Warwick Rodwell: British archaeologist | Biography
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Warwick Rodwell
British archaeologist

Warwick Rodwell

Warwick Rodwell
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Intro British archaeologist
Is Anthropologist Archaeologist
From United Kingdom
Field Social science
Gender male
The details (from wikipedia)


Warwick James Rodwell OBE (born 24 October 1946) is an archaeologist, architectural historian and academic. He is Visiting Professor in the Department of Archaeology, University of Reading, and Consultant Archaeologist to Westminster Abbey, where he is also a member of the College of St Peter in Westminster. He is the author of many books and articles, including the standard textbook on church archaeology (first published in 1981). He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Royal Historical Society.

Early life and education

Warwick Rodwell was born in Essex on 24 October 1946, the only child of Thomas George Rodwell and his wife Olive Ellen (née Nottage). He attended the local grammar school, Southend High School for Boys, and afterwards went to Loughborough College of Education (now Loughborough University), where he studied creative design and history and trained as a technology teacher (1965–68) and was awarded a Diploma of Loughborough College (DLC); the university subsequently awarded him the degree of BSc. After Loughborough he studied archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology (now part of University College, London), graduating with a BA Honours in the archaeology of the Roman Provinces (1972). He then went to Worcester College, Oxford, and carried out research for a thesis, based at the Institute of Archaeology (part of the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford), on "Settlement and Economy in the Territory of the Trinovantes, c 500 BC to AD 50", for which he received a DPhil (1976). He also has an MA degree awarded for a thesis at the School of History, University of Birmingham (1979). In recognition of his publications, he was awarded the degrees of DLitt (University of Oxford, 1992) and DLit (University of London, 1998).

Listed degrees and qualifications: OBE, DLC, BSc, BA, MA, DPhil, DLitt, DLit, FSA, FSAScot, FRHistS.


Rodwell excavated a number of prehistoric, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and medieval sites in Essex and Eastern England during the 1960s and 1970s, including Asheldham, Hadstock, Kelvedon, Rivenhall and Wickford. In 1975 he was appointed as the first director of the professional archaeological unit covering the counties of Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset and led a major campaign of excavations and structural recording at Wells Cathedral (1978–93). In 1981 he set up in private practice as a consultant archaeologist and architectural historian, specialising in the investigation, recording and analysis of Anglo-Saxon and medieval churches and cathedrals and major secular buildings of medieval and later date, including castles, palaces and country houses. His listed long-term consultancies include: Glastonbury Abbey (1976–2005), Bristol Cathedral (1976–2010), Wells Cathedral (since 1977), Lichfield Cathedral (1982–2009) and Westminster Abbey (since 2004). He served as a member of the Council for the Care of Churches (now the Church Buildings Council, Church of England) (1976–86); a commissioner of the Cathedrals Advisory Commission (1981–90) and the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England (1991–96); a member of Salisbury Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee (1987–2006); a member of Exeter Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee (1999–2006); a trustee of the Bath Archaeological Trust (1976–2005); and President of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society (1999–2000).

He was elected as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1965, and the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1977. In 1988 he was awarded the latter Society's Frend Medal for distinguished service to church archaeology. In 1992 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and in 1998 was made a Membre d'Honneur of La Société Jersiaise in recognition of his services to the archaeology of Jersey. Since 2002 he has been Visiting Professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading. In 2008 he was appointed as a member of the College of St Peter in Westminster, and is the first holder of the stall designated Archaeologus in the quire of Westminster Abbey. He was appointed OBE in 2009 for services to ecclesiastical archaeology.

Rodwell has studied a number of major ecclesiastical buildings, including Westminster Abbey, Wells Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral, Lichfield Cathedral, Glastonbury Abbey and Dorchester Abbey (Oxon.). Between 1978 and 2007 he carried out a major research programme for English Heritage on the churches of Barton-upon-Humber (Lincs.).


He has published extensively: books, academic monographs, pamphlets, articles in learned journals and chapters in collective volumes. His total output is believed to be in excess of three hundred publications. Books and monographs include:

  • The Small Towns of Roman Britain. ed. with T. Rowley. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. 1975.
  • Historic Churches: A Wasting Asset. with K. Rodwell. London: Council for British Archaeology. 1977.
  • Temples, Churches and Religion: Recent Research in Roman Britain. 2 vols. ed. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. 1980.
  • The Archaeology of the English Church. London: Batsford. 1981.
  • Our Christian Heritage. with J. Bentley. London: George Philip. 1984.
  • Rivenhall: Investigations of a Villa, Church and Village, 1950–77, Volume 1. with K.A. Rodwell. London: Council for British Archaeology. 1985.
  • The English Heritage Book of Church Archaeology. London: Batsford & English Heritage. 1989.
  • The Fishermen's Chapel, Saint Brelade, Jersey: Its Archaeology, Architecture, Wall Paintings and Conservation. Jersey: Sociéte Jersiaise. 1990.
  • The Origins and Early Development of Witham, Essex: A Study in Settlement and Fortification, Prehistoric to Medieval. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 1993.
  • Rivenhall: Investigations of a Villa, Church and Village, 1950–77, Volume 2. with K.A. Rodwell. London: Council for British Archaeology. 1993.
  • Les Ecréhous, Jersey. The History and Archaeology of a Channel Islands Archipelago. Jersey: Société Jersiaise. 1996.
  • La Hougue Bie, Jersey. A Study of the Neolithic Tomb, Medieval Chapel and Prince's Tower. with M. Patton & O. Finch. Jersey: Société Jersiaise. 1999.
  • The Archaeology of Wells Cathedral: Excavations and Structural Studies, 1978–93. 2 vols. London: English Heritage. 2001.
  • Westminster Abbey Chapter House and Pyx Chamber. London: English Heritage. 2002.
  • The Archaeology of Churches. 3rd edn. Stroud: Tempus. 2005.
  • Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey. History and Architecture. Jersey: Jersey Heritage Trust. 2006.
  • Architectural Records of Wells by John Carter, FSA, 1784–1808. with G. Leighton. Taunton: Somerset Record Society Monograph 92. 2006.
  • Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire: The Archaeology and Architecture of a Cathedral, Monastery and Parish Church. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 2009. ISBN 978-1-84217-388-6
  • Jersey's Houses, Castles and Churches: Building on the Stevens Legacy. Tenth Joan Stevens Memorial Lecture. Jersey: Société Jersiaise. 2009.
  • Westminster Abbey Chapter House: The History, Art and Architecture of 'A Chapter House beyond Compare'. ed. with R. Mortimer. London: Society of Antiquaries. 2010.
  • The Lantern Tower of Westminster Abbey, 1060–2010. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 2010.
  • St Peter's, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire: A Parish Church and its Community. Volume I: History, Archaeology and Architecture. 2 parts. Oxford: Oxbow Books & English Heritage. 2011. ISBN 978-1-84217-325-1.
  • The Archaeology of Churches. New edn. Stroud: Amberley Books. 2012. ISBN 978-1-84868-943-5.
  • The Coronation Chair and the Stone of Scone: History, Archaeology and Conservation. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 2013. ISBN 978-1-78297-152-8.


Rodwell's armorial bearings are: Gules a mascle argent throughout embowed inwards between four feurs-de-lys apexes inwards and enclosing a cross flory or. Crest: Upon a helm with a wreath argent and gules, a cathedral façade triple towered the centre tower enhanced or, the port and windows gules statant upon each outer tower a dove reguardant that on the dexter contourny argent. Motto: Felicitas per Ardua.

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