About

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb MA, M.St., D.Phil. (Oxon), FRHistS is an historian, author, broadcaster, and award-winning academic.

Suzannah is Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History and Fellow of the New College of the Humanities, London, 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, on which she is currently writing, 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.

Academic Career

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 September 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 September 2011-2016, she was Head of the Faculty of History at New College of the Humanities (NCH), 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). After five years, Suzannah decided to step down from the headship in 2016 in order to concentrate on her research and teaching. Her teaching comprises lectures and tutorials on British history 1450-1689, European history 1500-1800, and public history; she designed, teaches, and examines 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.

Broadcasting

Suzannah’s most recent documentary was Hidden Killers of the Post-War Home, which she wrote and presented, and which aired on BBC 4 on 25 May 2016. 

Her three-part new series on Elizabeth I with Dan Jones has just been announced by Channel 5, and will air in 2017.

Other TV work includes: 

Henry VIII and His Six Wives, a four-part series that she co-wrote and co-presented with Dan Jones, which aired on Channel 5 in April and May 2016.

Witch Hunt: A Century of Murder, a two-part series that she wrote and presented, which aired on Channel 5 on 13 and 20 October 2015.

Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home, which she wrote and presented, and which aired on BBC 4 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 BBC2.

Henry and Anne: The Lovers Who Changed History was a two-part series for Channel 5 (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)

New Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home and Hidden Killers of the Edwardian Home, a two-part series for BBC4 which Suzannah wrote and presented, aired in December 2013.

The first Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home, which she wrote and presented, and which aired on BBC4, in April 2013.

Bloody Tales of Europe and Bloody Tales of the Towerco-presented with Joe Crowley, which aired on National Geographic Channel in 2013 and 2014.

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 The One Show (BBC 1), BBC Breakfast (BBC1), Newsnight (BBC2), The Great British Weather Show (BBC 1), 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. Details of all these and more can be found under the TV & Radio tab.

Her most recent radio work was reviewing the papers on Broadcasting House on 29 May 2016, talking about historical anniversaries on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 6 January 2016, and Free Thinking on Radio 3 on 27 October 2015 when the panel considered the season of the witch, following on from Witch Hunt on Five. Other radio broadcasts include 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.

Writing

Suzannah’s latest book, The King is Dead: The Last Will and Testament of Henry VIII, was published by Head of Zeus on 5 November 2015. It will be published in the US by Pegasus in December 2016.

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.

She is currently writing a book about the lives of women in sixteenth-century France: The Voices of Nîmes: Women, Sex and Marriage in Early Modern Languedoc, to be 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.

This will be followed by Six Queens: The Wives of Henry VIII, to be published by Head of Zeus in 2018.

Journalism

Suzannah's articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Daily TelegraphThe Sunday Telegraph and BBC History Magazine. She writes a regular bimonthly column for History Today