Ella Sophia Armitage

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Ella Sophia Armitage
Ella Sophia Armitage died 1931.png
Born(1841-03-03)3 March 1841
Liverpool, England
Died20 March 1931(1931-03-20) (aged 90)
Middlesbrough, England
OccupationHistorian and archaeologist
Spouse(s)Elkanah Armitage (1844–1929)

Ella Sophia Armitage (3 March 1841 – 20 March 1931) was an English historian and archaeologist.


Armitage was born Ella Sophia Bulley in Liverpool, the second daughter of Samuel Marshall Bulley, a cotton merchant, and Mary Rachel Raffles.[1] In October 1871 she was one of the first students to enter Newnham College, Cambridge. Two of her sisters also attended Newnham, including Amy Bulley who sat the tripos.[2]

In 1874 Armitage became the college's first research student.[3] In the same year she married the Reverend Elkanah Armitage, with whom she would have two children.[4] From 1877 to 1879 she taught history at Owens College, Manchester with her sister Amy.[2] In Manchester she developed her interest in mediaeval earthworks and castles.[3] In 1887 she became the first woman on the school board at Rotherham, and in 1894 she was appointed assistant commissioner to James Bryce on the Royal Commission on Secondary Education to investigate girls' education in Devon.

Armitage – along with John Horace Round, George Neilson, and Goddard Henry Orpen – proved in a string of publications that British motte-and-bailey castles, which had previously been assumed to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, were not constructed until after the 1066 Norman conquest of England. Her book The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles is considered a seminal work on the subject.[1]

She was also known as a hymnwriter.[5]


  • Armitage, Ella S. (1877). The Childhood of the English Nation or the Beginnings of English History. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Armitage, Ella S. (1881). Richard I and Edward I. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.
  • Armitage, Ella S. (1885). The Connection Between England and Scotland. London: Rivingtons.
  • Armitage, Ella S. (1905). A key to English Antiquities: with special reference to the Sheffield and Rotherham district. London: J. M. Dent & Co.
  • Armitage, Ella S. (1912). The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles. London: J. Murray.


  1. ^ a b Counihan, Joan (2004). "Armitage , Ella Sophia (1841–1931)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ a b Linda Walker, ‘Bulley , (Agnes) Amy (1852–1939)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2010 accessed 22 Feb 2017
  3. ^ a b Ogilvie, Marilyn (2000). "Armitage, Ella Sophia A (Bulley) (1841–1931)". The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science. London: Routledge. p. 52. ISBN 0-415-92038-8.
  4. ^ Counihan, Joan (1986). "Mrs Ella Armitage, John Horace Round, G. T. Clark and Early Norman Castles". Anglo-Norman Studies. 8: 73–87.
  5. ^ 'Obituary: Mrs. Ella Armitage', The Manchester Guardian, 26 March 1931, p.10

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