Educated at Monmouth School and Hertford College, Oxford, Langford was elected to a junior research fellowship in modern history at Lincoln College in 1969, becoming a tutorial fellow in 1970. He was a lecturer at the University of Oxford from 1971 to 1994, being elected a reader in modern history in 1994 and becoming a professor in 1996.
Having served as a member of the Humanities Research Board from 1995, in 1998 he was appointed chairman and chief executive of the newly established Arts and Humanities Research Board, "dashing around the country, successfully selling the idea that research in the arts and humanities should be as fully and imaginatively funded as research in the social or natural sciences." He held this post until returning to Oxford to take up the rectorship of Lincoln College in 2000.
Langford has been a fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 1979, a fellow of the British Academy since 1993 and was made an honorary fellow of Hertford College in 2000. In 2002, the University of Sheffield awarded him an honorary doctor of letters.
- "Professor Paul Langford". Hertford College, Oxford. Retrieved 2009-12-07.
- Peter Mandler (2000). "Englishness Identified: Manners and Character 1650-1850 (review)". History Today. p. 56.
- Ian R. Christie (1990). "A Polite and Commercial People. England 1727-1783 (review)". History Today. p. 2-2.
|Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford