James Tait (historian)
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James Tait Historian

James Tait (1863-1944) was an English medieval historian. With Thomas Frederick Tout, he was the second major figure in the "Manchester School of History".[1]


He was born in Broughton, Salford, on 19 June 1863, the son of Robert Ramsay Tait, a seed merchant, and his wife Annie Case. He entered Owens College, Manchester, aged 16, and in 1883 graduated there, in history, the institution having meanwhile become part of the federal Victoria University, with other colleges in Leeds and Liverpool. He then studied at Balliol College, Oxford under Arthur Lionel Smith, and obtained a first class degree in 1887.[2] Whilst at Oxford, he was a member of the exclusive Stubbs Society.

Appointed Assistant Lecturer at Manchester in 1887, Tait became Lecturer in Ancient History in 1896. He served as Professor of Ancient and Medieval History, from 1902 to 1919.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1921.[3]

Tait was noted for his retiring, scholarly life, in Fallowfield and then in Wilmslow. He died unmarried, in Wilmslow, on 4 July 1944.[3]


Tait's major works were Mediaeval Manchester and the Beginnings of Lancashire (1904), the first volume of the history series of Manchester University Press and a standard work for the rest of the century, and The Medieval English Borough (1936).[3][4][5]

He published on local history, with contributions to the Victoria County History of Lancashire, and he also edited The Domesday Survey of Cheshire (1916).[3][3][6]

He was a Member of the Chetham Society, serving as Member of Council (1901-44) and President (1915-25).[7] He contributed several works which were published by the Society.[8][9]


  1. ^ Frederick Maurice Powicke (1946). James Tait, 1863-1944. G. Cumberlege. p. 26.
  2. ^ a b Reynolds, K. D. "Tait, James". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36406.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b c d e John Cannon; William Doyle; Jack P. Greene (8 January 1991). The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians. Wiley. p. 404. ISBN 978-0-631-14708-4.
  4. ^ C. J. Wrigley (2006). A. J. P. Taylor: Radical Historian of Europe. I.B.Tauris. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-86064-286-9.
  5. ^ Stuart Hylton (1 January 2003). A History of Manchester. Phillimore. p. x. ISBN 978-1-86077-240-5.
  6. ^ David Charles Douglas (1996). English Historical Documents, 1042-1189. Psychology Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-415-14367-7.
  7. ^ "Chetham Society: Officers and Council" (PDF). Chetham Society. 2016-08-17. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Tait, James (1945). "Centenary of the Chetham Society (1843-1943)". Chetham Miscellanies: New Series: Vol. VIII. Chetham Society, New Ser.,. 109. pp. 3-10.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  9. ^ Tait, James (1939), "The Chetham Society: A Retrospect", Chetham Miscellanies: New Series: Vol. VII, Chetham Society, New Ser., 100, pp. 1-26CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)

External resources

James Tait Papers at the John Rylands Library, Manchester

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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