Letters and papers of Professor John Le Patourel

Scope and Content

This substantial archive, containing over 13,000 separate items, is made up of the following broad categories:

  • (1) Personalia, principally comprising extensive correspondence
  • (2) Material relating to the Channel Islands
  • (3) Material relating to the University of Leeds
  • (4) John Le Patourel's research and publications
  • (5) Le Patourel's lectures and course programmes
  • (6) His reviews of publications by others
  • (7) and (8) Material relating to his connection with societies and institutions external to Leeds University (section 8 relating to bodies in Yorkshire and Leeds)
  • (9) Miscellaneous newspaper cuttings
  • (10) Miscellaneous photographs, postcards etc.
  • (11) Papers relating to individual students and scholars
  • (12) Theses for which Le Patourel acted as supervisor or examiner.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Herbert Le Patourel was born in Guernsey on 29 July 1909. His father was a lawyer and became Attorney-General for Guernsey, whilst his mother was the daughter of a Devon farmer. He was educated in Guernsey at Elizabeth College, whence he went to Jesus College Oxford in 1928 as King Charles Scholar. After gaining first class honours in Modern History in 1931, he continued at Jesus College as the Goldsmith's Company Senior Student until 1933, when he was appointed to an Assistant Lectureship at University College London. He became a Lecturer there in 1936. In 1937 he published the results of his doctoral research at Oxford, The Medieval administration of the Channel Islands, 1199-1309. In 1938 he married Jean Bird. During the Second World War he lectured in history at University College, Leicester, at Bangor, and then back in London. In 1943 he was made Reader and in 1945 succeeded David Douglas as Professor of Medieval History in the University of Leeds. He remained there until his retirement in 1970. He continued in research and publication until his death on 22 July 1981. His magnum opus was The Norman Empire, published in 1976. Whilst at Leeds he took a great interest in the development of the Brotherton Library's Modern History collections and served on the Library Committee in various capacities from 1946 onwards. He was also involved in local history circles, and was President of the Thoresby Society 1949-55, of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society 1965-9, and of the Leeds Philosophical Society 1966-8. In 1966 he founded the journal Northern History, of which volume 10, published in 1975, was a Festschrift in his honour

Access Information

Access is unrestricted


Mainly in English, but with some French

Other Finding Aids

Handlist of contents in preparation


For a fuller obituary see that by Professor J.C. Holt published in The Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol.71 (1985), pp.[583]-596