Famous British Historians

Find out more about the greatest British Historians, including David Hume, Terry Jones, Lisa Jardine, Simon Schama and Edward Gibbon.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Historians

 1 Terry Jones

Terry Jones.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 

 2 Anthony Blunt

Anthony Blunt.
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Famous As: Art Historian, University Teacher
Birthdate: September 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bournemouth, Hampshire, England
Died: March 26, 1983
Art historian Anthony Blunt is best remembered as part of the spy group Cambridge Five. His confession, revealed after years, stripped him of his knighthood. An expert on the works of Baroque painter Nicolas Poussin, he had also authored works such as Art and Architecture in France 1500–1700.
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 3 David Irving

David Irving.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 24, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hutton, Brentwood, England

David Irving is an English Holocaust denier and author whose works pertaining to the political and military history of World War II have depicted Adolf Hitler in a favorable light. Due to his stance on Hitler, Irving's reputation as a historian has been discredited. He has also been accused of deliberately manipulating historical evidence.

 4 Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley.
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England, UK

 5 Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson.
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Famous As: Writer, Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Journalist, Economist
Birthdate: April 18, 1964
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Glasgow

Harvard professor and Stanford senior fellow Niall Ferguson is a Scottish historian who has penned countless books, such as The Pity of War and The House of Rothschild. Named to Time 100 in 2004, he also created an Emmy-winning series, The Ascent of Money and wrote for Bloomberg.

 6 Gregg Wallace

Gregg Wallace
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Famous As: TV Presenters
Birthdate: October 17, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Peckham, London, England, UK

 7 Bettany Hughes

Bettany Hughes
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Famous As: historian
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: London
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 8 Cherie Blair

Cherie Blair
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Famous As: Barrister
Birthdate: September 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bury, England

 9 Simon Russell Beale

Simon Russell Beale
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 12, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Penang, Malaysia

 10 Suzannah Lipscomb

Suzannah Lipscomb
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Famous As: historian
Birthdate: December 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnes, London, United Kingdom

 11 David Starkey

David Starkey
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Famous As: Historian, Radio personality, Writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kendal

 12 Stamford Raffles

Stamford Raffles.
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Famous As: Former Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies
Birthdate: July 6, 1781
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Port Morant, Jamaica
Died: July 5, 1826

Stamford Raffles was a British statesman who served as the Lieutenant-Governor of the Dutch East Indies from 1811 to 1816. From 1818 to 1824, he served as the Lieutenant-Governor of Bencoolen. Raffles is best remembered for founding the Straits Settlements and modern Singapore. He also played a major role in the invasion of Java in 1811 during the Napoleonic Wars.

 13 Thomas Babington Macaulay

Thomas Babington Macaulay
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: October 25, 1800
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Leicestershire, England
Died: December 28, 1859

A prominent Whig and essayist Thomas Babington Macaulay is best remembered for his 5-volume History of England. Though a qualified lawyer, he never took it up as a career. As part of his administrative work in India later, he introduced English as the chief medium of instruction in schools.

 14 Edward Gibbon

Edward Gibbon.
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: April 8, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1794

 15 Simon Schama

Simon Schama
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Famous As: Art historian, Historian, University teacher, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: February 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London

 16 Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman
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Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: November 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: PoznaƄ, Poland
Died: January 9, 2017

 17 Len Deighton

Len Deighton
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England

Len Deighton is an author whose works have inspired several movies and TV shows. Many of his novels, such as Funeral in Berlin, The Ipcress File, Spy Story, and Billion Dollar Brain, have been adapted into films. His works have influenced other popular personalities like Aung San Suu Kyi. Anthony Burgess mentioned Deighton's novel Bomber in his work Ninety-nine Novels.

 18 N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: December 1, 1948
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Morpeth, Northumberland, England

 19 Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: June 27, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

 20 Arnold J. Toynbee

Arnold J. Toynbee.
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: April 14, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: October 22, 1975

 21 Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk
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Famous As: Journalist, Historian, Writer, War correspondent
Birthdate: July 12, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maidstone

 22 Geoffrey of Monmouth

Geoffrey of Monmouth
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Famous As: British cleric
Birthdate: 1095 AD
Birthplace: Monmouth, Wales
Died: 1155 AD

 23 Roy Jenkins

Roy Jenkins
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: November 11, 1920
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Abersychan, Monmouthshire (historic) Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: January 5, 2003

Born to an MP father who was also associated with the mine workers’ union, Roy Jenkins grew up to be Labour Party member and then became the first to lead the Social Democratic Party. An Oxford alumnus, he later led his alma as its chancellor.

