John Steven Watson

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John Steven Watson FRSE (20 March 1916 Hebburn-on-Tyne, Co. Durham – 12 June 1986 London) was an English historian who served as Principal of the University of St Andrews from 1966-86.[1]

Having been educated at the Merchant Taylors' School, John Steven Watson went up to St John's College Oxford where he took a first in history (MA 1939).

After serving at the Ministry of Fuel and Power during the war he returned to Oxford as a student and tutor at Christ Church where he established an international reputation as an historian of the eighteenth century. This led to him being asked to contribute the volume on The Reign of George III for the Oxford History of England following the death of Richard Pares.

He later became a liked and successful principal of St Andrews University in Fife, Scotland. He announced that he was to retire in September 1986 but died in June of that year.


  1. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 9780902198845. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 4, 2006. Retrieved September 25, 2010. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Malcolm Knox
Principal of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Professor Struther Arnott