News banner

Dr Richard Allen elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

St Peter's Archivist, Dr Richard Allen, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Dr Allen, who is an Associate Member of the History Faculty, was elected to the Fellowship in recognition of his contribution to historical scholarship. His research concerns the ecclesiastical history of northern France in the High Middle Ages, with a particular focus on ducal Normandy (911-1204). He works primarily with charters and other such administrative records, and has published widely on topics ranging from ecclesiastical rivalry, through excommunication, the nature of episcopal power, the Cistercian abbey of Savigny, and the role of relics in the Middle Ages.

Founded in 1868, the Royal History Society has become the foremost society in the UK working with professional historians and advancing the scholarly study of the past. Its former Presidents include such influential figures as Sir Frank Stenton (1880-1960) and Dame Janet Nelson (b. 1942), as well as Gerald Aylmer (1926-2000), who was Master of St Peter's between 1978 and 1991.

Richard arrived at St Peter's in May 2015 and is responsible for managing the college's archives collections, which contain a wide range of historical records relating to the college's institutional memory, from Governing Body minutes to photographs, student files and building plans. He is also responsible for looking after the college's collection of artwork, including the Duncan Grant Collection, and its silverware.

Prior to his arrival at St Peter's, Richard was a Junior Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford, and a postdoctoral researcher at the Université de Caen-Normandie

Richard serves as a Trustee of the Oxford Historical Society.

Dr Richard Allen
News banner

Master to stand down in September 2019

The following statement has been sent by the Master to all members of St Peter's:

Earlier this term, I informed the Governing Body that I would be standing down at the end of September 2019. By then I will have been at St Peter’s for 9 years. It has been hugely enjoyable and stimulating (and entertaining too). 

I am very grateful for the decision of the Governing Body in 2010 to offer me the role. Rosie and I arrived with some trepidation, but we were immediately struck by the warmth and generous-spiritedness of colleagues and alumni. We have made many new friends, and have had the privilege of working and living in a community of gifted academics, students and staff, who together shape the college. 

We have also now met many former Fellows and alumni, ranging from 101-year-olds to those who have graduated recently, and we have been given invaluable insights into the intellectual, cultural and social history of this terrific place. And it is heart-warming that many of those alumni are grateful to St Peter’s and express that gratitude by supporting their college.

There are many outstanding people here, and I am sure St Peter’s will flourish. There is much to do. The college’s financial position is significantly better than it was, but we need to grow our endowment and pay for the development of Castle Hill House, the site we purchased last year on New Road, next to the college. But these challenges, and others, make life more interesting.

The Governing Body has embarked on a search for my successor. I know you will welcome them warmly when they arrive. In the meantime, I should say that we are still here and look forward to seeing you soon.

Mark Damazer CBE

Mark Damazer
News banner

Tom Stileman (2015) helps power Dark Blues to victory in Varsity match

St Peter's student, Tom Stileman (2015, Earth Sciences), helped OURFC power to an impressive victory over Cambridge in this year's rugby Varsity match.

Having been on the losing side last year, Stileman helped return Oxford to their winning ways with an impressive 38-16 victory over their oldest rivals.

After initially falling behind 6-0, the Dark Blues stayed true to their attacking instincts, and soon overturned the deficit with a series of tries, including a sublime finish by Stileman in the left corner.

To read the match report in full click here

OURFC Varsity
News banner

Prof Stephen Tuffnell re-examines the glitter of the gold rush

Yesterday morning, Prof Stephen Tuffnell, Fellow and Tutor of Modern US History at St Peter’s, appeared on Australian national radio to talk about his research into the global gold rushes of the 19th century.

Speaking on ABC’s Late Night Live, Prof Tuffnell talked to host, Phillip Adams, about the transformative impact (political, economic, migratory) of the gold rushes on places such as San Francisco, the complex demographics of those who sought their fortune in the Californian gold fields, and the impact that the gold rush had on indigenous populations and the local environment, the consequences of which are still being felt today.  

Stephen was joined on the show by Dr Benjamin Mountford, Senior Lecturer in History at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, with whom he has published a collection of essays, which brings together historians of the United States, Africa, Australasia, and the Pacific World to tell the rich story of the gold rushes of the 19th-century. Published by University California Press, A Global History of Gold Rushes has been praised by the Australian historian Prof Marilyn Lake as, "An outstanding collection of essays exemplifying global history at its best—dynamic, interconnected, and original".

