Henry Mayr-Harting

Henry Maria Robert Egmont Mayr-Harting (born 6 April 1936) is a British medieval ecclesiastical historian. He was Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford and Lay Canon of Christ Church, Oxford, from 1997 until 2003.

Early life and education

Mayr-Harting was born on 6 April 1936 in Prague to a Viennese couple, Herbert Mayr-Harting and Anna Mayr-Harting, née Münzer, who had a distinguished career as a bacteriologist in Bristol, England.

He was educated at Douai School and Merton College, Oxford (BA 1957, MA 1961, DPhil 1961, DD 2004).[1]


Mayr-Harting was Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Liverpool 1960–68. He then returned to Oxford to become Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at St Peter's College from 1968 until 1997, when he was appointed Fellow Emeritus. From 1976 until 1997 he was also Lecturer in Medieval History at Merton College. He was Slade Professor of Fine Art for the academic year 1987–88 and in 1993 he was named University Reader in Medieval History. In 1997 he became the first Roman Catholic and the first layperson to be appointed Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford and consequently he became the first Lay Canon of Christ Church Cathedral. He retired from these positions in 2003.

He was elected Visiting Fellow of Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1983 and Brown Foundation Fellow at Sewanee: The University of the South in 1992. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in the same year and he is a Corresponding Member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2003 he took part in the Spring Lecture Series, Barbarian Europe: The Creation of a Civilization, at the Institute for Medieval Studies, University of New Mexico. Hon. D.Litt, University of East Anglia, 2009.

Personal life

In 1968 Mayr-Harting married Caroline Mary Humphries. Together they have a son, Felix (born 1969), and a daughter, Ursula (born 1972). Mayr-Harting's daughter, now called Ursula Weekes, is an art historian and has written several books, including Techniques of Drawing (exh. cat., Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1996), Early Netherlandish Engraving circa 1440–1540 (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1997), Techniques of Drawing: from the 15th to the 19th Centuries (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 1999), and Early Engravers and their Public: the Master of the Berlin Passion and Manuscripts from Convents in the Rhine-Maas Region (London: Harvey Miller, 2004).

Selected publications


  1. Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900-1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 458.

Sources and Further Information

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