Boydell & Brewer Ltd was formed in 1978. It merged two companies, Boydell Press and D.S. Brewer, whose founders, Richard Barber and Derek Brewer, were themselves scholars - Brewer a Chaucer specialist and subsequently Professor of English and Master of Emmanuel College, Barber a medieval historian and Arthurian.
Medieval studies originally formed the core of the list, but it has rapidly expanded to embrace the humanities in all periods up to and including the twentieth century: Colin White's edition of Nelson — The New Letters was considered one of the more enduring publications commemorating the 200th anniversary of the admiral's death.
In 1996 the company bought John Varey's Tamesis list and became the leading academic imprint outside Spain. Tamesis specialises in the publication of archive studies of Spanish theatrical history and scholarly editions and monographs relating to the literature, history, art and philology of the Spanish-speaking world. Recent titles include Companions to the Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Spanish cinema, Portuguese literature , Lope de Vega and a survey of Spanish Art in Britain and Ireland 1750-1920. In 2006 a new venture, Gallica, specializing in medieval French, was launched.