The online database allows visitors to search the service records of soldiers in later medieval England using the Muster Rolls as its source.  The success of the online database comes not just from providing a useful resource but, as Adrian Bell explains, from various high profile promotions.  In July 2009 they appeared on the BBC website receiving a staggering 1.5 million hits on that day alone.  Since, the project has been advertised in a double page spread in the Daily Mail, in several magazine articles, and on various radio appearances.

To listen/watch this podcast please click here.