Mark Bailey (rugby union)

Mark David Bailey (born 1960) is a British educator and former Rugby Union player. He is Visiting Professor of Later Medieval History at the University of East Anglia since 2011. He has previously held a number of academic positions as headmaster of Leeds Grammar School between 1999 and 2010 and High Master of St Paul's School, London between 2011 to 2020. He was an England rugby footballer and toured South Africa during the Apartheid era in 1984.

Early life and sporting career

Born 21 November 1960, Castleford, Yorkshire,[1] Bailey was educated at Ipswich School, an independent school in the town of Ipswich in Suffolk, followed by Durham University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economic history in 1982. He then completed his doctoral studies at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge;[2] his PhD was awarded in 1987 for his thesis "At the margin: Suffolk Breckland in the Middle Ages".[3]

He won the Cricket Society's Wetherell Award in 1979 for the best public school all-rounder and played for the NCA Young Cricketers in 1980.[4] The same year he made his debut in the Minor Counties for Suffolk, for whom he played until 1991 and served as captain between 1988–90.

Bailey played rugby for Durham University and the University of Cambridge, captaining the latter in the 1983 and 1984 Varsity matches. He won four Blues at Cambridge. He later served as Secretary of CRUFC, as its representative on the Rugby Football Union, and since 2010 has been President of the club. Bailey played on the wing for Bedford in 1981–2 and for London Wasps between 1984–90, winning the premiership in the 1989–90 season.[5] He also received international honours for England,[6] capped seven times, and played for the Barbarians invitational side. On 16 June 2003, Bailey was honoured with Durham University's Palatinate Award for Sport.[7]

Academic career

Bailey was elected to a fellowship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1986 and was appointed to lectureship in local history at the University of Cambridge in 1991. In 1996, he left both positions and became a fellow at Corpus Christi. In 1999 he was appointed Head of Leeds Grammar School.[2] He led the merger of Leeds Grammar School and Leeds Girls' High School in 2008, following his earlier appointment (2005) as both Headmaster and Chief Executive of the Grammar School at Leeds.

In 2010 Bailey left Leeds to spend one term as a Visiting Fellow in Medieval History at All Souls College, Oxford. He then took up the post of Professor of Later Medieval History at the University of East Anglia that year. In 2011 he succeeded George Martin Stephen as High Master of St Paul's School, London, a role he held until June 2020. His position was taken up by Sally-Anne Huang and he returned to the University of East Anglia as a professor.[8][2][9]

Bailey was invited to deliver the Ford Lectures in British History at the University of Oxford in 2019. He has written seven books and published a number of academic articles on the economy and society of medieval England.[10] His most recent book is The Decline of Serfdom in late medieval England: from bondage to freedom.[11]


  • A Marginal Economy?: East Anglian Breckland in the later Middle Ages (Cambridge University Press, 1989).
  • (Editor) The Bailiffs’ Minute Book of Dunwich 1404–1430 (Boydell Press, 1992).
  • (Co-authored with John Hatcher) Modelling the Middle Ages: The History and Theory of England’s Economic Development (Oxford University Press, 2001).
  • The English Manor c. 1200–1500 (Manchester University Press, 2002).
  • Medieval Suffolk: An Economic and Social History 1200–1500 (Boydell Press, 2007).
  • (Co-edited with Carole Rawcliffe, and Maureen Jurkowski) Poverty and Wealth: Sheep, Taxation and Charity in Medieval Norfolk (Norfolk Record Society, 2007).
  • (Co-authored with S. H. Rigby) Town and Countryside in the Age of the Black Death: Essays in Honour of John Hatcher (Brepols, 2012).
  • The Decline of Serfdom in Late Medieval England (Boydell Press, 2014).


  1. ^ "Mark Bailey profile". ESPN. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Bailey, Mark David", Who's Who (online ed., Oxford University Press, December 2018). Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ "At the margin: Suffolk Breckland in the Middle Ages", EThOS (British Library). Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Cricket Society's Wetherell Award". Cricket Society. Archived from the original on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  5. ^ Neil Roy, '100 Years of the Blues. The Bedfordshire Times Centenary History of Bedford RUFC', (Bedford, 1986), p. 259
  6. ^ "Mark Bailey profile". ESPN. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  7. ^ "Rory Kinnear awarded Palatinate Award for Sport". Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  8. ^ "St Paul's School appoints new High Master". St Paul’s School. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  9. ^ "St Paul's School, London". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Mark Bailey profile". Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  11. ^ "Mark Bailey profile". Retrieved 20 November 2015.