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Dame (Cicely) Veronica Wedgwood Hon. D.Litt OM DBE (20 July 19109 March 1997) was an English historian who generally published under the name C. V. Wedgwood. She specialized in European history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including her still-authoritative study The Thirty Years' War (1938 and many later reprintings) and biographies of Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, William the Silent, and Cardinal Richelieu. Thirty years after she published her much-praised biography of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, she returned to the subject and published a much-revised version that was considerably more critical of her subject. Historians often cite Wedgwood's two lives of Strafford as an illustration of scholarly integrity and open-mindedness.

Born in Northumberlandmarker, she was educated at Norland Place Schoolmarker and read Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxfordmarker, and became a specialist in the English Civil War and early 17th century history. Well regarded in academic circles, her books are widely read, and she was also successful as a lecturer and broadcaster. In 1946 she translated Elias Canetti's Die Blendung, as Auto-da-Fé, under Canetti's supervision.

She was the only daughter of Sir Ralph Wedgwood and his wife Iris Veronica Pawson. She was a great-great-great-granddaughter of the potter Josiah Wedgwood, and on this lineage she was the cousin three times removed of Charles Darwin. She had a brother, Sir John Wedgwood. Her book The Last of the Radicals (1951), was about her uncle Josiah Wedgwood, 1st Baron Wedgwood.

Wedgwood received honorary degrees from the universities of Glasgowmarker, Sheffield and from Smith Collegemarker, and was a member of the Institute for Advanced Studymarker at Princeton. She served on the Arts Council and the council of the Victoria and Albert Museummarker, and was a trustee of the National Gallerymarker. She was created a CBE in 1956, a DBE in 1968, and in 1969 became only the third woman to be appointed a member of the British Order of Merit. Her biography William the Silent was awarded the 1944 James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Bibliography of her books

  • Strafford, a biography of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford was published in 1935 -- revised edition, Thomas Wentworth, First Earl of Strafford, 1593-1641: A Re-Evaluation (1965)
  • The Thirty Years' War (1938)
  • Oliver Cromwell (1939)
  • William the Silent (1944)
  • Velvet Studies (1946)
  • Seventeenth-Century English Literature (1950); 2nd ed. 1970
  • The King's Peace, 1637-1641 (1955) (part one of "The Great Rebellion")
  • The King's War, 1641-1647 (1958) (part two of "The Great Rebellion")
  • Poetry and Politics Under the Stuarts (1960)
  • Truth and Opinion (1960)
  • Richelieu and the French Monarchy (1962)
  • The Trial of Charles I (also published as A Coffin for King Charles) (1964)
  • The Last of the Radicals: Josiah Wedgwood, M.P. (1951)
  • Montrose (1966)
  • The Spoils of Time: a Short History of the World. Vol. 1: from the earliest times to the sixteenth century (only vol. published)
  • History and Hope: the collected essays of C. V. Wedgwood (1987) ('Most of these essays were originally published in two collections - Velvet studies in 1946 and Truth and opinion in 1960 - although the present volume contains a few later pieces ...' - p.7)
    • Wedgwood also wrote the 1960 introduction to Rose Macaulay's They Were Defeated


  1. William the Silent Jonathan Cape reprint, 1967
  2. (Biographical details taken from a copy of The Trial of Charles I published by Collins (UK)
  3. Additional Bibliography detail taken from a copy of The Spoils of Time which was first published by William Collins (UK) in 1984, and published also by Book Club Associates.
  4. First published by Collins London in 1932, and reset and reprinted in later years

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