Born at Atcham in Shropshire in 1915, she was educated at Shrewsbury Priory County Girls School and Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where she later became a Research fellow. She became a Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge, but relinquished the fellowship when she decided in 1965 to give up teaching to complete her editorial work on the Historia Ecclesiastica of Orderic Vitalis. Four years later she was made a Research Fellow and subsequently a Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge (and Honorary Fellow of Girton College, Cambridge. Earlier in her career she had taught at the University of Southampton and the University of Aberdeen. Chibnall's early research focused on medieval Normandy. Her career spanned more than six decades, and she continued to publish well into her 90's. Her last book, a brilliant short account of the Normans was published in 2006.
Marjorie Chibnall was an active participant at the Battle Conferences on Anglo-Norman history and an editor of their proceedings. She was a fellow of the British Academy.
Her masterly edition of Orderic Vitalis was probably her greatest contribution to the study of the Anglo Norman period, but her biography of the Empress Matilda also attracts widespread admiration.
Chibnall died on 23 June 2012, at the age of 96. She was married to the biochemist Charles Chibnall, who died in 1988, and is survived by their son and daughter and by two step daughters.
- Select Documents of the English lands of the Abbey of Bec, (Royal Historical Society, Camden Third Series vol. 73, 1951)
- John of Salisbury’s Memoirs of the Papal Court, (London, 1956)
- (ed. & tr) The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis, 6 vols., (Oxford, 1969—1980)
- Charters and Custumals of the Abbey of Holy Trinity, Caen (Oxford, 1982)
- The World of Orderic Vitalis, (Oxford, 1984)
- Anglo-Norman England 1066-1166, (Oxford, 1986)
- (ed.& tr.)The Historia Pontificalis of John of Salisbury, (Oxford, 1986)
- Empress Matilda, (Oxford, 1991)
- (ed. with Leslie Watkiss) The Waltham Chronicle : An Account of the Discovery of Our Holy Cross at Montacute and its Conveyance to Waltham (Oxford, 1994)
- (ed. & tr. with R. H. C. Davis), The Gesta Guillelmi of William of Poitiers, (Oxford, 1998)
- The Debate on the Norman Conquest, (Manchester, 1999)
- Piety, Power and History in Medieval England and Normandy, (Aldershot, 2000)
- The Normans (Oxford, 2006)
- Chibnall, Marjorie (1990), The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis; Volume II, Books III and IV, Oxford Medieval Texts, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. v—vi, ISBN 0-19-820220-2
- "Marjorie McCallum CHIBNALL Obituary". The Times. 28 June 2012.