Janet Nelson

Dame Janet (Jinty) Laughland Nelson, DBE, FBA (born 28 March 1942)[1] is a British historian. She is Emerita Professor of Medieval History at King's College London.

Professor emerita

Janet Nelson

Janet Laughland Muir

(1942-03-28) 28 March 1942
Blackpool, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Howard Nelson (m. 1965)
Academic background
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
ThesisRituals of Royal Inauguration in Early Medieval Europe (1967)
Doctoral advisorWalter Ullmann
Academic work
InstitutionsKing's College London
Main interestsmedieval kingship

Early life

Nelson was educated at Keswick School, Cumbria and at Newnham College, Cambridge where she earned her BA degree in 1964 and her PhD degree in 1967.[2]


She was appointed a lecturer at King's College, London in 1970, promoted to Reader in 1987, to Professor in 1993, and Director of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies in 1994, retiring in 2007. She was President of the Ecclesiastical History Society (1993–94)[3] and was a Vice-President of the British Academy (2000–01). She was the first female President of the Royal Historical Society (2000–04).[4] The 'Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching & Supervision in History' was established by the Royal Historical Society in January 2018.[4]

Her research to date has been focused on early medieval Europe, including Anglo-Saxon England. She has published widely on kingship, government, political ideas, religion and ritual, and increasingly on women and gender during this period. From 2000 to 2010 she co-directed, with Simon Keynes (of Cambridge University), the AHRC-funded project Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England.[5] She has long been working on the book "King and Emperor", a biography of Charlemagne, due out in 2019.[6]


Nelson has honorary doctorates from the University of East Anglia (2004),[7] University of St Andrews (2007),[8] Queen's University Belfast (2009),[9] and the universities of York (2010),[10] Liverpool (2010)[11] and Nottingham (2010).[12]


  • King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne (Allen Lane, 2019)
  • Courts, Elites and Gendered Power in the Early Middle Ages (Aldershot, 2007)
  • (with P. Wormald) ed., Lay Intellectuals in the Carolingian World (Cambridge, 2007)
  • ed., Timothy Reuter, Medieval Politics and Modern Mentalities (Cambridge, 2007)
  • (with P. Stafford and J. Martindale) ed., Law, Laity and Solidarities: Essays in Honour of Susan Reynolds (Manchester, 2001)
  • (with P. Linehan) ed.,The Medieval World (London, 2001)
  • (with F. Theuws) ed., Rituals of Power from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages (Leiden, 2000)
  • Rulers and Ruling Families in Earlier Medieval Europe (London, 1999)
  • The Frankish World (London, 1996)
  • Charles the Bald (London, 1992)
  • Politics and Ritual in Early Medieval Europe (London, 1986)

Nelson has also appeared on BBC television and radio, notably as an expert on the Anglo-Saxon Kings in Michael Wood's 2013 series on the subject.[13]


  1. "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 43, 28 March 2014
  2. NELSON, Dame Janet Laughland, (Dame Jinty Nelson), Who's Who 2009, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2008 Profile, ukwhoswho.com; accessed 3 September 2009.
  3. "Past Presidents of the EHS | Ecclesiastical History Society". history.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  4. "Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching & Supervision in History - RHS". RHS. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  5. "Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England: Team". pase.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. "King and Emperor". penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  7. "Honorary Graduates of the University". 14 August 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  8. "Honorary degrees (21 June 2007)". University of St Andrews news. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  9. "07-2009 Press Releases | News". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  10. "University of York honours 11 for their contributions to society - News and events". The University of York. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  11. "World leading scientists among 2010 honours - News". University of Liverpool. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. "Graduation celebrations for the class of 2010". The University of Nottingham. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  13. BBC Four - King Alfred and the Anglo Saxons. Accessed 21 August 2013.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Dr Peter Marshall
President of the Royal Historical Society
Succeeded by
Dr Martin Daunton
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