A L Rowse: ephemera collection

Scope and Content

The collection consists of an architectural plan for a memorial to A L Rowse at Truro Cathedral designed by John Phillips, architect, April 1999. The plaque was unveiled in February 2000, in the Jesus Chapel of Truro Cathedral. This plaque stands alongside those previously erected in honour of Richard Trevithick, Sir Arthur Quiller Couch and Charles Henderson.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alfred Leslie Rowse (1903-1997), historian, poet, diarist, biographer and critic, was born in Tregonissey near St. Austell, Cornwall, to Dick Rowse (china-clay worker) and Annie Vaston. He attended St. Austell grammar school and won a scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford, gaining a first class honours degree in history in 1925 when he was also elected Fellow of All Souls, Oxford (the first man from a working-class background to do so). It was during this period that he established so many of the social contacts with academic, political and literary circles within which he was to move for the remainder of his life. He stood unsuccessfully for parliament at Penryn and Falmouth in 1931 and 1935. He became Sub-Warden of the All Souls but was defeated in his election as Warden in 1952, shortly after which he retired to Trenarren, his Cornish home, for the remainder of his life.

He began to publish relatively late in life, with his first commercial full-length historical monograph 'Sir Richard Grenville of the Revenge' being published in 1937. 'Tudor Cornwall' (1941) further strengthened his reputation and readership. He produced a tremendous output of works on both history and Shakespeare between the 1950s and 1980s, and published 65 of his 105 books after the age of 65.

He was awarded an Honorary doctorate by the University of Exeter in 1960, was elected to Athenaeum under Rule II in 1972, received the Benson Medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1982 and was made a Companion of Honour in 1996, a year before his death in 1997.

John Phillips (1926-2004), architect, was educated in London and undertook his architectural training at the Northern Polytechnic. He worked for Milner and Craze on church restorations from 1948 to 1952. Following three years in a general architectural office (Douglas J. D. Wood) he set up his own practice in 1955. In 1960 he was appointed as Surveyor of the Fabric of Truro Cathedral. He continued to work as a consultant on the Cathedral until his death in 2004.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Professor Philip Payton, Institute of Cornish Studies, Tremough Campus.

Other Finding Aids

One item only.

Archivist's Note

Description created by Rob Ford, 20 Apr 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EUL restrictions apply.

Related Material

Further material on A L Rowse is held at University of Exeter, Special Collections at locations: EUL MS 113, MS 116, MS 201, MS 244, MS 286, MS 289, MS 291.


It is not known if this item has resulted in publication.