TRIBUTES have been paid to a respected historian, scholar and former deputy vice-chancellor of the University of York, who has died at the age of 81.

Professor Barrie Dobson’s passion for the history of York and the north saw him take up a position at York University in 1964, only one year after it opened.

His commitment to preserving the city’s past led to him being one of the founding members of York Archaeological society in 1972, eventually going on to become chairman of the society in 1988.

In 1976 he was made a professor of history at the university and in the same year, along with Dr John Taylor of Leeds University, published a book arguing that the legend of Robin Hood was based on a real-life Yorkshire outlaw. He also conducted a major study into the history of York Minster.

In 1984, Prof Dobson was made deputy vice-chancellor of the University of York, before taking up a position as professor of medieval history at Cambridge. Despite leaving his beloved York, at the time of his move to Cambridge he said: “I hope to maintain my ties to the city. I am still a Northerner at heart.”

Current vice-chancellor Professor Brian Cantor said: “It was with enormous sadness that we heard of the death of Barrie Dobson.

“A distinguished medieval historian, he served this university with distinction for more than a quarter of a century from 1964, culminating in a period as deputy vice- chancellor.

“On his retirement as Professor of Medieval History at Cambridge in 1999, he returned to live in York and rejoined us here as an Honorary Professor. He was deeply respected by all and will be sorely missed.”

Prof Dobson died peacefully at home on March 29. He is survived by wife Narda and children Mark and Michelle.