Submission Strategies

The Irish Submissions to Richard II, 1395

In Development

This site is in active development, so check back for updates or follow the project on GitHub. You may run into empty or partial records as the site continues to grow. If you'd like to contribute, please feel free get in touch!

The Submissions to Richard II, 1395

In 1395, at what appeared to be the end of a protracted conflict with Art Óg MacMurrough and his allies, Richard II received the submissions of dozens of Irish lords. The submissions followed a well-established formula: the submitting parties prostrated themselves and paid homage to the king. They then swore an oath, usually in Irish, which was relayed through a trusted interpreter. Finally, they bound themselves to pay fines and other penalties should they break their oaths. While the particulars of the ritual sometimes varied from party to party, the overall consistency of the formula produced an invaluable resource in the accounts of the submissions. Transcribed and translated by Edmund Curtis in 1927, the notarial instruments offer a glimpse of the informal networks that exercised an often invisible influence on the ruling class of fourteenth-century Ireland.

Submission Strategies visualizes the social and spatial networks embedded in the notarial instruments. The project also contextualizes those relationships with authority files on each person and place that link to references in surviving primary sources, antiquarian works, and scholarship. Wherever possible, these authority files link to free and/or public domain sources, in keeping with the project's commitment to transparency and open access.

Project Development

Phase One (Summer 2021 - Summer 2022)

The first phase of the project focused on creating an infrastructure to scaffold the map and network visualizations. The project began with a conference paper on the role of the interpreter in the submissions to Richard II. I had initially planned to put together some quick network visualizations for both exploration and illustration. However, as I constructed the visualizations, I realized almost immediately that it would elide the enormous amount of research (and sometimes guesswork) involved in cleaning the data. As a big proponent of data transparency, I wanted to make my process clear, accessible, and replicable. However, I also realized that the background research I did to identify people and places was a valuable scholarly resource in and of itself. Since giving that paper at the Irish Conference of Medievalists in 2021, I have used that initial research and done a lot more to create authority files for each person, place, and notarial record that link to each other. I've also built the website that they live on, with an eye toward simplicity and sustainability. These initial authority files are still a work in progress, and I welcome contributions and collaborations!

Phase Two

I am currently working on moving the network visualizations into a more sustainable format using the Observable Framework. Following that migration, the next phase of the project will focus on identifying and exploring new connections in this transnational network. I'm currently developing brief pieces (Explorations) that dig deeper into particular facets of the dataset, e.g. identifying hidden marital networks, the role of the interpreter, and comparisons and contrasts between the submissions of 1395 and those of 1449. I also welcome contributions here - if you use the dataset and find something neat, I'd love to put it up on the site with full attribution.

User Testing

I'm currently doing some user testing to evaluate the usability and accessibility of the site as it currently stands. If you're interested in participating, please email me at


Margaret K. Smith

Margaret Smith is research assistant professor of digital humanities at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She completed her PhD in medieval history at Saint Louis University in 2020. Prior to joining SIUE, she worked in digitization at the Barack Obama Presidential Library. Her research focuses on strategies of negotiation, sources of authority, and construction of identity within Gaelic lordships in the late medieval and early modern periods.