Former colleagues and pupils will be distressed to learn that Susan Wood died on 30 December 2022, aged 97. Her funeral will take place at St Mary Magdalene, Eardisley, Herefordshire, on Monday 16 January, at Noon. (Anyone wishing to attend is asked to contact Susan’s daughter, Lucy: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Susan read History at Somerville, under the influential tutelage of May McKisack. Her research was supervised by Sir Maurice Powicke.
She was appointed to a Lecturership at St Hugh’s in 1949, having previously been an Assistant Lecturer in Medieval History at the University, Nottingham. St Hugh’s elevated her to a Tutorship in 1952, and elected her a Fellow in 1953. She was therefore a Fellow for 69 years, a St Hugh’s record which seems unlikely ever to be broken. The College marked the 65th anniversary of her election with a grand dinner in Hall.
She published two books: English Monasteries and their Patrons in the Thirteenth Century (1955), and The Proprietary Church in the Medieval West (2006). The latter was a thousand-page magnum opus, deemed to merit not just a review but a review article in the English Historical Review. The book is testimony not only to her breadth and virtuosity as an historian, but also to her courage and determination in completing a project twenty years into retirement.
But these and other publications will take second place for colleagues and pupils to their memories of a quietly formidable person whose integrity inspired great affection.
The College flag is flying at half-mast. An announcement will be made in due course about a memorial service.