Hello and welcome to my website. My name is Dr Dan Spencer and I’m a military historian who is a leading expert in the study of early gunpowder weapons, artillery fortifications and castles. On this website you will find my blog posts, tours of historical sites and details of my publications. If you wish to get in touch with me then please use the contact form.
My historical journey
Ever since I was a small child I have loved history – reading books and visiting historical sites. This passion has stayed with me throughout my life. My academic interest in castles first began whilst I was studying for my Master’s degree. I decided to do my dissertation on Sir Edward Dallingridge, a remarkable fourteenth century knight who built Bodiam Castle in East Sussex. Bodiam is often described as one of the most beautiful castles in England and is well worth a visit! Afterwards I turned my dissertation into an article which you can read here.
My interest in the Hundred Years’ War led me to focus my next major project on researching the early history of English gunpowder weapons. This was one of the most important technological developments of the Middle Ages. Surprisingly, comparatively little research had been carried out on gunpowder weapons in England. My thesis explored the history of this technology from its introduction to England in c.1327 to the end of the fifteenth century. I was eventually awarded my doctorate in July 2016.
From 2014 to 2016 I also worked on the Agincourt600 Project as a researcher and website administrator for the official Agincourt600 website. I also co-created a free online course on the Battle of Agincourt with my PhD supervisor, Professor Anne Curry.
After finishing my PhD, I taught some modules on castles, which prompted me to return to this area. My first book, The Castle at War in Medieval England and Wales, was published by Amberley Publishing in March 2018.
My second book, Royal and Urban Gunpowder Weapons in Late Medieval England, was published by Boydell & Brewer in 2019. It is the first major study of gunpowder weapons in medieval England and the product of years of extensive archival research.
My third book, The Castle in the Wars of the Roses, was published by Pen & Sword in 2020, it is the first specialist study of the role of the castle in the Wars of the Roses.
In my spare time I like to explore castles with the help of my two Labradors, Daisy and Archie.
Daisy and Archie at Old Sherborne Castle, Dorset, in May 2017