Ian Mortimer (historian)

Ian Mortimer
Born (1967-09-22) 22 September 1967
Petts Wood, England
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Exeter, University College London
Period 1995-present
Genre history, historiography, historical fiction
Spouse Sophie Mortimer
Children 3

Ian James Forrester Mortimer FSA FRHistS (born 22 September 1967) is a British historian and writer of historical fiction. He is best known for his book The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, which became a Sunday Times bestseller in paperback in 2010.


Mortimer was born in Petts Wood, and was educated at Eastbourne College, the University of Exeter (BA, PhD, DLitt) and University College London (MA). Between 1993 and 2003 he worked for several major research institutions, including the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, the University of Exeter and University of Reading.

Mortimer has written a sequence of biographies of medieval political leaders: first Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, then Edward III, and Henry IV, in addition to 1415, a year in the life of Henry V.

Mortimer's best known book, however, is The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, first published in the UK in 2008. He is also well known for pioneering the argument (based on evidence such as the Fieschi Letter) that Edward II did not die in Berkeley Castle in 1327 in his first two books and an article in the English Historical Review.[1]

Mortimer has also carried out research into the social history of early modern medicine. His essay "The Triumph of the Doctors" was awarded the 2004 Alexander Prize by the Royal Historical Society. In this essay he demonstrated that ill and injured people close to death shifted their hopes of physical salvation from an exclusively religious source of healing power (God, or Christ) to a predominantly human one (physicians and surgeons) over the period 1615–70, and argued that this shift of outlook was among the most profound changes western society has ever experienced.

In 2011, Mortimer entered the genre of historical fiction, publishing the first book from his Elizabethan era Clarenceux Trilogy using the pen name of James Forrester. James Forrester are Mortimer's middle names.[2][3]

Personal life

Mortimer is the nephew of the British tennis player Angela Mortimer. He lives in Moretonhampstead, in Devon, England.


Mortimer is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS). On 12 February 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA).[4]

Historical works (selected)

James Forrester Historical Fiction


  1. For a synopsis, see: Ian Mortimer: A Note on the Deaths of Edward II.
  2. Craney, Glen (6 August 2010). "Lies, Damn Lies, and Historical Fiction". History Into Fiction. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  3. "James Forrester". Amazon.com. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  4. "12 Feb Ballot Results". News. Society of Antiquaries of London. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.


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