Ford Lectures

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Samuel Rawson Gardiner (1829–1902), English historian who delivered the first Ford Lectures in 1896–7. (Portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, London.)

The Ford Lectures are a series of public lectures at the University of Oxford given annually in English or British history by a distinguished historian.[1] Known commonly as "The Ford Lectures," they are properly entitled "The James Ford Lectures in British History" and they are given by a scholar elected to be "Ford Lecturer in British History" at Oxford for a period of one year. The series, given in Michaelmas or Hilary term terms consists of at least six lectures, which are usually published as a book.

History of the lectureship

The lectures are named in honur of their benefactor, James Ford[2] (born at Canterbury, Kent 31 October 1779 – died at Navestock, Essex, on 31 January 1851), who had been educated at King's School, Canterbury and matriculated at Trinity College, Oxford in 1797. After graduating in 1801, he went on to his Master of Arts and Bachelor of Divinity degrees. He was a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford from 1807 to 1830. His antiquarian collections have been dispersed, but survive in the holdings of the Bodleian Library, The Library of Trinity College, Oxford, The British Library, and the Cambridge University Library.

In his will, Ford left a number of bequests, some of which were held in trust for the support of his surviving siblings. After they had all died, Oxford University received his bequest of £2,000 to fund a professorship of English history, which was to be established when the principal had grown to support payment of £100 per year. When this goal was reached in 1894, the sum was not enough to support a professor at the current stipend. After considerable discussion within the University, the funds were assigned to fund an annual lectureship in English history by a lecturer who was to be chosen annually by a board of electors. The first Ford's Lecturer in English History was S. R. Gardiner, elected for the academic year beginning in 1896. In 1994, the University of Oxford formally changed the official title of the series from "Ford's Lectures in English History" to "Ford's Lectures in British History".[citation needed]

As the lectures may be given in either the Michaelmas or Hilary terms (or partly in both), confusion can arise on publication because either calendar year may be stated. The following list gives the academic year.

Ford's lecturers

The following have been Ford Lecturers.[3]

