Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Ohio State University
Website URL
medieval England, legal history, women's history, history of marriage and divorce
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Sara M. Butler earned her honors B.A. in history from York University (1995), her M.A. from the University of Toronto (1996), and her Ph.D. from Dalhousie University (2001), where she worked with C.J. Neville. She spent twelve years at Loyola University New Orleans, attaining the rank of Gregory F. Curtin, S.J., Distinguished Professor and where she founded the Legal Studies interdisciplinary minor program and co-founded the History Pre-law major, before joining The Ohio State in autumn of 2016 as the King George III Professor in British History.

Sara’s research publications lie in the social history of the law.  She has  written on subjects such as forensic medicine, spousal abuse, suicide, abortion by assault, coverture, medical malpractice, singlewomen, and more recently on juries of matrons. In 2007, Sara was awarded the Sutherland prize by the American Society for Legal History for her article, “Degrees of culpability: Suicide verdicts, mercy, and the jury in medieval England,” (Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 36.2, 2006). Her most recent endeavor is an online blog entitled “A Legal History Miscellany,” co-written with Katherine Watson (Oxford Brooke’s University) and Krista J. Kesselring (Dalhousie University), with the goal of making England’s early legal history accessible to a broader audience (

Recent Publications

Authored Books

Sara M. Butler, Forensic Medicine and Death Investigation in Medieval England. Routledge Research in Medieval Studies Series. New York: Routledge.

Sara M. Butler, Divorce in Medieval England: From One to Two Persons in Law. Routledge Research in Medieval Studies Series. New York: Routledge.

Sara M. Butler, The Language of Abuse: Marital Violence in Later Medieval England. The Later Middle Ages Series. Leiden: Brill, 2007.

Edited Books

Sara M. Butler and K.J. Kesselring, eds., Crossing Borders: Boundaries and the Margins in Medieval and Early Modern Britain. Essays in Honour of Cynthia J. Neville. The Later Middle Ages Series. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Wendy J. Turner and Sara M. Butler, eds., Medicine and the Law in the Middle Ages. Medieval Law and its Practice Series. Leiden: Brill, 2014.


Recent Journal Articles

Sara M. Butler, “More than Mothers: Juries of Matrons and Pleas of the Belly in Medieval England.” Law and History Review 37, no. 2 (2019): 353-96.

Sara M. Butler, “Getting Medieval on Steven Pinker: Violence and Medieval England.” Special Issue: The Pinker Thesis, ed. Philip Dwyer and Mark S. Micale. Historical Reflections / Réflexions Historiques 44, no. 1 (2018): 29-40.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Family, Law, Women