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Papers of Arthur Spring-Rice Pyper


Biographical note

Born 5th May 1916. Eldest son of H.S-R. Pyper, a schoolmaster of Belfast. Educated: Shrewsbury, Balliol 1935-1939. 3rd in Modern History 1939. Tutors: V.H. Galbraith, K.N. Bell. AP also taught by J.E.C. Hill, R.W. Southern and B.H. Sumner. MA 1965. Eight (Captain of Boats). Assistant Master of three Prep. Schools; Merchiston, Charterhouse; Headmaster of Stoke House, Seaford (amalgamated with Brunswick School, East Grinstead 1965) 1947-1972. Retired through blindness 1972. Married Rosemary Isabel, daughter of Major R.H. Ferguson 1940. 2 sons, 3 daughters. Son M.C.S-R. Pyper Balliol 1968.


Mr. Pyper donated the collection, which mainly consists of his undergraduate work, to the college in June 1992, having written to Dr. John Jones, Dean and Archivist. The papers came to the college via Robin Darwall-Smith, who had been taught Greek by Mr. Pyper, and who was working at the college at the time as an archivist for the Jowett Collection, and his father, a close friend of Mr. Pyper.


As well as containing undergraduate essays, exams and notes for various Modern History papers, the collection also contains the manuscript of a speech given by Mr. Pyper to the Leonardo Society, a Balliol society open to students of all schools, whose members held debates and gave papers on "academic subjects." Mr. Pyper was an active member of the society and in 1938 gave a paper strongly stating the Protestant case for the existence of Northern Ireland. His opponent in the debate was the New Zealander Dan Davin, who went on to become a renowned writer and a Fellow of Balliol. In the audience was Dennis Healey, who briefly recalled the debate in his autobiography The Time of My Life.

The undergraduate work which forms the majority of the collection is divided into broad areas of study in which Mr. Pyper took papers, and then into divisions of essays, exams and notes. The essays have been arranged within these areas in groups according to when they were written, and where a set of notes obviously applies to a group of essays, the notes have been listed directly after the relevant group of essays.

Note also that the exam papers in the collection are "collections," internal college exams usually set at the beginning of term, since marked and corrected answer scripts for public examinations are not returned to students.

Also kept in Box 1 of the collection is a photocopy of "Remembering Other Springs", an article by Mr. Pyper which appeared in The Balliol College Record for 1992. This is an extract from a longer memoir by Mr. Pyper of his time at Balliol, and the full version can be found in the college archive.

Abbreviation: AP Arthur Pyper.


A: Leonardo Society Ireland Debate, 1938.

  • 1. 1 AMS of "Ireland Today", AP's speech as part of Leonardo Soc. debate on Ireland, 26 Jan. 1938. Dated by AP January 18th 1938. 25 l.
  • 2. 1 photocopied extract from Leonardo Society Minutes, 1931-1939, on the Ireland debate between AP and Dan Davin. 2 l.
  • 3. 1 photocopied extract from Dennis Healey's The Time of My Life, recalling the Leonardo Society debate. 1 l.

B: Political Science: Essays, Notes, Exams.

