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Newnham College

Mary Bateson was the daughter of William Henry Bateson, Master of St John’s College, Cambridge. She was educated at the Perse School for Girls and Newnham College, Cambridge, which her parents had helped found in 1871. She spent her entire professional life at Newnham, teaching there from 1888. She became a Fellow in 1903, and was instrumental in the foundation of the College’s first research fellowships. She was a pioneering, and exceptionally technically gifted, social and legal historian of medieval Britain. She was one of the very few research students to work with the doyen of legal history, F.W. Maitland, who greatly admired her work. Bateson was also very active in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1906 she formed part of a deputation to the prime minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, which presented a petition from women who had studied at university ‘who believe the disenfranchisement of one sex to be injurious to both, and a national wrong in a country which pretends to be governed on a representative system’.

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