One of Oxford University’s leading professors of history, Mark Whittow, has died due to a car crash involving multiple vehicles on the M40. In his remembrance, he was described as “a warm and loyal friend” and a passionate teacher.

Lead Professor

Whittow, age 60, was a lead professor of Medieval history and archaeology and was named Oriel College’s newest provost. He and another man from Warwickshire, age 29, died due to a collision of five motor vehicles during the weekend.

Oxford University’s chairman of the History department, Martin Conway, stated: “The entire Oxford community has been left deeply saddened by Mark’s tragic death”.

Conway also noted that “Mark was an enormous influence on history in Oxford, where his energy and commitment to teaching, research and to the sense of an intellectual community was irrepressible”.

“Above all, generations of students, researchers, and colleagues knew him as a warm and loyal friend who enriched all our lives. We will miss him enormously” he said.

According to the Thames Valley Police, five vehicles are believed to have been involved in the crash.

The Bodleian History Faculty Library released a statement in tribute to his tragic death which stated: “Desperately sad news of the untimely passing of warm, witty, humane scholar Mark Whittow. The place will be that much sadder and poorer for his loss.”

A Global History professor at Oxford, Peter Frankopan, also tweeted: “Heart-breaking news about my best, loveliest and most brilliant friend & colleague who has died over Christmas.”

Dr. Whittow, Oxford University spokesman from Oxfordshire, played a pivotal role regarding the development in the global approach to studying the subject of the medieval era, that linked Europe with wider networks of knowledge and trade.

He also held lectures on Byzantine studies and was a Corpus Christi College fellow in Oxford. In addition, Whittow was a senior proctor at the university from 2016 to present.


According to an announcement released last month by the university, Whittle was due to begin a new role at Oriel next year alongside wife, Helen, a practicing Deputy High Court Judge and QC. The TVP stated that a man was hospitalized with severe leg injuries in addition to three other people involved who had minor injuries

The university’s spokesman stated: “We are still appealing to anyone who witnessed the collision and has not yet spoken to officers to please contact us.

“We are specifically appealing to anyone who may have dashcam footage who was traveling in the area at the time of the collision.”

The TVP inquiry center has asked for anyone with information about the incident to call their 24-hour line on 101.


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