  • 1. 4 AMS ink essays, Oct.-Nov. 1936. Only ii has pencilled comments by a tutor. [This implies that AP generally read his essays out in the tutorial rather than handing them in.]
    • i). "How I Define Liberalism." 15 Oct. 1936. 5 l.
    • ii). "The State of Nature." 29 Oct. 1936. 8 l.
    • iii). "What importance do you attatch to the notion of Sovereignty in Political Theory?" 13 Nov. 1936. 4 l.
    • iv). "The Idea of Kingship." 26 Nov. 1936. 6 l.
  • 2. 10 AMS ink essays, Jan.-June 1938. These essays have no comments by tutors. Most have pencilled tutorial notes and notes on the next week's reading, added by AP after the essay was finished. [This implies that they were read out.]
    • i). "The Value of the Study of History." 20 Jan 1938. 5 l.
    • ii). "Are you ever justified in Rebelling?" 31 Jan. 1938. 4 l.
    • iii). "Have you any Natural Rights?" 6 Feb. 1938. 5 l.
    • iv). "On what grounds is the State's Right of Punishment Justified?" 14 Feb. 1938. 6 l.
    • v). "Compare and Contrast Hobbes' and Rousseau's Conception of the Liberty of the Subject." 20 Feb. 1938. 5 l.
    • vi). "Aristotle was right, but he mistook the effect for the cause." 26 Feb. 1938. 5 l.
    • vii). "Do you believe in Private Property?" 6 Mar. 1938. 5 l.
    • viii). "Providential Conservatism: Do you agree that this was the basis of Burke's Political Philosophy?" 1 May 1938. 7 l.
    • ix). "The Merits and Demerits of John Stuart Mill's Conception of Liberty." 30 May 1938. 7 l.
    • x). "The Theory of Fascism." 12 June 1938. 10 l.
  • 3. AMS pencil notes and essay plans for essays i-vii above. 11 l.
  • 4. 1 AMS ink essay, "Comparison of Aristotle with Hobbes and Rousseau." 1st page missing, undated. Many tutor's comments, some abrasive (by V.H. Galbraith?). 24 l.
  • 5. 1 TS Political Science exam paper, annotated by tutor. Undated. 2 l. [The presence of AP's answers indicates that this was probably a college collection paper.] AMS ink answers to the above exam. 3 questions answered. Many tutor's comments. 15 l.
  • 6. 5 sets of AMS ink notes on Political Science texts.
    • i). "Social Contract." Notes on R. (Rousseau?) 7 l.
    • ii). Aristotle: Politics. Notes on the Everyman Edition edited by A.S. Lindsay. 10 l.
    • iii). Hobbes' Leviathan, chs. XII-XXX. 8 l.
    • iv). Zimmern, The Greek Commonwealth. 3 l.
    • v). Barker, The Political Thought of Plato and Aristotle. 7 l.
  • 7. 1 AMS pencil Political Science reading list. Undated. 1 l.
  • 8. 1 TS set of notes "European Thought and Opinion 1492-1564." Divided into 14 topics. [Handouts from a lecture course?] 14 l.

C: English History, Anglo-Saxon - 14th Century: Essays, Exams

  • 1. 3 AMS ink essays, Feb.-June 1937.
    • i). "How far were the Danes absorbed into English Political History before the Norman Conquest?" 11 Feb. 1937. A few pencil corrections. 5 l.
    • ii). "The Influence of the Hundred Years War on Domestic Policy." 26 May 1937. 5 l.
    • iii). "The Peasants' Revolt." 13 June 1937. 5 l.
  • 2. 6 AMS ink essays, Jan.-Feb. 1939. All have some pencilled tutor's comments.
    • i). "In what sense was the 10th century decisive in the history of English administration?" 27 Jan. 1939. 4 l.
    • ii). "What were the chief features of the Foreign Policy of Henry I?" 2 Feb. 1939. 4 l.
    • iii). "Was Cnut or Godwin the more Significant figure in English History?" 3 Feb. 1939. 3 l.
    • iv). "Would you agree with the view that the Common Law of England is based upon the Legislation and Reforms of Henry II?" 10 Feb. 1939. 3 l.
    • v). "Can the attitude of King John to the Church be fairly described as an anticipation of the attitude of Henry VIII?" 17 Feb. 1939. 6 l.
    • vi). "The relations between military organisation and social conditions in The Hundred Years War." 24 Feb. 1939. 3 l.
  • 3. 2 AMS ink essays, undated. Both have pencilled tutor's comments.
    • i). "The Sources of English History 600-900AD." 3 l.
    • ii). "The Character and Policy of Edward I." 5 l.
  • 4. 1 AMS ink set of 5 short essays on legal and social issues of the Norman period, undated. All have pencilled tutor's comments.
    • i). "Describe the methods employed to maintain peace and bring criminals to justice in the Norman Period." 2 l.
    • ii) "The Importance of the Legislative Work of Henry II." 2 l.
    • iii). "In every direction the force of feudalism was limited and checked by other ideas." 2 l.
    • iv). "Give Some Account of the Rights and Duties of a Baron in the Time of Henry II." 2 l.
    • v). "To what extent was feudal tenure modified by the legislation of Edward I's reign?" 2 l.
  • 5. Undated exams. TS exam papers and AMS ink answers, with pencilled tutor's comments. [The presence of AP's answers suggest these were college collection papers.]
    • i). English History I: From the beginning to 1307. Exam paper, 2 l. Answers to 3 questions, 23 l.
    • ii). English Political History to 1307. Exam paper, 2 l. Answers to 3 questions, 11 l.

