Maurice Powicke

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

Sir Maurice Powicke
Frederick Maurice Powicke

(1879-06-16)16 June 1879
Alnwick, England
Died19 May 1963(1963-05-19) (aged 83)
Alma materOwens College, Manchester
Known forWorks on English medieval history
TitleRegius Professor of Modern History
PredecessorHenry William Carless Davis
SuccessorVivian Hunter Galbraith


The son of Frederick James Powicke, a Congregational minister and historian of seventeenth-century puritanism,[1] 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.[2]

From 1908 to 1915 he was a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, 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 as a Member of Council from 1920 to 1933.[3] 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.[2]

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 country for historical study.[1]

Powicke was the author of the volume The Thirteenth Century in the Oxford History of England.[2]

In 1909, Powicke married Susan Irvine Martin, daughter of the Rev. T. M. Lindsay DD, and they had two daughters.[2] Their daughter Janet married the historian Richard Pares.


  • The Loss of Normandy 1189–1204: Studies in the History of the Angevin Empire (1913)[4]
  • 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 (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. 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.)
  2. 'POWICKE, Sir (Frederick) Maurice', in Who Was Who (London: A. & C. Black)
  3. "Chetham Society: Officers and Council" (PDF). Chetham Society. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  4. "Review of The Loss of Normandy (1189–1204) by F. M. Powicke". The Athenaeum (No. 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
Richard Lodge
President of the Royal Historical Society
Succeeded by
Frank Stenton
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