Dr Suzannah Lipscomb MA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon), F.R.Hist.S. is an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning academic.
Suzannah is a Reader in Early Modern History at the University of Roehampton, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
Her research focuses on the sixteenth century, both on English and French history. She works on Henry VIII and the early Tudor court, and is especially interested in the intersection of religious, gender, political, social, and psychological history. This has led her to write about Henry VIII’s annus horribilis, 1536; Anne Boleyn’s fall; and the creation of Henry VIII’s last will and testament. She is also interested in religion, gender, and sexuality in sixteenth-century France, which is the subject of her next major book, and has additionally published on heritage and public history, writing a regular column for History Today that explores the role of history outside the academy.
Suzannah was educated at Epsom College (where she is now a Governor) and Lincoln College, Oxford. After taking a double first in Modern History and a distinction in her Masters in Historical Research, she won the Jowett Senior Scholarship at Balliol College, Oxford, to read her D.Phil. in history, which she was awarded in 2009.
In 2006-7, Suzannah was a Royal Historical Society Marshall Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research. From 2007 to 2010, Suzannah was Research Curator at Hampton Court Palace (Historic Royal Palaces), and was one of the lead curators responsible for creating a new visitor experience in the Tudor Palace to mark the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII’s accession to the throne in 2009. Her post was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. For her achievements during this time, Suzannah won the AHRC 2011 ‘Humanities in the Creative Economy’ Award.
In 2009, Suzannah also organised a series of high profile events, including ‘The Henry VIII Talks at Hampton Court Palace’ in association with History Today, and a major three-day international academic conference on Henry VIII and the Tudor Court. Suzannah was subsequently a consultant to Historic Royal Palaces and an External Advisory Member on their Research Strategy Board.
In 2010, Suzannah was appointed Lecturer in Early Modern History at the University of East Anglia. In 2011, she was awarded a public engagement grant (People Award) from the Wellcome Trust to fund ‘All the King’s Fools’, a performance project in which actors with learning disabilities played the Tudor period’s ‘natural fools’ at Hampton Court Palace, which won a 2012 Museums + Heritage Award for Excellence.
From 2011-August 2017, she was Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History and Fellow of the New College of the Humanities, London (NCH) and, additionally, Head of the Faculty of History from 2011-2016, and a member of the Academic Board, responsible for the academic governance of NCH. As one of the first two academics at NCH, she established and recruited the founding history faculty, developed College policies and procedures, and was responsible for overseeing the design and validation of the NCH BA in History with a minor subject, and NCH MA in Historical Research and Public History. In her last year of managing the Faculty, more than 50% of graduating students obtained a First Class degree (externally marked). Her teaching comprised lectures and tutorials on British history 1450-1689, European history 1500-1800, and public history; she designed, taught, and examined BA and MA modules on Sixteenth-Century England, Public History, Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Early Modern World, Britain and the Wider World, and History, Heritage, and Memory (the latter two co-designed, and team-taught and examined).
In 2012, she was awarded the Nancy Roelker Prize by the Sixteenth Century Society for her journal article, ‘Crossing Boundaries: Women’s Gossip, Insults and Violence in Sixteenth-Century France’ in French History (Vol 25, No. 4), and was made a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
In September 2017, she joined the University of Roehampton, as a Reader in Early Modern History.
Suzannah’s most recent documentary was a three-part new series on The Great Fire of London with Dan Jones and Rob Bell in May and June 2017. The programme took a fresh look at the Great Fire of London as we walked the actual route the fire took across London, hour-by-hour, street-by-street and in the process uncover what really happened in Britain’s worst inferno.
Other TV work includes:
Elizabeth I - Written and presented by Suzannah and Dan Jones in May 2017 on Channel Five, the programme starred Lily Cole as Elizabeth I (one of five Elizabeths, portraying the queen at different ages).
Hidden Killers of the Post-War Home, Suzannah wrote and presented, this and it aired on BBC Four in May 2016.
Insert Name Here - Suzannah appeared on both series of this comedy panel show on BBC Two, in 2016 and 2017.
