William Stubbs 1866-1844

William Stubbs took up the Regius chair in 1866, at a time when Modern History was joined to Jurisprudence in a combined degree, which aimed to prepare men for government and public service. This fact was reflected in Stubbs’ publications, notably Select Charters and Other Illustrations of English Constitutional History from the Earliest Times to the Reign of Edward I (1870), and The Constitutional History of England in its Origins and Development (1873). The Select Charters became the standard teaching text for Modern History upon its separation from Jurisprudence in 1872, and remained so into the mid-twentieth century.  Stubbs was also a clergyman, becoming Bishop of Oxford and then of Chester.

He saw the study of English constitutional history as ‘the examination of a distinct growth from a well-defined germ to full maturity’, finding the national character in each stage of a ‘perfect chain’ that linked the Anglo-Saxons to the Victorian age.