A PROFESSOR and fellow at the University of Oxford for nearly 20 years Dr Peter Mathias, has died.

Dr Mathias was Chichele Chair of Economic History and was awarded an associated Fellowship of All Soul's College in Oxford to be Master of Jesus College.

Peter Mathias was born on January 10, 1928, in Freshford, Somerset, where he lived with his mother and grandparents.

After the family moved to Bristol, Peter won a scholarship in 1938 to Colston's Hospital, a local charity and grammar school.

As a boarder he remained at Colston's until 1946 and attended some classes in Bristol Grammar School.

He won a place at Jesus College, Cambridge but was called up to do National Service in the summer of 1946 which he had to complete before taking up his college place in 1948.

In Jesus College he struck up a strong relationship with his mentor Charles Wilson, an economic historian, which led him to move into this subject.

He was elected to a research fellowship at Jesus in 1952 and in 1955 was appointed to an assistant lectureship in the history faculty and moved to a fellowship at Queens' College.

There he progressed to lecturer before moving on in 1968.

His wife, Ann, was well known for her keen gardening skills and would help keep the college looking fresh with her landscape skills.

In 1968, at the age of 40, Dr Mathias became Chichele Chair of Economic History and associated Fellowship of All Soul’s College, Oxford.

He stayed in the role until 1987.

During his time in Oxford he was also editor of the multi-volume Cambridge Economic History of Europe.

He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1977 and was treasurer from 1980 to 1989.

He was also President of the International Economic History Association from 1974 to 1978 and helped to found the European Journal of Economic History.

One international link that was forged during his time in Oxford was his association with Japan. Dr Mathias had supervised a number of Japanese graduate students in the city and his association with their country was well and truly consolidated when he became research supervisor of the Crown Prince of Japan who came to Oxford for two years in 1983.

He was awarded CBE in 1984 for the work he had done in Oxford.

In 1987 he left Oxford after being elected Master of Downing College, Cambridge, a post he held until 1995.

After retiring he carried on strengthening his links with Japan as he became an international advisor to Keio University.

He was President of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and for his contributions to furthering Anglo-Japanese relations he was granted the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays in 2003.

Well into his eighties he continued to lecture on economic history at the Institute of Philosophical Studies in Naples and many of the lecture series that he delivered were published in Italian.

Dr Mathias died on March 1, 2016, at the age of 88.