Beresford, Maurice Warwick 1920–2005

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Beresford, Maurice Warwick 1920–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born February 6, 1920, in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England; died December 15, 2005, in Leeds, England. Historian, educator, and author. Beresford was a retired professor of economic history at Leeds University, where he was particularly well known for his unique studies of deserted medieval villages and their agricultural practices using landscape analysis. A graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, where he earned his B.A. in 1941 and an M.A. in 1945, he joined the Leeds faculty as a lecturer in 1948. He remained at Leeds University for the rest of his career, serving as dean from 1958 to 1960, and chair of the School of Economics Studies three times, before retiring as professor emeritus in 1985. The professor first made a name for himself in 1956 with the publication of his best-known history book, The Lost Villages of England. Collaborating with archeologist John Hurst, he studied the rural landscapes of England to spot remaining evidence of plowing and other agricultural activities. Often using aerial photography to aid in this research, Beresford was able to discover where former villages had once been located and to analyze their farming practices. He later published other books on this work, including the co-written Medieval England: An Aerial Survey (1958), New Towns of the Middle Ages: Town Plantation in England, Wales, and Gascony (1967), and the co-edited Deserted Medieval Villages: Studies (1971). Also of interest to Beresford was the history of Leeds, especially during the Industrial Age, which is the subject of his book East End, West End: The Face of Leeds during Urbanisation, 1684–1842 (1988). Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1985, Beresford was respected for his dedication to teaching, not only at his university but also in his educational work for Wakefield prison, where he strove to minimize delinquency.



Guardian (London, England), December 22, 2005, p. 32.

Independent (London, England), January 14, 2006, p. 42.

Times (London, England), January 2, 2006, p. 45; January 4, 2006, p. 53.