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A tribute to Fellow Emerita Dr Kate Tiller OBE, 1949 - 2024

June 4, 2024

The College community is deeply saddened by the death of Founding Fellow, Dr Kate Tiller OBE.

Geoffrey Thomas, President Emeritus remembers Kate in the following tribute:

With the death of Kate Tiller, the College has lost one of its Founding Fellows, and someone who also served as Senior Tutor, Vice-President, and Dean of Degrees.  The community more widely has lost a first-class academic in the field of English Local History, where her contributions to research and teaching were outstanding.

With her colleagues, Kate made the Oxford Department for Continuing Education a national centre for the subject. It was her drive and commitment which built up the first Certificates and Diplomas in Local History, and made English Local History one of the first Oxford Master’s degrees open to part-time students – followed soon afterwards by the establishment of part-time DPhils.

Kate was the author of numerous books and papers, including her English Local History: An Introduction, a standard work first published in 1987 and subsequently reissued more than once. She was also co-editor of An Historical Atlas of Oxfordshire and Dorchester Abbey: Church and People, 635-2005.  She was dedicated to her subject, and in particular to the study of religious nonconformity and rural working-class movements, to both of which she made important contributions.

Within the Department for Continuing Education, for many years Kate served as Dean, where she helped establish the regulations for other Oxford part-time academic awards. She set herself very high standards and was fierce in her determination that those high standards be maintained across all the Department’s qualifications.

Kate’s contributions to local history were not confined to her academic work; she also served on many public bodies concerned with researching and recording the history of communities, especially in Oxfordshire. She served as Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and Chair of the Victoria County History of Oxfordshire Trust, Oxfordshire Record Society, Oxfordshire Local History Association, and Oxfordshire Blue Plaque Committee. In recognition of these contributions and her academic work, Kate was awarded an OBE in 2019.

Outside Kate’s academic work and public contributions, she was a keen follower of sports, including fast cars, golf, and, most especially, rugby. As a result of her rugby interest, it came as no surprise to anyone that Kellogg College’s first sporting blues were in rugby – two formidable front-row forwards, both of them students on Kate’s Local History Master’s degree. Possibly as a result, Kate became the first woman elected to the Committee of the Oxford University Rugby Club.

Kate Tiller’s commitment to Kellogg throughout its history is no more eloquently expressed than in her generous gift to the College of her extensive library of Local History materials. The Kate Tiller Reading Room will be a lasting legacy and tribute to an outstanding academic and college member.

Read more about the Kate Tiller Book Collection: Kate Tiller donates book collection to Kellogg.