Diarmaid MacCulloch


Diarmaid MacCulloch was born 31 October 1951, in Kent, England; the only child of Rev. Nigel J.H. MacCulloch T.D. and Mrs. Jennie MacCulloch (née Chappell). Mr. MacCulloch was an army chaplain until 1956 when he took the country living of Wetherden (Suffolk), where Diarmaid was brought up and lived until 1972, on his father's retirement as Rector of Wetherden and Vicar of Haughley. Diarmaid spent 1969-78 at Churchill College, Cambridge (with 1972-3 at the University of Liverpool receiving a Diploma in Archive Administration); for his doctorate Diarmaid studied under the great Tudor historian Sir Geoffrey Elton.

Diarmaid joined the Gay Christian Movement (as it was then called) in 1976, soon after its foundation, and later served two terms on its committee and also briefly as Honorary Secretary. In 1978 Diarmaid moved to teach at Wesley College, Bristol. He taught Methodist ordinands there; with a year’s interval in 1986-7 at Ripon College Cuddesdon prior to ordination in the Church of England as Deacon. He subsequently stopped in 1988 from further work in the Church by the atmosphere of hysteria surrounding the Tony Higton-inspired Synod motion. He resigned from Wesley in 1990 in order to devote himself to freelance teaching, research and writing on Reformation History. He accepted Oxford University’s offer of a lectureship in 1995 and has been there ever since, as a Fellow of St. Cross College and since 1997 also Professor of the History of the Church. Diarmaid has been Senior Tutor of St. Cross College and holds the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Oxford, as well as a number of honorary degrees.

Diarmaid is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (1978), Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (1982) and Fellow of the British Academy (2001). he co-edits the Journal of Ecclesiastical History. He has written extensively on Tudor England; his biography Thomas Cranmer: a Life (1996) won the 1996 Whitbread Biography, Duff Cooper and James Tait Black Prizes. His Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 (2003)with Penguin/Allen Lane, won the 2004 Wolfson History Prize, the 2004 British Academy Prize and the 2005 Non-Fiction Award of the National Book Critics Circle of America. His A History of Christianity: the first three thousand years, now out in paperback (winner of the 2010 Hessell-Tiltman Prize and the 2010 Cundill History Prize, Montreal, the world’s largest history book prize) was first published by Allen Lane in 2009, and was followed by the BBC series A History of Christianity (given the Radio Times Readers’ Award, May 2010). His three-part TV series for BBC2, How God made the English, aired in March 2012.  He was knighted in the New Year's Honours List of 2012. His hobbies are viewing historic monuments, singing, and keyboard playing.

(This biographical statement provided by Diarmaid MacCulloch. Photo credit: Chris Gibbions.)

Biography Date: February, 2004; rev. 2012

Additional Resources


Church of England (Anglican) | Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (United Kingdom) | Author/editor | Clergy Activist | United Kingdom


“Diarmaid MacCulloch | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed June 16, 2024, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/diarmaid-macculloch.


Know Diarmaid MacCulloch? Tell us your experience.
(All entries are reviewed by the LGBT-RAN office before posting.)