The Oxford History of England
is one of the most prominent and acclaimed modern history series, written by many of the then-leading historians of each period.
The series was commissioned by Oxford University Press and edited by Sir George Clark, with the first volume (his own The Later Stuarts, 1660–1714) appearing in 1934. The original aim was to produce 14 volumes, taking the story up to 11:00 a.m. on August 4 1914, the moment when Britain declared war on Germany. In 1965 a fifteenth volume, taking the story up to 1945 was added, and in the 1980s the first volume was superseded by two separate books. Several of the other volumes have been amended and released in new editions over the years.
Many of the volumes are now considered to be key classic works for their respective periods. In recent years some of the volumes have been released as stand-alone works, and a New Oxford History of England has been commissioned.
Volumes and authors
The volumes produced are as follows:
- Volume I: Roman Britain and the English Settlements – R. G. Collingwood and J. N. L. Myres (1936)
- Volume II: Anglo-Saxon England, c550–1087 — Sir Frank Stenton (1943)
- Volume III: From Domesday Book to Magna Carta, 1087–1216 — Austin L. Poole (1951)
- Volume IV: The Thirteenth Century, 1216–1307 — Sir Maurice Powicke (1953)
- Volume V: The Fourteenth Century, 1307–1399 — May McKisack (1959)
- Volume VI: The Fifteenth Century, 1399–1485 — E. F. Jacob (1961)
- Volume VII: The Earlier Tudors, 1485–1558 — J. D. Mackie (1952)
- Volume VIII: The Reign of Elizabeth I, 1558–1603 — J. B. Black (1936)
- Volume IX: The Early Stuarts, 1603–1660 — Godfrey Davies (1937)
- Volume X: The Later Stuarts, 1660–1714 — Sir George Clark (1934)
- Volume XI: The Whig Supremacy — Basil Williams (1939)
- Volume XII: The Reign of George III, 1760–1815 — J. Steven Watson (1960)
- Volume XIII: The Age of Reform, 1815–1870 — Sir Llewellyn Woodward (1938)
- Volume XIV: England, 1870–1914 — Sir Robert Ensor (1936)
- Volume XV: English History, 1914–1945 — A.J.P. Taylor (1965)
Several volumes were subsequently revised by the authors to take into account later research.
New Oxford History of England
The volumes published or announced, as of 2008, are as follows:
- England under the Norman and Angevin Kings, 1075–1225 — Robert Bartlett (2002)
- Plantagenet England, 1225–1360 — Michael Prestwich (2005)
- Shaping the Nation: England, 1360–1461 — G. L. Harriss (2005)
- The Later Tudors: England, 1547–1603 — Penry Williams (1995)
- A Land of Liberty? England, 1689–1727 — Julian Hoppit (2002)
- A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 — Paul Langford (1992)
- A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England, 1783–1846 — Boyd Hilton (2006)
- The Mid-Victorian Generation, 1846–1886 — K. Theodore Hoppen (1998)
- A New England? Peace and War, 1886–1918 — G. R. Searle (2005)
- Seeking a Role: The United Kingdom, 1951–1970 — Brian Harrison (2009)
The use of the term 'England'
When the series was commissioned:
- 'England' was still an all-embracing word. It meant indiscriminately England and Wales; Great Britain; the United Kingdom; and even the British Empire. (A.J.P. Taylor, Volume XV: English History, 1914–1945, page v)
Since then there has been a trend in history to restrict the use of the term "England" to the state that existed pre 1707 and to the geographic area it covered and people it contained in the period thereafter. The different authors interpreted "English History" differently, with Taylor opting to write the history of the English people, including the people of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Empire and Commonwealth where they shared a history with England, but ignoring them where they did not. Other authors opted to treat non-English matters within their remit.