Richard William Barber (born 1941) is a prominent British historian who has been writing and publishing in the field of medieval history and literature ever since his student days. He has specialised in the Arthurian legend, beginning with a general survey, Arthur of Albion, in 1961, which is still in print in a revised edition. His other major interest is historical biography; he has published on Henry Plantagenet (1964) and among his other books is the standard biography of Edward the Black Prince, Edward Prince of Wales and Aquitaine. The interplay between history and literature was the theme of The Knight and Chivalry, for which he won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1971 and he returned to this in The Holy Grail: Imagination and Belief (2004); this was widely praised in the UK press, and had major reviews in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
His other career has been as a publisher. In 1969 he helped to found The Boydell Press, which later became Boydell & Brewer Ltd, one of the leading publishers in medieval studies, and he is currently group managing director. In 1989, Boydell & Brewer Ltd, in association with the University of Rochester, started the University of Rochester Press in upstate New York. The group currently publishes over 200 titles a year.