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The Stenton lecture is an annual lecture by an eminent historian, hosted by the Department and held in honour of its founders, Sir Frank and Lady Stenton.

Stenton Lecture 2022: Enslaved Mothers and their Children

Speaker: Professor Brenda Stevenson, inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair in Women's History at St. John’s College, University of Oxford.

Event date and time: 17 November 2022, 6pm

Venue: Henley Business School Lecture Theatre G11

Professor Brenda Stevenson is the inaugural Hillary Rodham Clinton Chair in Women’s History at St. John’s College, University of Oxford as well as the Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in the Department of History and a Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Professor Stevenson is a social historian whose work centres on gender, race, family and social conflict in America and the Atlantic World from the colonial period through the late 20th century.

Please use this sign-up link to register your interest.


View our list of past lectures and find out how to purchase print copies.

Sir Frank and Lady Stenton

Sir Frank Merry Stenton (1880-1967) was Professor of Medieval History from 1912 to 1946 and Vice-Chancellor from 1946 to 1950. His major works were The First Century of English Feudalism, 1066-1166 (1932) and Anglo-Saxon England (1943). He also contributed to the Victoria County Histories and studied English place names and coins.

As Vice-Chancellor, he presided over the University's purchase of Whiteknights Park, creating the new campus that allowed for the expansion of the university in later decades.

Lady Doris Stenton (1894-1971) was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in History at the University of Reading from 1920 to 1959. Her major works were English Society in the Early Middle Ages (1066-1307) (1951) and The English Woman in History (1957). She made important contributions to the study of medieval charters and was instrumental in reviving the Pipe Roll Society.

Both Stentons were medievalists and together they were responsible for building the reputation of the University of Reading as a centre for historical excellence. They were responsible for the Stenton Library, their combined academic working libraries, which is as important a resource today as it was in the Stentons' lifetime.

The Stenton Library and Collections

The library comprises some 4700 printed volumes, plus pamphlets and offprints. English medieval history is the emphasis of the collection; other collection strengths include English history in general, religion and church history, local history, charters, law, and women's history. There are over 1100 pre-1851 English and continental works and the Library also includes Stenton's coin collection.

Both the Stenton Library and the coin collection are held by the University's Special Collections, which also houses their papers. This collection includes correspondence, photographs, financial records, diaries and notebooks of the 19th century Stenton family; personal correspondence, financial papers, photographs, diaries and journals of Sir Frank and Lady Stenton; papers relating to Sir Frank's appointment as Professor of Modern History 1912.

There are also deeds and charters 1587-1803; transcripts and historical notes; drafts of articles, addresses and books, including Anglo-Saxon England; reviews; committee papers, especially of the History of Parliament Trust 1948-1953; sundry papers, including obituaries of Sir Frank Stenton.

Past Stenton lectures

landscape shot of abbey ruins on a green field against a cloudy blue sky

This series of publications by eminent historians consists of papers which are chronologically wide-ranging, concise in expression and moderate in price. Some are in their second edition and others have been recognised as unique statements on a specialised topic or as lively contributions to scholarly discussions of more general subjects.

