David Carpenter (historian)

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David Carpenter (born 1947) is an English historian and writer, and Professor of Medieval History at King's College London where he has been working since 1988.

He is the son of Rev. E.F. Carpenter, renowned ecclesiastical historian and Dean of Westminster Abbey between 1974–1986, and Lillian Carpenter. David Carpenter attended Westminster School along with David Piachaud, Professor of Social Policy at the LSE and Christ Church, Oxford where he gained a first class degree and went on to do his doctorate. He has written widely on English social, economic, architectural, military and political history in the thirteenth century; many of his essays on this subject being brought together in a volume of his collected papers The Reign of Henry III (Hambledon, 1996). He is a particular exponent of the ‘thickened political narrative’, which he deployed in The Minority of King Henry III (Methuen, 1990), which traced the complex political history of the years 1216-1227 out of which a new monarchy, limited by the Magna Carta, emerged. His most recent book, The Struggle for Mastery in Britain 1066-1284 (Penguin, 2004), weaves together the histories of England, Scotland and Wales in a strikingly new way, arguing that the rulers of all three, in their different fashions, were competing for mastery in Britain. Since 2005, he has directed a major AHRC-funded project on the Fine Rolls of Henry III. And, he is a Co-Investigator of the AHRC-funded project 'The Paradox of Medieval Scotland, 1093-1286'.

Carpenter is a proponent of the theory that feudalism was fundamentally important to everyday English society and politics after 1166. He has provided a new description on how the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey fit into the History of England.

Carpenter lives in London with his wife Jane and two children, Katie and James Carpenter. Carpenter is a supporter of Arsenal Football Club.


  • The Minority of Henry III (1990)
  • The Struggle for Mastery: Britain 1066–1284 (2004)


External links