Dr Ingrid Ivarsen

Photo of Dr Ingrid Ivarsen

BA (Oslo) PhD (St Andrews)

Research Fellow


I studied English language for my undergraduate degree at the University of Oslo. An Erasmus exchange took me to the University of St Andrews and its medieval history programme. I returned to St Andrews for a master’s degree in medieval studies, and, after a few years of working as a translator, I returned again for a PhD in medieval legal history.


I work on medieval law. My research so far has focused on the laws issued in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms between c. 600 and 1020, and in particular the relationship between the text of the laws and the process that produced them. We do not know where or when or by whom these laws were made. For my PhD, I sought to clarify some of these circumstances of production by looking at the texts’ linguistic conventions, prefaces, use of sources, manuscript transmission and more.

Another part of my work involves the historiography of the field of medieval law. The Anglo-Saxon laws have been studied by everyone from Reformation polemicists to German folklorists to Victorian constitutional historians. The scholars of these periods still influence our view of the Anglo-Saxon laws, and their view of the laws has had lasting influence on contemporary ideas of English law, history and society.

My current research is on the laws issued after the Norman conquest in 1066. These texts are different from their pre-conquest predecessors. In fact, they are not really pieces of legislation, but something more like literary or historical works. Yet many of them rely heavily on the pre-conquest laws and they are the only comprehensive collections of legal material issued in the period. They offer an interesting puzzle, and I will try to get closer to how, why, where, when and by whom these law-books were made. I am also interested in the kinds of legal texts available in England and the manuscript transmission of English law, canon law and civil law in this period.