Frank Swinnerton: Letters to Morchard Bishop

Scope and Content

Letters from Frank Swinnerton to Oliver Stonor under his pen-name of Morchard Bishop, all headed 'Old Tokefield, Cranleigh, Surrey', together with a few press cuttings.

83 letters from Frank Swinnerton to Morchard Bishop, 23 Feb. 1951 to 22 Nov. 1980.

2 letters (numbered 34 and 35) from Frank Swinnerton to Mrs J. Lewis, sent by her to Morchard Bishop, 24 Feb. 1954.

4 letters (numbered 85 to 88) from Olivia Swinnerton to Morchard Bishop, 21 Oct. 1982 to 7 Feb. 1983.

Press cuttings and copies of press cuttings, the originals dating from c. 1972-1983.

Administrative / Biographical History

Frank Arthur Swinnerton (1884-1982) was born in Wood Green, London, on 12 August 1882. He left school at the age of 14 and became a clerk at J.M. Dent, publishers, then reader at Chatto and Windus, where he discovered Daisy Ashford's The young visiters . He embarked on a career as a full time novelist and settled in the village of Cranleigh, Surrey. Swinnerton wrote nearly fifty books, starting with The merry heart in 1909 and ending with Arnold Bennett: a last word in 1978. His most famous books were Nocturne (1917) and The Georgian literary scene (1935). He knew many contemporary writers and publishers, and was especially close to Arnold Bennett, H.G. Wells and Martin Secker. He was closely involved with the journal John O'London's weekly, writing 'Letters from Gog to Magog', and also wrote reviews for many publications, as well as making some radio broadcasts. He was President of the Royal Literary Fund between 1962 and 1966. Swinnerton married Mary Dorothy Bennett, and had one surviving child, Olivia.

Oliver Stonor, who wrote under the name of Morchard Bishop, collaborated with Frank Swinnerton on John O'London's weekly and frequently turned to Swinnerton for advice on his own relatively unsuccessful literary career. He wrote a number of books, the most successful of which was Blake's Hayley (1951).


The letters and cuttings are in chronological order. The letters have been numbered 1-88, probably by Bishop, who also annotated them.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Purchased 1986.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.

Related Material

Frank Swinnerton sold his collected correspondence to the University of Arkansas in 1963.