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Bookings for this event will close on Friday 14 April 2023.


Susan Reynolds (1929-2021) was one of the leading figures in medieval history over the past forty years.  

Susan changed the way historians think about the middle ages. She believed the typical description taught in primary schools – a vertical diagram descending from king to barons to knights to peasants – was misleading.   

This symposium event will bring together a diverse range of scholars to reflect upon Susan’s career as a historian, her impact upon medieval history. Her most famous book, Fiefs and Vassals: the Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted (1994) influenced the teaching of medieval history, and academic discussions of ‘Feudalism’ (or the ‘F’ word, as her colleagues came to call it), punctuated a varied career. This career began with the Victoria County History of Middlesex and encompassed secondary school teaching, research and teaching at Oxford, as well as a key role in the life of the Institute of Historical Research following her early retirement from Oxford in 1986.  

This symposium will celebrate Susan’s life and career by reflecting on her life as teacher, colleague, and friend; the role of London in her work, and her legacy, followed by a reception.

A display of artefacts relating to her work and to her connection to the IHR will also be available. 


14:00-15:00 | Session 1 – Susan Reynolds: Teacher, Colleague, Friend 

Chair: Adam Chapman
  • Pauline Stafford: Susan Reynolds - teacher and friend
  • Frances Lannon (Lady Margaret Hall)
  • Peggy Brown (via Zoom)
  • Gene Garthwaite (via Zoom)
  • Janet Loengard (via Zoom)

15:00-15:30 | Break

15:30-16:30 | Session 2 – The London Years

Chair: Claire Langhamer
  • Susan and the IHR: A Reflection from David Bates
  • Adam Chapman: Susan Reynolds and the Victoria County History
  • The Early Medieval Seminar: Alice Rio and Alan Thacker

16:30-17:00 | Break

17:00-18:15 | Session 3 – Susan Reynolds: Work and Legacy 
  • Susan Reynolds – recorded 
  • John Gillingham
  • Alice Taylor 

The conference will be followed by a reception beginning at 6.30pm

All welcome- This event is free to attend, but booking is required. 

Please note that this is an in-person event only.