Lord Sumption: Joan of Arc – charlatan or miracle-worker?


Magdalen College School

Event type

Alumni, College, Public


13 July 2023



Lord Sumption (1967) will discuss Joan of Arc and the problems for a secular historian dealing with the supposedly miraculous at the Magdalen College School Oxford Festival of the Arts. This event is organised in partnership with Magdalen College School and the Oxford Festival of the Arts.

There is no ‘God for Harry’ spin here, but this is a book packed with crazed kings, dastardly betrayals and foul dungeons. [Diarmaid MacCulloch on The Hundred Years War, Vol IV]

Described by The Guardian as ‘the brain of Britain’, who ‘terrified opponents as a stellar QC’, as well as a ‘revered historian’, Lord Sumption became a Justice of The Supreme Court in January 2012.

After reading history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and serving for four years as a history Fellow of the College, Lord Sumption was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1975 and took Silk in 1986. His practice covered all aspects of Commercial, EU and Competition, Public and Constitutional Law. He was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in 1992, and served as a Recorder between 1993 and 2001. He was appointed as a Judge of the Courts of Appeal of Jersey and Guernsey in 1995. Lord Sumption was a Judicial Appointments Commissioner from 2006 to 2011.

He is the author of Pilgrimage and The Albigensian Crusade, as well as the prize-winning, four-volume tome on the Hundred Years War, including Trial by BattleTrial by FireDivided Houses and Cursed Kings.  The eagerly anticipated final volume – Triumph and Illusion – will be coming out this summer.  In Cursed Kings, Sumption, ‘strips away the layers to rediscover the personalities and events that lie beneath’ [Pennsylvania Press].

There will also be the opportunity to ask questions on any subject, including political views. The Q&A will be led by Professor Hannah Skoda, Fellow in Medieval History at St John’s College, Oxford.  She has published on medieval violence, legalism, Dante, late medieval disability, and late medieval slavery.  She has wide-ranging interests in the social and cultural history of the later Middle Ages, and is currently working on nostalgia in the fourteenth-century.