Dorothy Owen

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Dorothy Mary Owen, née Williamson (11 April 1920 – 13 February 2002) was an English archivist and historian.


Born in Hyde, Cheshire and educated at Manchester University, Dorothy Williamson undertook postgraduate study there under Christopher Cheney, writing her dissertation on the legation of Cardinal Otto (Oddone di Monferrato) in the British Isles, 1237-1241.[1]

From 1948 to 1958 she was Assistant Archivist at the Lincolnshire Archives. In 1958 she married Arthur Owen, a fellow archivist and historian, and moved to London to be archivist at Lambeth Palace Library. In 1960 the pair moved to Cambridge, where Arthur had been appointed to a job at Cambridge University Library. Dorothy was soon instructing students in palaeography and diplomatic, and working on the diocesan records of Ely, recently deposited in the University Library. She was formally appointed Custodian of Ecclesiastical Archives in 1968 and Keeper of the University Archives in 1978. In 1969 she was elected a Fellow of Wolfson College.[1] She was active in the British Records Association, and served as Chairman of its Records Preservation Section, 1966-71; Chairman of Council, 1974-8; and Vice-President, 1981-91.[2]

In 1995 she was appointed MBE. She died in Thimbleby, Lincolnshire.


  • The Records of the Established Church in England. Archives and the User 1. London: British Records Association. 1970. 
  • Church and Society in Medieval Lincolnshire. History of Lincolnshire 5. Lincoln: Lincolnshire Local History Society. 1971. ISBN 0-902668-04-8. 
  • (ed.) John Lydford's Book. London: H.M.S.O. 1974. ISBN 0-11-440046-6. 
  • The Making of King's Lynn: a documentary survey. London: British Academy. 1984. ISBN 0-19-726027-6. 
  • The Medieval Canon Law: teaching, literature, and transmission. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1988. ISBN 0-521-39313-2. 
  • (ed.) A History of Lincoln Minster. Cambridge University Press. 1994. ISBN 978-0-521-25429-8. 


  1. ^ a b Christopher Harper-Bill, Obituary: Dorothy Owen, The Independent, 1 March 2002
  2. ^ Jubilee essays: the British Records Association, 1932-1992. London: British Records Association. 1992. pp. 4, 55–63. 

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