Christopher de Hamel delivers a public lecture on "The Library of Saint Thomas Becket" at Burlington House, Society of Antiquaries of London, 6 June 2017

Christopher Francis Rivers de Hamel FSA FRHistS (born 20 November 1950) is a British academic librarian and expert on mediaeval manuscripts. He is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and former Fellow Librarian of the Parker Library. His book Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts is the winner of the Duff Cooper Prize for 2016 and the Wolfson History Prize for 2017.

Early life and education

Christopher de Hamel was born on 20 November 1950 in London, England.[1] At the age of four he moved with his parents to New Zealand, where he was educated at King's High School, Dunedin, and graduated with an honours degree in history from the University of Otago.[2][3]

He was subsequently awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) degree by Oxford University[4] for his research on 12th-century Bible commentaries.[5] His thesis was titled "The production and circulation of glossed books of the Bible in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries".[6] He has been awarded honorary Doctorates of Letters from the University of Otago[3] and from St. John’s University, Minnesota.


Between 1975 and 2000 de Hamel worked for Sotheby’s in its Western Manuscripts Department.[7] He was elected as the Donnelley Fellow Librarian of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 2000,[3] and elected a member of the Roxburghe Club the following year.[8] De Hamel delivered the 2009 Lyell Lectures at Oxford University on the subject of "Fragments in Book Bindings".[9] In 2017, his then-newly-published Meetings with Remarkable Manuscripts was shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year 2016, and won both the £40,000 Wolfson History Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize.[10]

De Hamel has formed a collection of manuscripts, the Christopher de Hamel Collection, located in Cambridge, England.

Published works

De Hamel has written a number of historical works within his field of expertise:[11]


  1. ^ "de Hamel, Christopher (Frances Rivers) 1950-". 2009. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Wall of Fame | KHS Old Boys Association". Archived from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Heffer, Simon (2010). "Christopher de Hamel, Donnelley Fellow Librarian" (PDF). Pelican: The Magazine of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 19: 8–11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Fellows: Christopher De Hamel". Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  5. ^ Rocco, Fiametta (August 2016). "The Power of the Book". The Economist. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  6. ^ De Hamel, Christopher (1978). "The production and circulation of glossed books of the Bible in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries". E-Thesis Online Service. The British Library Board. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Dr. Christopher de Hamel Becomes Senior Vice-President at Les Enluminures" (PDF). Les Enluminures. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 December 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Membership since 1812". Roxburghe Club. 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  9. ^ "The Lyell and McKenzie Lectures". Centre for the Study of the Book, Bodleian Libraries. 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  10. ^ Campbell, Lisa (16 May 2017). "De Hamel wins £40k Wolfson History Prize". The Bookseller. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  11. ^ "Christopher de Hamel". United Agents. 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  12. ^ de Hamel, Christopher; Lovett, Patricia (2010). The Macclesfield Alphabet Book : a facsimile. London: British Library. ISBN 978-0712358040. OCLC 718447292.