Ian Mortimer


 

About Ian Mortimer

Dr Ian Mortimer was born in Petts Wood in the London Borough of Bromley in 1967. He is the author of eleven history books and numerous articles, most of which deal with the history of England between the twelfth century and the early nineteenth. He has been described by The Times as 'the most remarkable medieval historian of our time', principally on account of his series of late-medieval historical biographies. He is best known, however, as the author of The Time Traveller's Guides: three have been completed to date, namely Medieval England (2008); Elizabethan England (2012) and Restoration Britain (2017); a fourth (Regency Britain) is currently in progress.

He is one of the most innovative historians working today, pushing the boundaries of both literary form ('the art of history') and historical methodology ('how we know what we think we know about the past'). As well as a historian, he is a qualified archivist and has two doctorates from the University of Exeter. His PhD was on the subject of 'Medical assistance to the dying in provincial southern England, c. 1570-1720'. Between 1991 and 2003 he worked for a succession of archive and historical research organisations, including Devon Record Office, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts and the universities of Exeter and Reading. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was awarded the Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2004 for his work on the social history of medicine.

He also writes in other genres. His most recent novel, The Outcasts of Time, won the 2018 Winston Graham Prize for Historical Fiction. His first three novels, the Clarenceux Trilogy, set in the 1560s, appeared under his middle names, James Forrester. He has also published poetry and a CD of some of his songs. His most recent title is a memoir about the meaning of running, Why Running Matters, was published in March 2019.

Past public roles include appointments as a Member of the Lord Chancellor's Forum on Historical Manuscripts and Academic Research (2011-2017); Chairman of the Friends of Devon's Archives (2015-18; Committee member 2001-7; 2018-19); and Member of the Fabric Advisory Committee of Exeter Cathedral (2011-16). He is currently the president of the Moretonhampstead History Society and vice president of the Mortimer History Society. He also is involved in the preservation of national parks, and Dartmoor National Park in particular. He has twice served as a Secretary-of-State-appointed Member of Dartmoor National Park Authority, in 2003-7 (representing local parishes) and 2009-17 (representing the national interest).

He lives in Moretonhampstead, on the north-eastern edge of Dartmoor (Devon), with his wife Sophie and their three children. Hobbies include visiting historical sites and museums, studying local history, playing guitars, walking in the country and running. Further information about him is available in an autobiographical note, written in 2008, what's new?' and interviews.