Henry VIII and His Six Wives, a four-part series that she co-wrote and co-presented with Dan Jones, which aired on Channel Five in April and May 2016.
Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder, a two-part series that she wrote and presented, which aired on Channel Five on 13 and 20 October 2015.
Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home, which she wrote and presented, and which aired on BBC Four on 20 January 2015 as part of the Wolf Hall season. Also, as part of the Wolf Hall season, The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (in which Suzannah was interviewed) was repeated on BBC Two.
Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History was a two-part series for Channel Five(which aired in February-March 2014) that Suzannah wrote and presented.
I Never Knew that About Britain was an eight-part series for ITV that Suzannah co-presented with Paul Martin and Steve Mould (which aired March-April 2014 and was repeated in January-February 2015)
The first Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home, which she wrote and presented, and which aired on BBC Four, in April 2013.
Her list of credits also includes presenting on The Book Show (Sky Arts), Secret Life Of… (Yesterday, UK and History, Canada) and Inside the World of Henry VIII (History, UK), and appearances on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip (BBC Two), The One Show (BBC One), BBC Breakfast (BBC One), Newsnight (BBC Two), The Great British Weather Show (BBC One), The Last Days of Anne Boleyn (BBC 2), GMTV (ITV), Sky News, Museum Secrets (Yesterday, UK and History, Canada), BBC News, ITV London etc. She regularly appeared on Time Team’s Season 20, (2013, Channel 4). As a royal historian, she commentated live from a studio at Buckingham Palace on the Royal Wedding for CTV, and on the birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge for BBC News, BBC World, NBS, Sky News, LBC and BBC Radio 5 Live.
Her most recent radio work was talking about the value of apologies for historic wrongs on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 17 January 2017, and her choice for BBC Radio 4's Great Lives, C.S. Lewis, with Matthew Parris and Malcolm Guite, which aired on 3 January 2017. Other radio broadcasts include further appearances on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Free Thinking on Radio 3 in October 2015, presenting BBC Radio 3′s The Essay, presenter’s friend on BBC Radio 5 Live and LBC, and appearances on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Front Row, Making History and the Six O’Clock News, BBC Radio 5 Live, LBC, NPR and many local radio stations.
Suzannah’s latest book, The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII, was published in the UK by Head of Zeus in November 2015, and in the US by Pegasus in December 2016. The paperback will be published in May 2018.
Her previous books are A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England, which was published by Ebury in March 2012 (and in the US, by Pegasus, as A Journey Through Tudor England), and came out in paperback in 2015, and 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII (Lion Hudson, 2009; reprinted 2012). Suzannah is also the co-editor of a collection of essays, Henry VIII and the Court: Art, Politics and Performance, with Thomas Betteridge (Ashgate, 2013) and the co-author of Henry VIII: 500 Facts (Historic Royal Palaces, 2009). In addition, she contributed the introduction to Richard Rex's The Tudors: An Illustrated History.
Her next major book is on the lives of women in sixteenth-century France: The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex and Marriage in Reformation Languedoc, published by Oxford University Press. It was her journal article on this material, ‘Crossing Boundaries: Women’s Gossip, Insults and Violence in Sixteenth-Century France’ in French History (Vol 25, No. 4), that was awarded a US prize for historical scholarship – the Nancy Lyman Roelker Prize – by the Sixteenth Century Society in 2012. You can hopefully expect to see the book out in 2019.
Before that, she has a little book due out on 4 October 2018 - a Penguin Ladybird Expert Book on Witchcraft.
She is now writing Six Queens: The Wives of Henry VIII, to be published by Head of Zeus in 2019/2020.
Suzannah's articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, Times Literary Supplement, BBC History Magazine, History Today and Wellcome History. She writes a regular bimonthly column for History Today.
Suzannah is an accomplished public speaker, and has given many keynote and invited public lectures all over the world, from the USA to Singapore. She also speaks regularly at literary festivals, and at universities and schools.
In 2016, she founded History Masterclass with Dr Sam Willis to create intimate, interactive opportunities for the public to learn about history from leading historians.