Famous British Historians

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Find out more about the greatest British Historians, including David Hume, Terry Jones, Lisa Jardine, Simon Schama and Edward Gibbon.
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 1 
Terry Jones
9
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 
Lucy Worsley
(British Historian Best Known as a Presenter of BBC Television Series on Historical Topics)
Lucy Worsley
7
Birthdate: December 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England

British historian and author Lucy Worsley is not just a curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces, but is also a famed TV presenter, popular for her work on series such as A Very British Murder and If Walls Could Talk. Suffering from a speech disorder, she pronounces “r” in a peculiar way.

 3 
Edward Gibbon
(Historian)
Edward Gibbon
5
Birthdate: April 8, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 16, 1794

Eighteenth-century historian and author Edward Gibbon is best remembered for his 6-volume historical work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a narrative that charted events from the 2nd century to the Fall of Constantinople. He had also been an MP, representing Lymington and Liskeard.

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 4 
Anthony Blunt
(Art Historian, University Teacher)
Anthony Blunt
5
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.
 5 
Arnold J. Toynbee
8
Birthdate: April 14, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: October 22, 1975
 6 
Suzannah Lipscomb
5
Birthdate: December 7, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Barnes, London, United Kingdom

Apart from being a historian and an award-winning professor, Suzannah Lipscomb is also a popular author and broadcaster. Known for presenting documentary series such as Walking Tudor England and Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder, she also pens columns for History Today and other publications and is a public speaker, too.

 7 
Bettany Hughes
(Historian)
Bettany Hughes
6
Birthdate: 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England

The daughter of English actor Peter Hughes, art historian Bettany Hughes is also a popular TV personality and an author. Best known for presenting and writing documentaries and shows such as Ancient Discoveries and The Spartans, she also supports The Iris Project, which promotes Latin and Greek languages.

 8 
Ian Kershaw
(Best Known for His Non-fiction Work About Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Regim)
Ian Kershaw
5
Birthdate: April 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Oldham, England, United Kingdom
 9 
Geoffrey of Monmouth
(British cleric)
Geoffrey of Monmouth
4
Birthdate: 1095 AD
Birthplace: Monmouth, Wales
Died: 1155 AD

English bishop and chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth is best remembered for his iconic work Historia regum Britanniae, which introduced the character King Arthur in literature. His Latin poem Vita Merlini, written in hexameters, is based on the Celtic legend of Merlin. A lot of his so-called historical treatises seem to be fabricated.

 10 
E. P. Thompson
(British Historian, Writer and Socialist Known for His Work 'The Making of the English Working Class')
E. P. Thompson
4
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.  

 11 
E. H. Carr
(Historian, Journalist, Diplomat, Writer, Political scientist, Professor)
E. H. Carr
4
Birthdate: June 28, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Died: November 3, 1982

Best known for his 14-volume book A History of Soviet Russia, British historian and diplomat E. H. Carr had been part of the Foreign Office for a long time, before stepping into the academic world. He had also been an assistant editor of The Times and a fellow of both Oxford and Cambridge.

 12 
Dan Jones
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1981
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reading, England

Award-winning historian and author Dan Jones is best known for his New York Times bestsellers such as The Plantagenets and The Wars of the Roses. An expert in the history of the Middle Ages, he also writes a sports column for the London Evening Standard. He has also presented many documentaries.

 13 
Thomas Babington Macaulay
(British Secretary at War (1839 - 1841) )
Thomas Babington Macaulay
4
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 
Richard J. Evans
(Historian, University teacher, Non-fiction writer)
Richard J. Evans
5
Birthdate: September 29, 1947
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Woodford Green
 15 
Simon Schama
(Art historian, Historian, University teacher, Screenwriter, Writer)
Simon Schama
6
Birthdate: February 13, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: London
 16 
Bernard Lewis
(Historian)
Bernard Lewis
4
Birthdate: May 31, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 19, 2018
 17 
David Starkey
(Historian, Radio personality, Writer)
David Starkey
8
Birthdate: January 3, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kendal
 18 
Thomas Gray
(Poet, Writer, Literary critic)
Thomas Gray
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: July 30, 1771
 19 
Nikolai Tolstoy
(Historian, Non-fiction writer)
Nikolai Tolstoy
4
Birthdate: June 23, 1935
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
 20 
Kenneth Clark
(Art Historian)
Kenneth Clark
4
Birthdate: July 13, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mayfair, London, England
Died: May 21, 1983
 21 
Alan John Percival Taylor
4
Birthdate: March 25, 1906
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Southport, England
Died: September 7, 1990
 22 
Ambrosius Aurelianus
4
Birthplace: England
 23 
Michael Wood
(historian)
Michael Wood
4
Birthdate: July 23, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moss Side
 24 
Paul Johnson
(Journalist & Conservative Popular Historian)
Paul Johnson
4
Birthdate: November 2, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manchester, England
 25 
John Julius Norwich
(Television presenter, Politician, Historian, Diplomat, Writer)
John Julius Norwich
4
Birthdate: September 15, 1929
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oldham

Born to a popular politician father and a socialite mother, John Julius Norwich was educated at Eton and later served the navy. A diplomat, historian, and traveler, he is known for his books such as Absolute Monarchs and for hosting documentaries such as Maestro and the BBC radio show My Word!

 26 
Robert Conquest
(Historian, Researcher, Writer, Science fiction writer)
Robert Conquest
3
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.

 27 
Emma Georgina Rothschild
(Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Economist)
Emma Georgina Rothschild
5
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.

