A L Rowse: ephemera collection

Scope and Content

Photocopy article by Rowse 'Our local heritage and how to keep it', St. Austell Hospital Saturday Handbook, 1927; letter from Prof Geoffrey Bolton to Payton discussing Rowse's attempts to encourage research on the Cornish in Australia, 1978.

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.

Philip Payton is Professor and Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at the University of Exeter in Cornwall. He obtained his first degree from the University of Bristol, UK in 1975 and his doctorate from the University of Adelaide, Australia. In 1979 he joined the Royal Navy as an officer in the education specialisation, and in 1989 was appointed Senior Lecturer of History and International Affairs at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

He received his second doctorate, from the University of Plymouth in 1990, and joined the University of Exeter as Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies in 1991. He was promoted Reader in 1995 and Professor in 2000. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.

The author/editor of some thirty books, both academic and popular, he has written widely on Cornish subjects. He also edits 'Cornish Studies: Journal of the Institute of Cornish Studies'.

Geoffrey Curgenven Bolton (1931-) is an Australian historian. He was born in Claremont, Perth, Western Australia. He has authored 13 books since 1952, including Edmund Barton: The One Man for the Job (a biography of Australia's first Prime Minister), which was awarded the NSW Premier's Centenary of Federation award 2001. He currently acts as Chairperson of the Western Australian Maritime Museum's Archaeology Advisory Committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London), Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Fellow of the Australian Humanities Academy, and Fellow of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society. In 2005, Bolton was named Western Australia's 2006 Australian of the Year.

Access Information

Usual EUL arrangements apply.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Prof Philip Payton, Institute of Cornish Studies, Tremough Campus, 2005.

Other Finding Aids

Two items only.

Archivist's Note

Description created by Rob Ford, 11 Mar 2007. Updated by Rob Ford, 30 Mar 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.


It is not known whether this item has been used as a basis for publication.