Barry Coward, one of the leading historians of 17th-century Britain and a long-standing supporter of BBC History Magazine, has died. He was 70, and had been suffering from ill health for several years.


Professor Coward taught for some 40 years at Birkbeck College, during which time the London University institution became one of the country’s leading centres of historical research. An enthusiastic advocate of bringing high-quality history to a wider audience, he was president of the Historical Association from 2005 to 2008, and a member of BBC History Magazine’s advisory panel since our launch in May 2000, regularly offering expert advice and contributions.

Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, Barry Coward studied at Sheffield University before beginning his teaching career. His early research included a study of the Stanley family, earls of Derby, and he went on to produce a series of books that have become standards in their field, including The Stuart Age and several studies of Oliver Cromwell. He was also president of the Cromwell Association.

Professor Anne Curry, president of the Historical Association, said: “Barry was a highly distinguished historian who contributed hugely to our knowledge of the English Civil War. He was also a great communicator of his scholarship to the wider community. We all feel privileged to have known him.”


Greg Neale, Founding Editor, BBC History Magazine