Joyce Youings

Joyce Youings (1970s)

After a chance conversation with a history student at a hockey match, Joyce Youings switched from studying mathematics to history at Kings College London - a decision that enabled her to become an eminent historian.

Joining the University College of the South West, later to be known as University of Exeter, after gaining a first class honours degree followed by a PhD specialising in Tudors, she remained with the University until retiring in 1986. In 1973 she became the first woman professor in what was then a somewhat male-oriented institution. However, Youings was not a feminist, but an “equalist.”

Youings produced a substantial body of high-quality publications on a range of topics, from the disposal of monastic property to the Western rebellions of 1549. She also focused on Sir Walter Ralegh, and created a meticulous collected edition of his letters before her death in 2012.