Michael T. Clanchy, a historian and author of ground-breaking books about the Middle Ages, has passed away at the age of 84.
Clanchy was well-known, and widely praised, for his book From Memory to Written Record: England 1066–1307, first published in 1979, which one historian called ” the most important study on records-keeping I have ever read.” The book examines how medieval England shifted from a non-literate to a literate society. Clanchy also wrote England and its Rulers, 1066–1272: Foreign Lordship and National Identity, a widely used textbook, and other works such as Abelard: A Medieval Life and Looking Back from the Invention of Printing: Mothers and the Teaching of Reading in the Middle Ages.
After serving as a professor at the University of Glasgow for more than twenty years, Clanchy would go on to teach at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. He was also a Fellow at the British Academy.
A beautiful tribute to Michael Clanchy was posted on Twitter by his daughter Kate Clanchy:
This is thread for my father, Michael Clanchy, who has died aged 84. pic.twitter.com/d7Jk6HDl7q
— Kate Clanchy (@KateClanchy1) January 30, 2021
Many others also posted heartfelt messages about the historian:
Here's to Michael Clanchy, whose From Memory to Written Record is profoundly, and admirably political in its commitments. An inspiration. pic.twitter.com/JvR81ktnWA
— 𝕊onja Drimmer (@Sonja_Drimmer) January 30, 2021
The very first thing I read at university, on my first ever trip to the library, was the opening chapter of Michael Clanchy's England and its Rulers. I still read it today. A great scholar, a wonderful writer and a lovely chap. He will be much missed. https://t.co/valGugMkz4
— Marc Morris (@Longshanks1307) January 30, 2021
Reading works of great historians such as Michael Clanchy who, I’m sad to say, has died. His “England & Its Rulers” was the 1st history book I owned & “From Memory to Written Record” hugely influenced my approach to history. More importantly, he was kind.https://t.co/MXylwzkQs4
— Kenneth F. Duggan (@KFDuggan) January 30, 2021