 24 Dan Jones

Dan Jones
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Birthdate: July 27, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reading, England

 25 Ian Kershaw

Ian Kershaw
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Famous As: Contemporary historian, University teacher, Writer, Historian
Birthdate: April 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oldham

 26 Karl Pearson

Karl Pearson
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Famous As: Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer
Birthdate: March 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 27, 1936

One of the greatest statisticians of all time, Karl Pearson established the first university-level statistics department at UCL and also launched the statistics-oriented journal Biometrika. He was also well-versed in law and believed in eugenics. His The Grammar of Science later inspired Albert Einstein and other scientists.

 27 Bernard Lewis

Bernard Lewis
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Famous As: Historian, University teacher
Birthdate: May 31, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London

 28 David Owen

David Owen
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Famous As: politician, physician
Birthdate: July 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Plympton

 29 Emma Georgina Rothschild

Emma Georgina Rothschild
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Famous As: Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist
Birthdate: May 16, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

Apart from being one of the heiresses of the affluent Rothschild banking family, Emma Georgina Rothschild is also a famous economic historian, a Harvard professor, and a former United Nations Foundation board member. She has also worked at MIT and Cambridge and is married to Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen.

 30 Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray
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Famous As: Poet, Writer, Literary critic
Birthdate: December 26, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: July 30, 1771

 31 Michael Wood

Michael Wood
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Famous As: historian
Birthdate: July 23, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moss Side

 32 Ambrosius Aurelianus

Ambrosius Aurelianus
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Famous As: Leader
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: England

 33 Antonia Fraser

Antonia Fraser
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Known for her biographies of historical personalities, Antonia Fraser is the widow of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter. She is also known as Lady Antonia, for being born to an earl. Her book Marie Antoinette: The Journey was made into a film by Sofia Coppola. She has been made a DBE.

 34 Max Hastings

Max Hastings
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Famous As: Journalist, Military historian, Writer
Birthdate: December 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lambeth

 35 Antony Beevor

Antony Beevor
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Famous As: Military historian, Novelist, Historian, Non-fiction writer, Author, Writer
Birthdate: December 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: England

 36 Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau
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Famous As: Linguist, Journalist, Economist, Historian, Translator, Writer, Sociologist, Essayist, Feminist
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich
Died: June 27, 1876

Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.

 37 Kenneth Clark

Kenneth Clark.
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Famous As: Art Historian
Birthdate: July 13, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayfair, London, England
Died: May 21, 1983

 38 Alan John Percival Taylor

Alan John Percival Taylor.
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 25, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Southport, England
Died: September 7, 1990

 39 A. J. P. Taylor

A. J. P. Taylor
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: March 25, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Southport, England
Died: September 7, 1990

 40 Alan Clark

Alan Clark
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Famous As: Politician, Historian, Diarist
Birthdate: April 13, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paddington
Died: September 5, 1999

 41 Richard J. Evans

Richard J. Evans
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Famous As: Historian, University teacher, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: September 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Woodford Green

 42 E. H. Carr

E. H. Carr
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Famous As: Historian, Journalist, Diplomat, Writer, Political scientist, Professor
Birthdate: June 28, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Died: November 3, 1982

 43 Tariq Ali

Tariq Ali
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: October 21, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lahore, Punjab (British India) Punjab, British Raj British India (now Pakistan)

 44 John Julius Norwich

John Julius Norwich
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Famous As: Television presenter, Politician, Historian, Diplomat, Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oldham

 45 Robert Conquest

Robert Conquest
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Famous As: Historian, Researcher, Writer, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: July 15, 1917
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Malvern
Died: August 3, 2015

Robert Conquest was a British poet and historian whose works earned him the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005. In his illustrious career Conquest also won other prominent awards like Richard Weaver Award for Scholarly Letters, Michael Braude Award for Light Verse, Dan David Prize, and the Antonovych prize.

 46 Hugh Trevor-Roper

Hugh Trevor-Roper
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: January 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glanton, England
Died: January 26, 2003

 47 Nikolai Tolstoy

Nikolai Tolstoy
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Famous As: Historian, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: June 23, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London

 48 E. P. Thompson

E. P. Thompson
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Famous As: Historian
Birthdate: February 3, 1924
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: August 28, 1993

British historian E. P. Thompson is best remembered for his iconic works such as The Making of the English Working Class. He was also a poet, a novelist, and a biographer. An anti-nuclear activist, too, he played a significant role in the formation of the New Left.  

 49 B. H. Liddell Hart

B. H. Liddell Hart
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Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: October 31, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 29, 1970

 50 Tony Judt

Tony Judt
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Famous As: Historian, Professor, Non-fiction writer
Birthdate: January 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: August 6, 2010