So! (or rather Hwæt!)[1] My dissertation has just been passed, and it’s winging its electronic way to the printer and binder as I type (hat tip: I always use White’s, whenever I do a PhD!). One day, perhaps soon, it will be a book which all of you can read (if you can be bothered… if not, I’ll forgive you. Probably.). But the book won’t be quite the same, and it certainly won’t have quite the same acknowledgements in the front. In reflecting on the journey from thesis to book, it occurred to me that since this version will ultimately be read by few people, very few people will ever see the list of thank-yous that were important enough for me to put in the acknowledgements section. So I’m sharing them with you here, just so that my thanks are on record publicly, and because lots of people out there are awesome, friendly, helpful, wonderful colleagues, and that should be celebrated!

OK, so the language gets a little bit OTT at points, but the spirit is true… Here it is, for posterity:

This work was supported largely by a Monash Graduate Scholarship. I am grateful to the University for the fact that this award was open to me, despite my already holding a doctoral qualification. Parts of my research in the UK during 2010 were funded by an Australian Bicentennial Scholarship from King’s College London. I was also supported by funds from an Australian Research Council Project Grant on the history of women’s letters under Chief Investigators Barbara Caine and Carolyn James, and by grants from the Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Network for Early European Research, and the Leeds International Medieval Congress. In addition, the Australian Early Medieval Association provided funding towards the binding of the final product. I would like to register my thanks and appreciation to all the funding bodies for their generosity.

Writing history is a solitary activity but one that could never reach fruition without countless encounters and conversations. Some are institutionalized; others are random or unexpected, and therefore especially delightful. Irrespective of the academic convention of citation, it’s not possible to enumerate all the people and ideas contact with which, however fleeting, shapes our thoughts. These are only some of my more notable or memorable or startling ones. If you are among those omitted, be assured that I have not forgotten.

Several wonderful people have contributed to supervising this work. Most especially, I thank Carolyn James and Clare Monagle, but also Jason Taliadoros and Constant Mews. All of them gave patience, understanding, advice and support. Thanks also to those members of the History Program, past and present, who have read and engaged with my work through its official landmarks of candidature and contributed so much helpful feedback and encouragement: Peter Howard, Megan Cassidy-Welch, David Garrioch, and Barbara Caine. I also thank Al Thompson and Bain Attwood, under whose leadership the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies and the History Program in particular have been welcoming and supportive places in which to work.

The staff of The National Archives, Kew, are simply heroic. Without Sean Cunningham, James Ross, Adrian Jobson, and their colleagues in the manuscript reading room, how would I ever have achieved this project? I particularly thank James for tirelessly giving guidance, answering emails and checking my reading of manuscripts. No amount of flowers, chocolate, or fine wine would be adequate recompense for their efforts. Thanks must suffice.

For assistance in reading and translating the manuscript materials that have ended up in this thesis, and many others that didn’t, deep gratitude to Mark Cleary, Kathryn Smithies, Tomas Zahora, Elizabeth Murray, Natasha Amendola, Jan Pinder, Anne Holloway, and Richard Cassidy.

Thanks are also due to a number of people who have commented directly on sections of this thesis in the course of its development: David Carpenter, David Crouch, Michael Gelting, John Crossley, Anne Holloway, Benjamin Wild, and the anonymous reviewers of Parergon all contributed to whatever I have achieved herein.

I extend special thanks to Peggy Brown and Paul Szarmach for their support during and after my year as Chair of the Graduate Student Committee of the Medieval Academy of America. To Warren C. Brown, Joan Ferrante, Paul Hyams and Justine Firnhaber-Baker, thank you for your time, mentorship, and ongoing interest in my work. I hope I have justified your confidence.

I am indebted to my network of friends and colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic for stimulating ideas and scholarly support. To staff and graduate students, past and present, of King’s College London, I thank you especially for your friendship, advice, and fellowship; I treasure my honorary membership of your group. I am honoured to have had the confidence and encouragement of Professor David Carpenter, who supported my work from its inception and invited me to spend three months at King’s as a visiting scholar. Richard Cassidy earns a particular mention for having spent a day photographing parts of the SC 1 collection at The National Archives as a test case in preparation for that trip. Sophie Ambler kindly shared with me papers and references that were inaccessible in Australia, including her own unpublished work. Most especially, I thank Benjamin Wild, for his collegiate spirit and the intellectual stimulation which our interaction always brings to my work. It was thanks to Ben’s initiative that my association with King’s was nurtured, and grew. I am also grateful for my thought-provoking connections to the medieval group at Cornell University, especially to Paul Hyams and his former graduate student, Thomas McSweeney.

To all the Monash ‘Med-Ren’ gang: the fact that we enjoy and value spending time together on Fridays so much that we run seminars in the summer holidays by popular demand is probably enough said. For camaraderie and support, thanks should also go to all the Monash History postgraduates, but especially Jamie Agland, Annabelle Baldwin, Luke Bancroft, Lisa Di Crescenzo, Jessica Ebejer, Nick Ferns, Hannah Fulton, Emma Gleadhill, Stephanie Jury and Fiona Viney, as well as those already mentioned elsewhere.

To members of the Medieval and Early Modern Cohort, especially Elizabeth Murray, Ken Courtis, Jenny Smith, Anne Holloway, Natasha Amendola, Diana Jeske, Steve Joyce, and Mark Cleary: what a treasure your companionship has been on this journey! Thank you for your friendship, incisive critique, and careful proof-reading of my work over so many years. You are among my staunchest critics and strongest supporters.

To Barry Collett, my mentor and dear friend; you helped me discover my passion for the past and fostered my historical skills. I owe some of my most valued friends and collaborators to your introductions, and my most finely honed arguments to your probing questions. If my work is worthy, let it be considered a part of your legacy.

Last but not least, thanks to my family, John, Sue, Andy, Kim, Ro, Iain, Anton, Natasha, Tom, Bec, Eleanor and Kevin, for unwavering support through nearly two decades of education, and especially to Henry, who knew I could.

And thanks to you too, gentle reader, for your interest, and to all the blogging community that kept me in touch with medieval stuff during my years in the ‘neuroscientific wilderness’. You rock!

1. With apologies (and thanks) to Seamus Heaney.