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Papers of Kenneth Norman Bell (1884-1951), Balliol 1903, Fellow of Balliol 1919-1941

Biographical information

Born 3 September 1884, son of A.G. Bell, landscape painter, Southborne, Hants. 

Educated at Berkhamsted.  Balliol 1903-07 (tutors: A.L Smith, F.F. Urquhart, H.W.C. Davis); Brackenbury Scholar; 1st Modern History, and B.A., 1906; M.A. 1911.  (Later Honorary Secretary, 1927-50, and Vice-President, 1950-1, of the Balliol Society, which he initiated in 1926.) 

Married Esther Gertrude, daughter of Lt.-Col. S.W. Bell: three sons, five daughters.  Son, O.S. Bell, Balliol 1932. 

Fellow of All Souls 1907-14; Lecturer in History, Toronto University 1909-11; Director of G. Bell and Sons Ltd., Publishers, London, 1912-14. 

Lieutenant, 1st London Royal Garrison Artillery, August 1914; France and Belgium; won the Military Cross in the Salient, 17 December 1917.  Major. 

Tutorial Fellow, Balliol College 1919-41; Senior Proctor 1926; Beit Lecturer in Colonial History, Oxford 1924-7; A.L. Smith Memorial Fellow 1927; Jowett Fellow 1931; Examiner in Modern History 1930-33; Vice-Chairman, Oxford Appointments Committee.  Resigned his Fellowship in 1941.    

L.C.C. Rest Centre Service 1940-1, and Supervisor 1942-3 - service in the East End during the Blitz. 

Ordained 1946; Vicar of Binley, Coventry, until a few weeks before his death, when he resigned his charge through ill-health. 

Died 13 October 1951.  

Publications include:

Mediaeval Europe 1095-1254 (1911). 

Documents on British Colonial History, ed. with W.P. Morrell (Balliol 1923) (1928). 

Belief in Action, with a memoir of the author by A.L. Poole (1952). 

See also:"The joys and sorrows of a "Town Major" in France": TS of an article from the Nineteenth Century vol. 81 (stored in Balliol Pamphlets). 


For further information

See:Balliol College Record September 1951, for his obituary (pp.28-30). 

Balliol College Register 1900-1950.

John Jones, Balliol College: A History 1263-1939 (1988). 


In Balliol's Modern Manuscripts collections, see also:

  • Correspondence collections. 
  • Pyper papers. 

Summary list of KN Bell Papers

I. Courses of Lectures

1. Period 1414-1559

2. Period 1414-1559, but only 15th century

3. Period 1414-1559, but only 15th century

4. Foreign history 1494-1648 (January 1921)

5. Lollardy and the Reformation

6. Notes for Lollardy and the Reformation

7. Cromwell & the Protectorate

8. Cromwell and Charles II, 1654-1663

9. Colonial administration in the 19th century

II. Notes & Papers

10. Dr John Bell - TS with mss & some documents

11-14. Whitgift

15-18. chronological scheme re Whitgift

19. Cartwright

20. Lectures on Puritanism (part)

21. Box - 'Lectures & notes'.

III. Mark books

22. Mark book October 1919

23. Mark book Hilary 1921

24. Mark book Michaelmas 1922

25. Mark book Michaelmas 1925 - Michaelmas 1926

26. Mark book Michaelmas 1927

27. Mark book Michaelmas 1930-1935

- end of list -


- EV Quinn and Rachel Kemsley, 1990s.

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