D: English History 15th-17th Century: Essays, Exams, Notes.

  • 1. 2 AMS ink essays, 1936. (One is undated.)
    • i). "Was Wolsey greater as an Administrator or a Diplomatist?" 4 May 1936. 3 l.
    • ii). "Who governed England under The Tudors?" 4 l.
  • 2. 7 AMS ink essays Oct.-Dec. 1937. Most with some pencilled tutor's comments.
    • i). "How far did Henry VII lay the foundations of the Tudor system of Government?" 18 Oct. 1937. 6 l.
    • ii). "What was involved in the Assumption of the Royal Supremacy of the Church?" 25 Oct. 1937. 7 l.
    • iii). "The Break Up of the Village." 2 Nov. 1937. 5 l.
    • iv). "The Condition of the Poor in Tudor times and the steps taken to deal with them." 7 Nov. 1937. 8 l.
    • v). "The Domestic System." 17 Nov. 1937. 8 l.
    • vi). "How far can there be said to have been a Parliamentary Opposition to Elizabeth?" 22 Nov. 1937. 7 l.
    • vii). "The Interrelations between Religion and Economics in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," 2 Dec. 1937. 6 l.
  • 3. 2 AMS ink essays on the Cromwells, Nov. 1938. [These were probably for a Special/Further Paper rather than for the general English History papers.]
    • i). "Richard Cromwell: How far is his failure due to personal defects?" 7 Nov. 1938. 7 l.
    • ii). "Why did Cromwell prefer the French to the Spanish Alliance?" 20 Nov. 1938. Some pencilled tutor's comments at end. 8 l.
  • 4. 3 sets of AMS ink answers to textual extract questions on Prothero, Gardiner and Robertson, Feb.-Mar. 1939. Pencilled tutor's comments. [The format of these suggests that they were for a Special or Further Subject.]
    • i) Prothero and Gardiner, comments on 13 extracts. 20 Feb. 1939. 10 l.
    • ii). Grant Robertson, comments on 6 extracts. 1 Mar. 1939. 4 l.
    • iii). Prothero, Gardiner, Robertson, answers to 4 questions. No date, 20 l. [This may be a set of exam answers.]
  • 5. 6 AMS ink undated short essays, mainly on 17th-18th C. history.
    • i). "What were the chief Constitutional Results of the Great Rebellion?" 2 l.
    • ii). "Discuss briefly the origin of the Star Chamber and its claim to be the `Poor Man's Court'." 2 l.
    • iii). "Military Law." 2 l.
    • iv). "The House of Lords." 2 l, incomplete.
    • v). "Trace the chief steps that have been taken in the direction of Religious Toleration since the Restoration," 3 l.
    • vi). "The Prayer Book." 4 l.
  • 6. Exams. TS exam papers, AMS ink answers with tutor's comments. [The presence of AP's answers suggest that these exams were college collections.]
    • i). Cromwell, Ludlow, Burnett. 31 Oct. 1938. Exam paper 1 l, answers 8 l.
    • ii). Gardiner Documents and Guizot. 14 Nov. 1938. Exam paper 1 l, answers 7 l. [The above 3 exams feature extracts from texts rather than essay questions. This suggests that they were Special or Further Subjects rather than general English History papers.]
    • iii). Protectorate and Restoration. 16 Jan. 1939. Exam paper 1 l, answers to 3 questions 15 l. [The title of this paper and the detail of the questions suggest that it was a Special or Further Subject.]
    • iv). English History 1485-1688. No date. Exam paper 1 l, answers to 3 questions 13 l.
    • v). English History 1485-1688. No date. Exam paper missing, answers to 3 questions 12 l.
  • 7. AMS pencil notes on the Clarendon State Papers. 6 l.
  • 8. TS notes [tutor's handouts?] from 2 lectures; "Lecture VI: The Church" and "Lecture VIII: Elizabeth and James I." No date. 4 l.

