Maddicott, J.R. (John Robert Maddicott)
Maddicott, J.R. (John Robert Maddicott)
Born in Exeter, Devon, England; married; children: two. Education: Worcester College, Oxford, Ph.D., 1964. Hobbies and other interests: Hill walking.
Manchester University, Manchester, England, lecturer; Exeter College, Oxford University, Oxford, England, became tutor in history, 1969-2006.
British Academy (fellow), Royal Historical Society (fellow), Society of Antiquaries of London (fellow).
The English Peasantry and the Demands of the Crown, 1294-1391, Past and Present Society (Oxford, England), 1975.
Law and Lordship: Royal Justices as Retainers in Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century England, Past and Present Society (Oxford, England), 1978.
(Editor, with D.M. Palliser) The Medieval State: Essays Presented to James Campbell, Hambledon Press (Rio Grande, OH), 2000.
Contributor to professional journals and anthologies. Editor, English Historical Review.
J.R. Maddicott is an historian who has published widely on the political and social history of thirteenth-and fourteenth-century England and on Anglo-Saxon history. A former don at Oxford's Exeter College, Maddicott is also the author of the biography Simon de Montfort, which details the life and work of this famous "rebel against royalty," as English Historical Review critic Robert C. Stacey characterized the man. Stacey continued: "Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, has dominated the historiographical landscape of thirteenth-century England to a degree unparalleled by any other magnate in any other century." Though part of the northern French nobility, Montfort came to England to claim the earldom of Leicester and stayed on, marrying King Henry III's sister and proving an able diplomat for the king. He maintained strong ties to the French king, as well. Ultimately, he and King Henry had a falling out over numerous private matters, some having to do with finances. Montfort became a leader of a revolt against royal power and an ardent advocate of parliamentary government. Additionally, Montfort had a deep religious conversion later in life, which informed much of his thought and action. Stacey observed: "Maddicott portrays Montfort as a man of fastidious conscience, deeply influenced by the confessional teachings and devotional practices of the Franciscan friars." The same reviewer called Maddicott's biography of de Montfort "splendid."
Other reviewers, too, had positive reactions to the biography. Writing in History Today, Nigel Saul asserted that in Simon de Montfort it "is J.R. Maddicott's achievement to highlight for the first time the complexities of de Montfort's character." Saul further observed: "The skill with which the conflicting aspects of de Montfort's character are highlighted in Maddicott's book enables us to obtain a more rounded and convincing impression of the man than we have had in the past." Even higher praise came from Journal of Ecclesiastical History contributor D.A. Carpenter, who felt that Maddicott's biography placed earlier works on Montfort "in the shade." Carpenter commended both content and style in the biography, writing that the historian's "book is written in clear, compelling English. The individual sentences are finely crafted. There are flashes of humour and even, for example in the final moving sentences, of poetry. This is the medium for a complete reinterpretation of Montfort's career and the first study to be firmly based on all the available sources."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
English Historical Review, September, 1995, Robert C. Stacey, review of Simon de Montfort, p. 940; November, 2000, Jean Dunbabin, review of The Medieval State: Essays Presented to James Campbell, p. 1261.
History Today, August, 1995, Nigel Saul, review of Simon de Montfort, p. 60.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April, 1996, D.A. Carpenter, review of Simon de Montfort, p. 365.
Exeter College Web site,http://www.exeter.ox.ac.uk/ (March 12, 2007), brief biography of J.R. Maddicott.