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F. M. Powicke

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Sir F. M. Powicke
Frederick Maurice Powicke

(1879-06-16)16 June 1879
Alnwick, England
Died19 May 1963(1963-05-19) (aged 83)
Oxford, England
Other namesMaurice Powicke
TitleRegius Professor of Modern History (1928–1947)
Susan Irvine Martin
(m. 1909)
AwardsKnight Bachelor (1946)
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Sub-disciplineEnglish medieval history
InstitutionsMerton College, Oxford
Queen's University, Belfast
Victoria University of Manchester
Doctoral studentsRichard William Hunt
Beryl Smalley[1]
James Lydon (historian)
Notable studentsMargaret Wade Labarge
Kathleen Major
InfluencedC. R. Cheney[2]
William Abel Pantin[3]
R. W. Southern[1]

Sir Frederick Maurice Powicke FBA FRHistS (16 June 1879 – 19 May 1963) was an English medieval historian. He was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, a professor at Queen's University, Belfast, and the Victoria University of Manchester, and from 1928 until his retirement Regius Professor at the University of Oxford. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1946.



Powicke was born on 16 June 1879 in Alnwick, the son of Frederick James Powicke, a Congregational minister and historian of 17th-century puritanism, and Martha, the youngest daughter of William Collyer of Brigstock.[4] Powicke was educated at Owens College, Manchester, where he took his first degree, and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he took another with first-class honours.[5]

From 1908 to 1915 he was a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford,[6] although in 1909 he was appointed as Professor of Modern History in the Queen's University, Belfast, where he remained for ten years. From 1919 to 1928 he was Professor of Mediæval History at the Victoria University of Manchester, and during his time in Manchester he was a member of the Chetham Society and served on its council from 1920 to 1933.[7] He also served as Ford's Lecturer in English History at Oxford for 1927. In 1928 he became Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, remaining in post until 1947. He was President of the Royal Historical Society from 1933 to 1937.[5]

He was a tough, difficult man, small in build. At Oxford, he was determined to reinvigorate history there and made the university the leading centre in the England for historical study.[4]

Powicke was the author of the volume The Thirteenth Century in the Oxford History of England.[5]

In 1909, Powicke married Susan Irvine Martin, daughter of Anna and Thomas Martin Lindsay. Together they had two daughters.[5] Their daughter Janet married the historian Richard Pares.

He died in the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford on 19 May 1963.


  • The Loss of Normandy 1189–1204: Studies in the History of the Angevin Empire (1913)[8]
  • Bismarck and the Origin of the German Empire (1914)
  • Ailred of Rievaulx and his biographer Walter Daniel (1922)
  • Stephen Langton (1927) Ford Lectures
  • Gerald of Wales (1928)
  • Historical Study at Oxford (1929) Inaugural lecture
  • Robert Grosseteste and the Nicomachean Ethics (1930)
  • Sir Henry Spelman and the 'Concilia' (1930) Raleigh Lecture on History
  • The Medieval Books of Merton College (1931) A catalogue
  • Oxford Essays in Medieval History. Presented to Herbert Edward Salter (1934) editor
  • The Christian Life in the Middle Ages (1935) essays
  • International Bibliography of Historical Sciences. Twelfth year (1937) editor
  • History, Freedom and Religion (1938) Riddell Memorial Lectures
  • Handbook of British Chronology (1939) editor
  • Three Lectures (1947)
  • King Henry III and the Lord Edward: the Community of the Realm in the Thirteenth Century (1947) 2 volumes (2nd ed., 1968)
  • Mediaeval England, 1066–1485 (1948)
  • Ways of Medieval Life and Thought: Essays and Addresses (1949)
  • Walteri Danielis: Vita Ailredi Abbatis Rievall: The Life of Ailred of Rievaulx by Walter Daniel (1950) editor
  • Oxford History of England – Thirteenth Century 1216 – 1307 (1953)
  • The Reformation in England (1953)
  • Modern Historians and the Study of History: Essays and Papers (London: Odhams Press, 1955)


  • The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (3 vols) by Hastings Rashdall, editor with A. B. Emden
  • The Battle of Lewes 1264 (1964) with R. F. Treharne and Charles Lemmon
  • The Administration of the Honor of Leicester in the Fourteenth Century (1940) with L. Fox
  • Essays in Medieval History Presented to Thomas Frederick Tout (1925) editor with A. G. Little






  1. ^ a b https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/72p455.pdf [bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ Brooke, C. N. L. (1987). "Christopher Robert Cheney: 1906–1987" (PDF). Proceedings of the British Academy. 73. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 428. ISSN 0068-1202. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  3. ^ Highfield, J. R. L. (1974). "W. A. Pantin: In Memoriam" (PDF). Oxoniensia. 39. Oxford: Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society: iv. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b Southern, R. W. "Powicke, Sir (Frederick) Maurice (1879–1963)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/35596. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r 'POWICKE, Sir (Frederick) Maurice', in Who Was Who (London: A. & C. Black)
  6. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900–1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 62.
  7. ^ "Chetham Society: Officers and Council" (PDF). Chetham Society. 4 November 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Review of The Loss of Normandy (1189–1204) by F. M. Powicke". The Athenaeum (4469): 667. 21 June 1913.


  • Liber Memorialis Sir Maurice Powicke, Dublin 1963
  • Studies in Mediaeval History Presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke. (1969) edited by Richard William Hunt, William Abel Pantin and R. W. Southern
  • Inventing the Middle Ages by Norman Cantor
  • W. A. Pantin, "Frederick Maurice Powicke," The English Historical Review, 80, No. 314 (Jan. 1965): pp. 1–9.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Ford Lecturer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Regius Professor of Modern History
at the University of Oxford

Succeeded by
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by President of the Royal Historical Society
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Surtees Society
Succeeded by