Jackson Knight letters to Theo Brown

Scope and Content

Letters from Knight to Brown and photographs, cards and cuttings of relevance to her research, plus some later letters from Wilson Knight, 1945-1968.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jackson Knight, the elder son of George Knight and Caroline Louisa Jackson, was born on 20 October 1895. He was educated at Dulwich College and Hertford College Oxford, to which he won an open scholarship in Classics. He served as a despatch rider during the First World War. After a number of teaching jobs, including ten years at All Saints' School, Bloxham, he became a temporary lecturer in Classics at the University of St Andrews. The following year he accepted an Assistant Lectureship at Exeter, which he turned to a Lectureship the next year and a Readership in 1942. He remained at Exeter, a committed educationalist who inspired hundreds of students, until and after he retired. His publications included several works on Virgil, including Vergil's Troy (1932), Cummaean Gates (1936), Accentual Symmetry in Vergil (1939), Roman Vergil (1943), Vergil and Homer (1950), and Virgil's Aeneid, a translation (Penguin Classics, 1956). In addition he played a key role in extra-mural activities, encouraging young poets and establishing and commanding the University's Officer Training Corps. He established the international review Erasmus. His biography, by his brother George Wilson Knight, was published in 1975.

Theo[dora] Brown (1914-1993), folklorist, was adopted at the age of two and raised by the Langford Brown family of Barton Hall, Kingskerswell, Devon. Her natural father was a Welsh scholar later head of a Department at the British Museum. Her adopted father was a magistrate and member of the local gentry; her adopted mother was interested in pixies on Dartmoor and nature, particularly flowers, and art. Theo took up painting as a result of her mother's encouragement and exhibited as a member of the Kenn group of artists. During the 2nd Wprld War she served as a petty officer with the Fleet Air Arm. At the end of the War a chance encounter with Jackson Knight started her career as a folklorist. In 1952 she took over from Knight as recorder of folklore for the Devonshire Association, and continued researching 'local traditions, strange legends, eccentric characters and Otherworld beliefs' for the rest of her life. She was elected to the Council of the Folklore Society in 1957 and became a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter (Depts of Theology and History) in the 1960s. In 1971 she organised a colloquium entitled The Journey to the other world and contributed a paper on West Country entrances to the Underworld. This was later published, as was her own book The Fate of the dead. She suffered a stroke in 1978, but continued working and occasionally teaching at Broadclyst Primary School.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL arrangements apply

Acquisition Information

Theo Brown donated her file of Jackson Knight letters and photographs in November 1990.

Other Finding Aids


Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL arrangements apply