To 1899



  • 1950–51 G. N. Clark, King James I and Dutch "Imperialism" in Asia
  • 1951–52 Richard Pares, King George III and the politicians
  • 1952–53 K. B. McFarlane, The Nobility of Later Medieval England
  • 1953–54
  • 1954–55 C. R. Cheney, From Becket to Langton: English church government 1170–1213
  • 1955–56 A. J. P. Taylor, The Trouble Makers: Dissent over Foreign Policy, 1792–1939
  • 1956–57 Philip Grierson
  • 1957–58
  • 1958–59 Norman Sykes, From Sheldon to Secker: aspects of English church history, 1660–1768
  • 1959–60 G. Kitson Clark, The making of Victorian England
  • 1960–61 Sir Goronwy Edwards, The second century of the English Parliament
  • 1961–62 Christopher Hill, Intellectual Origins of the English Revolution
  • 1962–63 D. C. Douglas, William the Conqueror: the Norman impact upon England
  • 1963–64 Norman Gash, Reaction and reconstruction in English politics, 1832–1852
  • 1964–65 E. M. Carus Wilson, The rise of the English woollen industry
  • 1965–66 J.H. Plumb The growth of political stability in England: 1675–1725
  • 1966–67 Beryl Smalley, Intellectuals and Politics in the twelfth century
  • 1967–68 Robert Blake, The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill
  • 1968–69 Charles Wilson, Queen Elizabeth and the Revolt of the Netherlands
  • 1969–70 J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, Early Germanic kingship in England and on the continent
  • 1970–71 Michael Howard, The continental commitment: the dilemma of British defence policy in the era of the two world wars
  • 1971–72 G. R. Elton, Policy and Police: the enforcement of the Reformation in the age of Thomas Cromwell
  • 1972–73 Rodney Hilton, The English peasantry in the later Middle Ages
  • 1973–74 John Gallagher, The Decline, Revival and Fall of the British Empire
  • 1974–75 Joan Thirsk, Economic Policy, Economic Projects and Political Economy, 1540–1700
  • 1975–76 J. P. Kenyon, Revolution principles: the politics of party, 1689–1720
  • 1976–77 G. W. S. Barrow, The Anglo-Norman era in Scottish history
  • 1977–78 F. S. L. Lyons, Culture and Anarchy in Ireland, 1890–1939
  • 1978–79 Patrick Collinson, The religion of Protestants: the church in English society, 1559–1625
  • 1979–80 Donald A. Bullough, Alcuin: Achievement and Reputation
  • 1980–81 Owen Chadwick, Britain and the Vatican during the Second World War
  • 1981–82 J. J. Scarisbrick, Religious Attitudes in Reformation England
  • 1982–83 J. O. Prestwich, The Place of War in English History 1066–1214
  • 1983–84 Ian R. Christie, Stress and stability in late 18th-century Britain: reflections on the British avoidance of revolution
  • 1984–85 John Habakkuk, Marriage, debt, and the estates system: English landownership 1650–1950
  • 1985–86 S. F. C. Milsom, Law and Society in the 12th and 13th centuries
  • 1986–87 Keith Robbins, Nineteenth-century Britain: England, Scotland and Wales: the making of a nation
  • 1987–88 Conrad Russell, The Causes of the English Civil War
  • 1988–89 Barbara Harvey, Living and dying in England 1140–1540, the monastic experience
  • 1989–90 Paul Langford, Public Life and Propertied Englishmen, 1689–1798
  • 1990–91 Lord Briggs, Culture and Communication in Victorian England
  • 1991–92 David Underdown, A Freeborn People: politics and the nation in seventeenth-century England
  • 1992–93 P. H. Sawyer, Wealth in Anglo-Saxon England
  • 1993–94 F. M. L. Thompson, Gentrification and the Enterprise Culture: Britain 1780–1980
  • 1994–95 Paul Slack, From Reformation to improvement: public welfare in early modern England
  • 1995–96 James Campbell, Origins of the English state
  • 1996–97 Jose Harris, A land of lost content? Visions of civic virtue from Ruskin to Rawls
  • 1997–98 R. R. Davies, The first English empire: power and identities in the British Isles, 1093–1343
  • 1998–99 T. C. Smout, Use and delight: environmental history in Northern England since 1600
  • 1999-00 Keith Thomas, The ends of life: roads to fulfilment in early modern England

From 2000

  • 2000–01 Christopher Dyer, An Age of Transition? Economy and Society in England in the Later Middle Ages
  • 2001–02 Peter Clarke Britain's image in the world in the twentieth century
  • 2002–03 Quentin Skinner, Freedom, Representation, and Revolution, 1603–51
  • 2003–04 John Maddicott, The Origins of the English Parliament
  • 2004–05 Marianne Elliott, Religion and Ireland
  • 2005–06 John Morrill, Living with Revolution
  • 2006–07 Robert Bartlett, The Learned Culture of Angevin England
  • 2007–08 Ross McKibbin, Parties People and the State: Politics in England c.1914–1951
  • 2008–09 John Brewer, The Politics of Feeling in the Age of Revolutions, 1760-1830
  • 2009–10 David Bates, The Normans and Empire
  • 2010–11 Peter Lake, Bad Queen Bess? Libelous Politics and Secret Histories in an Age of Confessional Conflict
  • 2011–12 Roy Foster, Making a Revolution in Ireland, c.1890–1916
  • 2012–13 John Blair, Building the Anglo-Saxon Landscape[4]
  • 2013–14 Susan Pedersen,[5] Internationalism and Empire: British Dilemmas, 1919–1939
  • 2014-15 Steven Gunn, The English people at war in the age of Henry VIII[6]



  1. "Ford Lectures". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Wroth, W. W.; revised by M.C. Curthoys (2004). "Ford, James (1779–1850)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Ford Lectures in English/British History". Making History. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 23 December 2013. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "John Blair to give the 2013 Ford Lectures". University of Oxford: The Queen's College. Retrieved 23 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Susan Pedersen". USA: Columbia University. Retrieved 23 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The James Ford Lectures in British History". University of Oxford Faculty of History. Retrieved 13 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links