A Tribute to WG Hoskins: The Father of Landscape History


In his pioneering work The Making of the English Landscape (1955), William George Hoskins (1908-1992) claimed ‘to those who know how to read it aright, the English landscape is the richest historical document we possess’. The book demonstrated the profound impact of human activity on the evolution of both rural and urban English Landscapes, introducing a brand-new source of primary information for scholars of various disciplines. Over the subsequent decades, Hoskins’ work has had profound impact on the work of historians, geographers, archaeologists, planners and conservationists, transforming their approaches to local, regional and national studies. 

This event is dedicated to Hoskins, and will introduce and examine his career and publications before 1955 and examine how landscape history has evolved and transformed since then.  All the speakers have been closely associated with Hoskins and his work in one way or another. Malcolm Airs and Trevor Rowley were his postgraduate students at Oxford in the 1960s and their own careers have been heavily influenced by his ideas. Robert Peberdy is writing his definitive biography and Peter Jones will look back at the 1970s BBC series he produced with ‘Bill’, as he was affectionately known by the film crew. Clips from the television series will be shown during the day.

Please note: this event will close to enrolments at 23:59 BST on 25 October 2023.

Programme details

Registration for in-person attendees at Rewley House reception

The road to 1955: Hoskins’ life before the making of the English landscape 
Robert Peberdy 


The quiet revolutionary: WG Hoskins and landscape history 
Trevor Rowley 


The rebuilding of rural England revisited 
Malcolm Airs 


One man’s England: filming English landscapes with WG Hoskins
Peter Jones

Course ends

Reception for students and tutors (in-person attendees)



Description Costs
Course Fee - in-person attendance (includes tea/coffee) £99.00
Course Fee - virtual attendance £90.00
Baguette lunch £6.50
Hot lunch (three courses) £17.60


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit or are a full-time student in the UK you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees.

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Robert Peberdy


Educated at Loughborough Grammar School, Merton College, Oxford, and Leicester University, Dr Peberdy is a former Assistant Editor of the Victoria County History of Oxfordshire. He contributed to Burford: Buildings and People in a Cotswold Town (2008) and is co-editor (with Philip Waller) of A Dictionary of British and Irish History (2020).  

Mr Trevor Rowley

Speaker and Course Director

Trevor Rowley MA, MLitt, FSA, was formerly Deputy Director in the Department for Continuing Education and before that Director of Archaeology in the Department. He is now an Emeritus Fellow of Kellogg College and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He has published many books on landscape history and the Normans, most recently a biography of William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, and an examination of the landscape of the Bayeux Tapestry. His most recent book, Landscapes of the Norman Conquest, appeared at the end of 2022.

Prof Malcolm Airs


Emeritus Professor of Conservation and the Historic Environment, University of Oxford

Peter Jones


Peter Jones is a director and producer of science and nature films. His adaptation of The Making of the English Landscape was filmed for BBC Horizon in 1974. The 12 short films Landscapes of England followed in 1975-76. He started The Natural World series for BBC in 1983 and produced Trials of Life (the third David Attenborough Life series) in 1990. Since then he has worked on numerous scientific biographies for BBC, CH4 and PBS.


Please use the 'Book' or button on this page. Alternatively, please contact us to obtain an application form.


Accommodation is not included in the price, but if you wish to stay with us the night before the course, then please contact our Residential Centre.

Accommodation in Rewley House - all bedrooms are modern, comfortably furnished and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, Freeview television, and Free WiFi and private bath or shower rooms.  Please contact our Residential Centre on +44 (0) 1865 270362 or email res-ctr@conted.ox.ac.uk for details of availability and discounted prices.

IT requirements

For those joining us online

We will be using Zoom for the livestreaming of this event. If you’re attending online, you’ll be able to see and hear the speakers, and to submit questions via the Zoom interface. Joining instructions will be sent out prior to the start date. We recommend that you join the session at least 10-15 minutes prior to the start time – just as you might arrive a bit early at our lecture theatre for an in-person event.

Please note that this day will not be recorded.