Dame Janet Nelson

Janet Laughland Muir

(1942-03-28) 28 March 1942 (age 80)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Other namesJinty Nelson
Howard Nelson
(m. 1965)
Academic background
Alma materNewnham College, Cambridge
ThesisRituals of Royal Inauguration in Early Medieval Europe (1967)
Doctoral advisorWalter Ullmann
Academic work
Sub-disciplineMedieval history
InstitutionsKing's College, London
Main interestsMedieval kingship

Dame Janet Laughland Nelson DBE FRHistS FBA (born 1942), also known as Jinty Nelson, is a British historian. She is Emerita Professor of Medieval History at King's College London.

Early life

Born on 28 March 1942[2] in Blackpool,[citation needed] Nelson was educated at Keswick School, Cumbria, and at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she received her BA degree in 1964 and her PhD degree in 1967.[3]


She was appointed a lecturer at King's College, London, in 1970, promoted to Reader in 1987, to Professor in 1993, and Director of the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies in 1994, retiring in 2007. She was President of the Ecclesiastical History Society (1993–94)[4] and was a Vice-President of the British Academy (2000–01). In 2013 she gave the British Academy's Raleigh Lecture on History.[5] She was the first female President of the Royal Historical Society (2000–04).[6] The Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching & Supervision in History was established by the Royal Historical Society in January 2018.[6]

Her research to date has been focused on early medieval Europe, including Anglo-Saxon England. She has published widely on kingship, government, political ideas, religion and ritual, and increasingly on women and gender during this period. From 2000 to 2010 she co-directed, with Simon Keynes (of Cambridge University), the AHRC-funded project Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England.[7] Her book King and Emperor, a biography of Charlemagne, was published in 2019.[8]


Nelson was appointed a DBE in 2006 and holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of East Anglia (2004),[9] St Andrews (2007),[10] Queen's University Belfast (2009),[11] York (2010),[12] Liverpool (2010)[13] and Nottingham (2010).[14]


Nelson has also appeared on BBC television and radio, notably as an expert on the Anglo-Saxon Kings in Michael Wood's 2013 series on the subject.[17]


  1. ^ Fouracre, Paul; Ganz, David, eds. (3 January 2020). "Introduction: Dame Jinty Nelson . . . An Appreciation". Frankland: The Franks and the world of the early middle ages. Manchester University Press. pp. 1–6. ISBN 978-1-5261-4825-4.
  2. ^ "Birthdays", The Guardian, p. 43, 28 March 2014
  3. ^ NELSON, Dame Janet Laughland, (Dame Jinty Nelson), Who's Who 2009, A & C Black, 2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2008 Profile, ukwhoswho.com; accessed 3 September 2009.
  4. ^ "Past Presidents of the EHS | Ecclesiastical History Society". history.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Raleigh Lectures on History". The British Academy. text video
  6. ^ a b "Jinty Nelson Award for Inspirational Teaching & Supervision in History - RHS". RHS. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England: Team". pase.ac.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  8. ^ "King and Emperor". penguin.co.uk. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Honorary Graduates of the University". 14 August 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Honorary degrees (21 June 2007)". University of St Andrews news. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  11. ^ "07-2009 Press Releases | News". Queen's University Belfast. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. ^ "University of York honours 11 for their contributions to society - News and events". The University of York. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  13. ^ "World leading scientists among 2010 honours - News". University of Liverpool. 16 July 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Graduation celebrations for the class of 2010". The University of Nottingham. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  15. ^ Nelson, Janet L. (2019). King and Emperor: A New Life of Charlemagne. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520314207 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Harkins, Franklin T. (2019). "Review of Reading the Bible in the Middle Ages ed. by Jinty Nelson and Damien Kempf". The Catholic Historical Review. 105 (3): 573–575. doi:10.1353/cat.2019.0109. ISSN 1534-0708.
  17. ^ BBC Four – King Alfred and the Anglo Saxons. Accessed 21 August 2013.
Professional and academic associations Preceded byDavid Loades President of the Ecclesiastical History Society 1993–1994 Succeeded byDavid M. Thompson Preceded byP. J. Marshall President of the Royal Historical Society 2001–2005 Succeeded byMartin Daunton