Suzannah Lipscomb in corset

Dr Suzannah Lipscomb (also known as Dr Suzannah Lipscomb Lawhead[1][2]) is a British historian, academic and broadcaster specialising in the sixteenth century.

Early life and education

Suzannah Rebecca Gabriella Lipscomb was born in Sutton in Surrey, England in 1978. She was educated at Epsom College,[3] a co-educational boarding independent school in the town of Epsom in Surrey, followed by Lincoln College and Balliol College at the University of Oxford where she won the Jowett Senior Scholarship,[4] and from where she was awarded a doctorate in history.[5][6]

Academic career

Between 2007 and 2010 she was a Research Curator at Hampton Court Palace.[7] In 2010 she became a Lecturer in Early Modern British History at the University of East Anglia.[8] She is now Senior Lecturer and Convenor for History at the New College of the Humanities.[9]

In December 2012 Lipscomb was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.[10]

TV career

Lipscomb wrote and presented Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home for BBC Four, first screened on 3 April 2013, and repeated from time-to-time.[11] A further two episodes are to be screened later in the year.

She contributed to five of the 14 episodes of The Secret Life Of: for the Yesterday channel, screened between 2 May - 13 June 2013. Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth, Marie Antoinette, The Borgias, Louis XIV.[12] In these, besides acting as a subject expert, she also took place in historical re-enactments to experience various aspects of the life of the subject. In the Marie Antoinette episode, besides trying on one of the huge wigs favored by the French Court at the time, she also found out what it was like to be beheaded on the guillotine by taking part in a version of the magician's guillotine illusion in which her head visibly dropped into the basket when the blade was released.

With Joe Crowley she presented Bloody Tales of Europe for National Geographic. Six-part series screened between 25 March - 29 April 2013, and regularly repeated. Murder, Avengers, Monsters, Dark Arts, Tyrants, Executions.[13]

She contributed to four of the 13 episodes of Time Team, Series 20, for Channel 4. First screened between 20 January - 10 March 2013, and regularly repeated. Henham's Lost Mansions, Lost Mines of Lakeland, Wolsey's Lost Palace, An Englishman's Castle.[14]

With Joe Crowley she presented Bloody Tales of the Tower for National Geographic. Three-part series screened 16–30 April 2012, and regularly repeated. Traitors, Executions, Scandal.[15] Although acting mainly as a subject expert, she also participated in a number of experiments during the three episodes designed to investigate various aspects of life and death in the Tower. One of these, in the Executions episode, involved her taking part in the Block Beheading illusion in order to discover the level of self-control needed by Katherine Howard when she was executed.

Lipscomb often contributes to radio and television news programmes on matters historical and royal.[16][17][18]

Popular history magazines and newspapers

Lipscomb regularly writes articles for History Today,[19] the BBC History Magazine,[20][21] and The Daily Telegraph.[22]

Personal life

On 22 May 2010, Lipscomb married Drake Lawhead at Hampton Court Palace.[23] Following her marriage, she continued to be known as Dr Suzannah Lipscomb for her broadcast work, but sometimes also used the name Dr Suzannah Lipscomb Lawhead at other times.[1][2] The couple are now divorced.

Selected works

  • 1536: The Year that Changed Henry VIII (Lion Hudson, 2009).[24]
  • A Visitor’s Companion to Tudor England (Ebury, Random House, 2012).[25]
  • Henry VIII and the Court: Art, Politics and Performance, co-edited with Thomas Betteridge, Ashgate, 2013.[26]


  1. 1.0 1.1 2011 Epsom College Oxford Dinner held at Balliol College
  2. 2.0 2.1 OE Joins Board of Governors, Phoenix, Autumn 2012, p6.
  7. "Historic Royal Palaces > Home > News and media > Press resources > Hampton Court Palace > Hampton Court Palace - press release archive > The Henry VIII talks at Hampton Court Palace". 2009-10-15. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  8. UEA:Suzannah Lipscomb (Accessed Oct 9, 2011)
  9. New College of the Humanities: Subject Area Convenors (Accessed Oct 9, 2011)
  11. "Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home | Modern Television". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  14. "Time Team - 4oD". Channel 4. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  15. National Geographic."About Bloody Tales Of The Tower Show - National Geographic Channel - UK". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  22. Booker Prize. "Booker Prize 2012: Mantel’s tale drips with the often putrid scents of the Tudor age". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  23. A Hampton Court Palace Wedding & Sixteenth Century Tudor Style Celebration, Love My Dress, 28 June 2010.
  25. "> Suzannah Lipscomb". Ebury Publishing. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  26. "Henry VIII and the Court by Thomas Betteridge and Suzannah Lipscomb". Retrieved 2013-04-04.