Ralph Henry Carless Davis

Ralph Henry Carless Davis

Historian of the European Middle Ages
Born 7 AD

Ralph Henry Carless Davis, always known publicly as R. H. C. Davis, was a British historian specialising in the European Middle Ages. He was a leading exponent of strict documentary analysis and interpretation, was keenly interested in architecture and art in history, and was successful at communicating to the public and as a teacher.… Read More

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1918 Birth Ralph (to rhyme with 'safe') Davis was born on 7 October 1918 at 11 Fyfield Road, Oxford. … Read More
1925 7 Years Old His father, who was Regius Professor of Modern History (Oxford) and from 1925 a fellow of the British Academy, died in 1928 when Davis was not yet 10 years old. … Read More


1932 14 Years Old He was there from 1932 to 1937, and became involved in mediaeval architecture. … Read More
1937 19 Years Old Davis entered Balliol College, Oxford in 1937, preceded by both his brothers. … Read More


1938 20 Years Old Also in this period he became interested in masons' marks and visited many Berkshire and Oxfordshire churches; this led to a paper in the Oxfordshire Archaeological Society's journal for 1938, and culminated in 1954 in the publication of his catalogue of masons' marks (see list of works below). … Read More
1939 21 Years Old In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, as a conscientious objector, Davis refused military service. … Read More
1940 22 Years Old Davis served in London in the 'Blitz' winter of 1940–1941.
1941 23 Years Old He was sent in March 1941 to Egypt via the Cape of Good Hope to reinforce the FAU detachment in Greece, but this had been captured by the Nazis before he could join, so his unit was sent to Syria to work at the Hadfield-Spears Mobile Hospital, an Anglo-French entity attached to the Free French Forces. … Read More
1944 26 Years Old By 1944, his FAU unit had reached France, and he participated in the liberation of that country. … Read More
1945 27 Years Old Davis re-entered Balliol College in 1945 and achieved a first class degree in Modern History, followed in 1947 by the MA allowed him by his seniority and war service. … Read More
1947 29 Years Old From 1947 to 1948 Davis was an assistant history master at Christ's Hospital, Horsham, as a junior colleague of David Roberts. … Read More


1948 - 1954 3 More Events
1955 37 Years Old In 1955, a paper of his advocating the Anglo-Saxon origin of soke and sokemen appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (3rd series, 5). … Read More
1956 38 Years Old In 1956 Merton College, Oxford elected Davis a fellow and tutor in modern history, with the support of Vivian Galbraith, and he held that post for 14 years.
1957 39 Years Old His A History of Medieval Europe: From Constantine to Saint Louis (see list of works below), which he had started while still at UCL, came out in 1957. … Read More


1966 48 Years Old …  He was Sub-warden 1966–1968. … Read More


1968 50 Years Old Davis was an active member of the Historical Association from his early days at UCL. He edited History magazine for the Association from 1968 to 1978, and he was its president from 1979 to 1982. … Read More
1970 52 Years Old In 1970 Davis became Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of Birmingham (UK), heading the History Department there in succession to H. A. Cronne. … Read More
1975 57 Years Old He was much more active in the British Academy, being elected in 1975 and serving on the council from 1979 to 1982, and as chairman of Section 2 from 1986 to 1989. … Read More


1984 66 Years Old Davis retired in 1984 and moved to North Oxford. … Read More
1985 67 Years Old Through his wife Eleanor, he had come to know much about Ireland and especially Northern Ireland. She came from the Protestant plantation community of Ulster, originating largely in south-western Scotland. Presumably because of this knowledge, Davis was in 1985 induced by Sir David Wills into a project in historical education, to be financed by the Wills Trust, to encourage better understanding between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and presumably between Catholics and Protestants in the North. … Read More
1989 71 Years Old Davis also published a work on warhorses in 1989, having worked on the project since before his retirement. … Read More
1991 73 Years Old 1 More Event
Davis was taken seriously ill in early March 1991 as he was about to set off for Dorset to fulfil a speaking engagement. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Henry_Carless_Davis.
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