Sir James Clarke Holt 1922-2014

The College is saddened to record the death of Sir James Holt (1922-2014), Honorary Fellow.

A Yorkshireman by birth (and a lifelong cricket fan), Jim Holt came to Merton as Harmsworth Senior Scholar in 1947, after war service in the Royal Artillery and an undergraduate degree at Queen's. In his subsequent career he was Professor and Head of the History Department at both Nottingham and Reading, before moving to Cambridge, where he was Professor of Medieval History (1978-1988) and Master of Fitzwilliam College (1981-1988). Renowned for his leadership and administrative flair, he was also President of the Royal Historical Society and Vice-President of the British Academy.

Holt was one of the foremost historians of medieval England, which he always sought to place in its wider European context. His first book, based on his Merton DPhil, was The Northerners: A Study in the Reign of King John (1961), which examined the northern barons' opposition to John. His other best-known works were Robin Hood (1982), and Magna Carta (1965), which is due to be reissued for the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter next year.

(With thanks to Dr Matthew Grimley)