Professor David D'Avray

David D'Avray has been a lecturer, reader, and is now professor of History at UCL. Before coming to the university, he took a BA at Cambridge, completed a DPhil at Oxford, and spent time as a postdoctoral researcher in Munich. He is a medievalist who has studied medieval preaching and mass communications, attitudes to death and kingship in memorial sermons, marriage and symbolism, medieval religious rationalities and the general sociology of rationality, and a triangle of themes: papacy, monarchy, and marriage. He is currently working on the first papal laws, their social origins and their medieval reception.

PhD supervision

David is not presently taking on new PhD students.

Currently supervising: Benedict Wiedemann, 'Papal Overlordship and Protectio of the King, c.1000-c.1300'; Ryan Low (M.Phil), 'Bernard Gui'.

Recently completed: Alejandra Concha Sahli, 'The meaning of the habit: religious orders, dress and identity, 1215-1650' (2017); Alison Ray, 'The pecia system and its use in the cultural milieu of Paris c.1250 to 1330' (2016); Emily Corran, 'Lying and Perjury in Medieval Practical Thought' (2015); Ruben Angelici, 'Digita Dei: Sacramentality and theory of signification in the theology of Hugh of St Victor' (Cambridge PhD, 2015).

Major publications

  • Medieval Marriage, Symbolism and Society (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • Medieval Religious Rationalities (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Rationalities in History (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
  • Papacy, Monarchy and Marriage (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

For a full list of publications, see David's IRIS profile.


David was the director of the AHRB-funded English Monastic Archives project (2000-2006), which worked to reconstruct the archives of English monasteries and research the origins of record-keeping in England. Although the project has now been completed, the database is still accessible online.