Stenton Lectures in Print 

  • 1968 - Magna Carta in the Historiography of the 16th and 17th Centuries, Sir Herbert Butterfield
  • 1969 - Splendid Isolation 1763-80, Michael Roberts
  • 1971 - English Linear Measures, Philip Grierson
  • 1973 - Mussolini as a Military Leader, Denis Mack Smith
  • 1974 - The Vikings in Francia, J.M. Wallace-Hadrill
  • 1975 - Rule and Misrule in the Schools of Early Modem England, Keith Thomas
  • 1976 - Relics and Social Status in the Age of Gregory of Tours, P.R.L. Brown
  • 1977 - Horses in Early Modem England: for Service, for Pleasure, for Power, Joan Thirsk
  • 1978 - Platonism, Scholastic Method, and the School of Chartres, Richard Southern
  • 1979 - Ranke as Reformation Historian, A.G. Dickens
  • 1980 - Professionalism, Property and English Society since 1880, Harold Perkin
  • 1981 - What's in a Name? Family Nomenclature and the Norman Conquest, J.C. Holt
  • 1982 - The French Revolution and Democracy, Norman Hampson
  • 1983 - Nuremberg and after: the continuing History of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, G. Best
  • 1984 - David I of Scotland (1124-1153): The Balance of New and Old, G.W.S. Barrow
  • 1985- From Iconoclasm to Iconophobia: the Cultural Impact of the Second English Reformation, P. Collinson
  • 1986 - The Modem British Monarchy: a study in Adaptation, John Cannon
  • 1987 - Stubbs and the English State, James Campbell
  • 1988 - Orphans and Foundlings in Early Modem Europe, Brian Pullan
  • 1989 - Insular Outsider? 'British History' and European Integration, K.G. Robbins
  • 1990 - The Piper and the Tune: Medieval Patrons and Monks, Christopher Holdsworth
  • 1991 - The Addled Parliament of 1614: The Limits of Revision, Conrad Russell
  • 1992 - Mozart and the Habsburgs, Derek Beales
  • 1993 - Two Conversions to Christianity: The Bulgarians and the Anglo-Saxons, Henry Mayr-Harting
  • 1994 - Britain and Spain in America: Colonists and Colonized, John Elliott
  • 1995 - How European are the French? Douglas Johnson
  • 1996 - The English and the Community of Europe, Donald Matthew
  • 1997 - The Sense of a Past in Eighteenth-Century Medicine, Ludmilla Jordanova
  • 1998 - Race and War: Lyndon Johnson and William Fulbright, Tony Badger
  • 1999 - Re-ordering the Past and Negotiating the Present in Stenton's 'First Century', David Bates
  • 2001 - 'The Island of England' in the Fifteenth Century: Perceptions of the Peoples of the British Isles,

Ralph Griffiths

  • 2002 - Hitler: Anatomy of a Dictator, Ian Kershaw
  • 2003 - 'Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears a Crown': Dynastic Crises in Tudor and Stewart Britain 1504-1746, John Morrill
  • 2004 - Abraham Lincoln & the Fourth Estate: The White House & the Press during the American Civil War, Richard Carwardine
  • 2005 - Sir Frank Stenton and the Vikings, Janet Nelson
  • 2006 - The Growth of a Provincial Press in Sixteenth-century Europe, Andrew Pettegree
  • 2007 - The Pursuit of Reality: The Nemirovsky Effect, Rod Kedward
  • 2008 - The Challenge of State Building in the Twelfth Century: the Crusader States in Palestine and Syria, Malcolm Barber
  • 2009 - Collecting the Objects of History: Past Historic, Future Imperfect?, Neil MacGregor
  • 2010 - Plenty of People: Perceptions of Population in early modern England, Paul Stack

 Reading History 

  • Stenton's Anglo-Saxon England 50 years on - Donald Matthew- ISBN 9780704904484 £15.00

Stenton Lectures Not in Print

  • 2011 - On the Limits of Democratic Art, John Howard
  • 2012 - War, Women and Enslavement in Medieval Britain, John Gillingham
  • 2014 - Writing the history of one's own times, Peter Hennessy
  • 2015 -“ Why Does Agincourt Matter, Anne Curry
  • 2016 -“ Britainâ's Wars with France, 1793-1815, and their contribution to the consolidation of its Industrial Revolution, Patrick K. O'Brien
  • 2017 - “ The Russian Revolution: A Hundred Years On, Steve Smith
  • 2018 - “ The Letters of England's Kings and Queens 1154-1215: A Vast New Resource?, Nicholas Vincent
  • 2019 - The Question of Pagan Survivals in the Christian Middle Ages, Ronald Hutton
  • 2020 - postponed until 2021
  • 2021 - Vanished: Hope and Histories of Extinction, Dr Sadiah Qureshi

Stenton Lectures with Electronic Publication

Ordering the Stenton Lectures in Print

This can now be ordered and paid for by credit card following this link:

Volumes up to 1984 inclusive are priced at £2.00, those up to 2008 are priced at £3.00, 2010 onward is £3.50, except the 1995 volume which is £4.00. Reductions of one third are given on all orders of twelve copies or more (single or mixed titles).

If you still wish to pay by cheque please send requests by e-mail to supplying your name, postal address and the lecture/s you are interested in purchasing. Or by post to:

Executive Administration Officer, University of Reading, School of Humanities, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AA

Please enclose a cheque made out to the 'University of Reading' allowing £1.50 for postage and packing.

Photograph of Sian David

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