Dr Mark Whittow (1957 - 2017)







All at CBRL have been deeply saddened at the untimely and tragic death of our former Honorary Secretary, Mark Whittow, who died in a car accident just before Christmas. 

On behalf of CBRL, former Chairman, Adrian Sindall, pays tribute to Mark:

“Mark was an Honorary Officer at CBRL from 1999 to late 2001. At that time, Mark was already acquiring his reputation as a gifted scholar, author and teacher. He had recently published his early seminal work, The Making of Byzantium 600 to 1025 and he was increasingly demonstrating his flair for undergraduate teaching having been elected to a teaching fellowship at St Peter's College Oxford. So, what good fortune for CBRL when Mark agreed to become our Hon Secretary. When he joined us, we were in our first year as the joint designated successor to BIAHH and BSAJ, an amalgamation dictated by the British Academy. An early priority was to find new administrative offices for CBRL. Mark decided to have these in his own rooms at St Peter's and drove down to London in his notoriously battered Land Rover to transfer, single-handedly, the archives and other CBRL impedimenta up to Oxford

There was much to do. A new and imaginative Executive Committee was just finding its feet. Bill Finlayson had recently arrived in Jordan to reform and develop our Amman based operations and Alex Wasse was the new Assistant Director in Amman. Jo Clarke was taking the first steps to rebuild and develop CBRL in Jerusalem, a process which would prove a difficult and challenging one over the next couple of years. At the same time, CBRL held an impressive new range of international conferences, launched enhanced programmes of both publications and research grants, and was building a new momentum of activity in Cyprus, Lebanon and Syria. Across this range of endeavour, Mark was unfailingly innovative and supportive, working tirelessly and seasoning all with his special brand of style and wit. Sadly, it was too good to last. By late 2001 Mark had, understandably, concluded that the growing demands of his flourishing teaching and research life at St Peter's meant that he would have to stand down as our Honorary Secretary. The CBRL was, and still is, much in his debt. He was a prime mover in the early building and development of CBRL. So, we remember him with both fondness and gratitude.

Next September Mark was due to become Provost of Oriel College. And, as both a Byzantinist and mediaeval historian, was deeply engaged in a proposed volume for the Oxford History of Mediaeval Europe 1000 to 1100. His loss will be widely felt.  We send our deepest sympathies to his wife Helen and to their three children George Mary and Flossie.”

Adrian Sindall, CBRL Chairman 1999- 2003 

An obituary by Lawrence Goldman and Henrietta Leyser has been published in the Guardian here

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