Ian Mortimer


About Ian Mortimer

Dr Ian Mortimer was born in Petts Wood in the London Borough of Bromley in 1967, and now lives on the edge of Dartmoor, in Devon. He is the author of twelve history books, two volumes of historical documents, four novels, three other books, and numerous articles on the history of England between the tenth and twentieth centuries. In total, his books have sold more than a million copies and been translated into fifteen languages. 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 four Time Traveller's Guides - to Medieval England (2008), Elizabethan England (2012), Restoration Britain (2017) and Regency Britain (2020).

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, with two doctorates from the University of Exeter, he is a qualified archivist with an MA in archive studies from UCL. 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, a CD of some of his songs and a memoir about the meaning of running, entitled Why Running Matters.

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; 2015-19); 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.