Woman of the Day – Ella Sophia Armitage

Celebrating Women’s History Month Day 3: Woman of the Day, Ella Sophia Armitage #ForWomenAndPlanet

Ella Sophia Armitage (nee Bulley) was born in Liverpool on March 3, 1841 and was an English historian, medieval archaeologist and educator.

Despite being home schooled, she was one of the first ever students to attend Newnham College, Cambridge,  a college founded in 1871 by a group organising Lectures for Ladies, a member of which was suffragist campaigner Millicent Garrett Fawcett. She then went on to become the first research student at the college.

After Cambridge, Ella went to Owens College, Manchester where she taught history and in 1919 was awarded an honorary M.A. degree for her work in archaeology.

In 1887, she became the first woman on the school board at Rotherham. Ella had always been interested in the education of girls and this interest also led to her appointment as assistant commissioner to the royal commission on secondary education to explore girls’ education in Devon.

During her lifetime, she also contributed to a range of publications about British motte-and-bailey castles and her book, The Early Norman Castles of the British Isles, is considered a seminal work on the subject.

She was also known as a hymnwriter, stating:

 “I believe I was intended by nature for an archaeologist, but life has made me a hymn writer, and I shall be content to be known as such when my archaeology is forgotten.”

Ella died on March 20, 1931.





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