Turville-Petre Memorandum

Scope and Content

Typescript memorandum by Mr Gabriel Turville-Petre, of the Foreign Office Research Department, 'A Description of the Faeroe (sic) Islands'. Concerning the geography, history, administration, trade and economy of the Islands.

Administrative / Biographical History

Edward Oswald Gabriel Turville-Petre F.B.A. (known as Gabriel) was Professor of Ancient Icelandic Literature and Antiquities at the University of Oxford. He wrote numerous books and articles in English and Icelandic on literature and religious history. He was born into a Catholic, landed gentry family in England, the fourth of the five children of Oswald and Margaret Petre (ne Cave). His older brother was the archaeologist Francis Turville-Petre. Gabriel was born at the ancestral home of Bosworth Hall, Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire in 1908. He was educated at Ampleforth College and at Christ Church, Oxford University. He studied for a B.Litt in English from 1931 1934 and was supervised by J. R. R. Tolkien. He studied Icelandic and early Scandinavian literature and traditions from an early age, first in England and later in Iceland (where he spent several years) and in other northern countries. Turville-Petre married Joan Elizabeth Blomfield on 7 Jan 1943. They had three sons: Thorlac Francis Samuel (born 6 Jan 1944), Merlin Oswald (born 2 Jul 1946) and Brendan Arthur Auberon (born 16 Sep 1948). Turville-Petre was appointed the first Vigfusson Reader in Ancient Icelandic Literature and Antiquities at Oxford University in 1941, and was appointed Professor in 1953. He held the position until his retirement in 1975. He was created a Knight of the Falcon (Iceland), a member of the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy (Sweden), and an honorary Life Member of the Viking Society for Northern Research. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1973. Turville-Petre bequeathed his personal library to the English Faculty Library of Oxford University (Icelandic Collections).

Access Information


The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Presented by Mrs Joan Turville-Petre in 1981, via the Scandinavian Dept. UCL.

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description

Related Material

University College London, Special Collections also holds Sverre Patursson's correspondence relating to farming communities of the Faroe Islands, also some postcards (MS ADD 264).