 28 
Steven Runciman
(Historian)
Steven Runciman
3
Birthdate: July 7, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Northumberland, England
Died: November 1, 2000
 29 
James George Frazer
(Anthropologist, Writer, Historian, Mythographer)
James George Frazer
3
Birthdate: January 1, 1854
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow
Died: May 7, 1941
British anthropologist James George Frazer is best known for his book The Golden Bough, which details his study of ancient cults and myths. He also taught social anthropology at Cambridge. He was also knighted for his achievements and was also made a Fellow of The Royal Society.
 30 
Niall Ferguson
(Writer, Economic historian, Historian, University teacher, Journalist, Economist)
Niall Ferguson
5
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.

 31 
B. H. Liddell Hart
(British Military Historian and Soldier Known for His Advocacy of Mechanized Warfare)
B. H. Liddell Hart
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1895
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: January 29, 1970

Also known as Captain B. H., soldier and historian B. H. Liddell Hart is best remembered for his research on military theory and his book Strategy. He was against frontal attack as a war strategy. He had also been part of the Battle of the Somme and was later knighted.

 32 
Tony Judt
(Historian, Professor, Non-fiction writer)
Tony Judt
3
Birthdate: January 2, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
Died: August 6, 2010
 33 
R. G. Collingwood
(Philosopher)
R. G. Collingwood
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cartmel Fell, England
Died: January 9, 1943
 34 
Gitta Sereny
(Biographer and Investigative Journalist Known for Her Interviews and Profiles of Infamous Figures, Including 'Mary Bell')
Gitta Sereny
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: June 14, 2012

Known for her persistent researches on some of history’s most reviled characters, Gitta Sereny was an investigative journalist and author of five biographical works that attempted to make sense of their crimes. Notable among her works are Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth and The Case of Mary Bell: A Portrait of a Child Who Murdered.  

 35 
Geoffrey Elton
(Writer, Historian of the modern age, Historian, University teacher, Lawyer)
Geoffrey Elton
3
Birthdate: August 17, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tübingen
Died: December 3, 1994

Born to Jewish scholars in Germany, Geoffrey Elton later moved with his family, first to Czechoslovakia and then to Britain. He grew up to become a renowned historian who specialized in the Tudor period. He also taught history at Cambridge and penned books such as England Under the Tudors.

 36 
Simon Sebag Montefiore
(British Historian, Television Presenter and Author of Popular History Books and Novels)
Simon Sebag Montefiore
4
Birthdate: June 27, 1965
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

The author of bestselling non-fiction books such as The Romanovs and Young Stalin, Simon Sebag Montefiore had had his books translated in 48 languages. He has also penned novels such as Red Sky at Noon and a couple of children’s books. The historian has previously been a banker and a journalist.

 37 
Thomas Hutchinson
(Businessman)
Thomas Hutchinson
3
Birthdate: September 9, 1711
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: British America
Died: June 3, 1780
 38 
Andrew Roberts
(historian, journalist, biographer)
Andrew Roberts
4
Birthdate: January 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London
 39 
Lord Acton
(Historian and Member of Parliament for Bridgnorth)
Lord Acton
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1834
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: June 19, 1902

Lord Acton was an English Catholic historian, writer, and politician. Born to a prominent family in Naples, he was the son of a British baronet. He studied at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he developed a deep love of historical research. After building a career as a historian and writer, he ventured into politics as well. 

 40 
Gavin Menzies
(Explorer, Submariner, Historian, Writer)
Gavin Menzies
3
Birthdate: August 14, 1937
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London
 41 
Robert Fisk
(Journalist, Historian, Writer, War correspondent)
Robert Fisk
4
Birthdate: July 12, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maidstone

British journalist Robert Fisk, who specialized in Middle-Eastern politics, has worked for renowned publications such as The Times and The Independent. In the 1990s, he became one of the few Western journalists to interview Osama bin Laden. He is also a bestselling author of books such as The Point of No Return.

 42 
Joseph Needham
(historian, biochemist, writer)
Joseph Needham
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1900
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: March 24, 1995
 43 
Hugh Trevor-Roper
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1914
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glanton, England
Died: January 26, 2003
 44 
G. M. Trevelyan
(Historian)
G. M. Trevelyan
3
Birthdate: February 16, 1876
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Warwickshire, England
Died: July 21, 1962
 45 
Tariq Ali
(British Writer, Journalist, Historian and Filmmaker)
Tariq Ali
3
Birthdate: October 21, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan

Tariq Ali is a British writer, journalist, political activist, filmmaker, public intellectual, and historian. Over the years, he has contributed immensely to popular publications like The Guardian and The London Review of Books. Tariq Ali is also credited with authoring many influential books like Bush in Babylon and The Obama Syndrome.

 46 
Karl Pearson
(Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer)
Karl Pearson
4
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.

 47 
David Owen
(politician, physician)
David Owen
4
Birthdate: July 2, 1938
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Plympton

Apart from co-establishing the Social Democratic Party, British politician David Owen has previously also been a practicing physician. His many important posts include that of the foreign affairs secretary of state. He has also been part of major nuclear disarmament groups and has headed the Liverpool University as its chancellor.

 48 
Max Hastings
(Journalist, Military historian, Writer)
Max Hastings
4
Birthdate: December 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lambeth
 49 
Antony Beevor
(Military historian, Novelist, Historian, Non-fiction writer, Author, Writer)
Antony Beevor
4
Birthdate: December 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: England
 50 
Derek J. de Solla Price
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Leyton, London, England
Died: September 3, 1983

Derek J. de Solla Price was a British physicist, information scientist, and historian of science. He is credited as the father of scientometrics. He received a Doctor of Philosophy in experimental physics from the University of London and began his academic career. He was posthumously awarded the ASIS Research Award for outstanding contributions in the field of information science.