To listen to the interview in full click here.

To read more about A Global History of Gold Rushes, or to order your own copy, visit the publisher's website.

Stephen Tuffnell
News banner

Jeremy Summerly reviews Christmas music on BBC Radio 3

Over the weekend, Jeremy Summerly, Director of Music at St Peter's, joined Andrew McGregor, host of BBC Radio 3's Record Review, to select his favourite 2018 recordings of festive music.

From traditional Christmas carols to winter songs and Renaissance polyphony, Jeremy spent an hour separating the plums from the turkeys from among the latest Christmas releases. These include recordings by the choir of St John's College, Cambridge, the Bach Collegium Japan, The Sixteen and the choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

To listen to the programme in full click here (at 1:53:41 on the clock).

Jeremy Summerly
News banner

Tim Clack launches new book on Ethiopian/Kenyan borderlands

Over the weekend, Dr Timothy Clack launched his new book, The River: Peoples and Histories of the Omo-Turkana Area, at the ‘Africa Research Day’ at the McDonald Institute, University of Cambridge. Edited with Dr Marcus Brittain (Cambridge University), the book integrates voices from anthropology, archaeology, development studies, history and politics. 

Dr Richard Leakey, the Kenyan politician, conservationist and palaeoanthropologist has called the compilation, ‘a timely and crucial landmark in the pages of African history and archaeology’.

The Omo-Turkana area is unlike any place on earth. Spanning parts of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya, the area is today home to a unique diversity of peoples and cultures. Extraordinary fossil finds from the locale have illuminated the evolutionary origins of our species and archaeological and historical evidence has demonstrated it has been a dynamic crossroads of peoples, languages and identities for millennia. 

Over the past two decades, development interventions have transformed the environment and presented a threat to local forms of material and intangible heritage. Many local groups now face challenges to the long-term sustainability of their traditional ways of life. Recognising the Omo-Turkana area as a crucial resource of global heritage, the book also highlights its current vulnerability.

Dr Clack's latest book is Open Access, meaning the full text is available for free download here.

The River: Peoples and Histories of the Omo-Turkana Area
News banner

Hubert Perrodo Building wins prestigious award

The Hubert Perrodo Building has beaten off stiff competition from around the world to become a winner in this year's World Architecture News (WAN) Awards.

Nominated in the Education category alongside projects from 14 other countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Hubert Perrodo Building was announced as a regional winner at the 2018 WAN Awards ceremony held in London on Tuesday night.

The WAN Award is the second major award won by the Hubert Perrodo Building, which earlier in the year was recognised with a RIBA South Award. The building has also been nominated as a 2019 Civic Trust Awards Regional Finalist. The WAN Awards is the world’s largest architecture awards programme, with projects nominated for prizes from around the globe.

Designed by the Winchester-based firm Design Engine Architects, the completion of the Hubert Perrodo Building marked the culmination of Phase 2 of the Perrodo Project, which was made possible by a generous donation from the Perrodo family, one of the largest in St Peter's history, and has resulted in a transformation of the college's public and teaching spaces.

The building is named in honour of the late Hubert Perrodo (1944-2006), whose sons, François and Bertrand, were both students at St Peter’s. 

Hubert Perrodo Building
Event banner

Family Garden Party at Canal House

Event date

As part of its 90th anniversary celebrations, St Peter's will be hosting a family garden party at Canal House on 25 May 2019.

Further details will be published here when available.

For any questions please email Katy Griffiths at or telephone +44 (0)1865 614984.

Family Garden Party
News banner

Jeremy Summerly on BBC Radio 3

Over the weekend, Jeremy Summerly, Director of Music at St Peter's, joined Andrew McGregor, host of BBC Radio 3's Record Review, to survey recordings of Igor Stravinsky's Mass.

Written between 1944 and 1948, Stravinsky's Mass is one of the most austere and archaic works of his neoclassical period. Stravinsky incorporated elements of his Russian Orthodox faith but chose to set the text of the Catholic Mass out of a desire to create a liturgical work – an impossibility in the Russian Orthodox tradition, which forbids the use of instruments in church.

As part of Record Review's ‘Building a Library’ segment, Jeremy works his way through all of the recordings of the Mass, before arriving at a winner.

To listen to the programme in full click here (at 28:57 on the clock).

Jeremy Summerly