E: English History Late 17th-20th Century: Essays, Exams, Notes.

  • 1. 4 AMS ink essays, Sept.-Dec. 1936. None have tutor's comments. [This suggests AP read them out in tutorials.]
    • i). "In what respects, if any, did the House of Commons need reforming in the last thirty years of the Eighteenth Century?" 4 Sept. 1936. 8 l.
    • ii). "In what sense, if any, was Walpole Prime Minister?" 21 Oct. 1936. 5 l.
    • iii). "Compare the England of 1846 with the England of 1815." 18 Nov. 1936. 9 l, plus extra paragraph added later attached to third leaf.
    • iv). "Why were the Tories never in Power between 1846 and 1874?" 1 Dec. 1936. 7 l.
  • 2. 4 AMS ink essays, May-June 1938. Only i has any tutor's comments, ii-iv have pencilled tutorial notes by AP.
    • i). "Dutch William was a Better Englishman than Charles II." 4 May 1938. 5 l.
    • ii). "What is the significance of Bolingbroke's character and career? What contribution did he make to Political practice and theory? Was he a `Solemn Trifler' (Morley)?" 11 May 1938. 6 l.
    • iii). "Compare Carteret and Chatham with special reference to their foreign and Imperial Policies." 1 June 1938. 6 l.
    • iv). "What new contribution was made to Politics and Political Theory by the Rockingham Whigs between 1760 and 1782, with special reference to Edmund Burke?" 8 June 1938. 9 l.
  • 3. 1 TS exam paper: English History III: 1660-1914. Annotated by tutor. Undated. 2 l. AMS ink answers to 3 questions on above exam [probably a college collection]. Many tutor's comments. Undated. 12 l.
  • 4. English history notes.
    • i). AMS pencil notes on Ponsonby on Queen Victoria, Trevelyan's British History in the 19th Century, D.C. Somerville's Disraeli and Gladstone. Dated in ink on first leaf September 1938. 30 l.
    • ii). AMS pencil and ink notes on Chatham, from Tout. 3 l.
    • iii). AMS pencil notes on Charles II. 1 l.
    • iv). AMS ink reading list: "English III." Undated.

F: European History 16th-18th Century: Essays, Exams, Notes.

  • 1. 7 AMS ink essays, Jan.-Mar. 1938. Most do not have tutor's comments, all have pencil notes by AP at the end.
    • i). "Estimate the part played by religion in the earlier stages of the Netherlands Revolt, down to 1572." 24 Jan. 1938. 5 l.
    • ii). "How do you account for the failure to form a United Netherlands State between 1576 and 1578?" 25 Jan. 1938. 6 l.
    • iii). "Was Gustavus Adolphus' Intervention in Germany dictated by Protestant or Swedish motives?" 2 Feb. 1938. 4 l.
    • iv). "What would Richelieu have thought of the Policy of Mazarin?" 9 Feb. 1938. 5 l.
    • v). "Colbert's Policy Would have failed without Louis XIV's Wars." 16 Feb. 1938. 6 l.
    • vi). "Was attack the best form of defence for Sweden after 1660?" 9 Mar. 1938. Some pencilled tutor's comments. 8 l.
    • vii). "How far was the difference in the History of Brandenburg and Poland in the second half of the Seventeenth Century due to the fact that Brandenburg discovered a Great Elector and Poland did not discover a Great King?" 1 Mar. 1938. 10 l.
  • 2. AMS pencil and ink notes and essay plans for the above 7 essays. 23 l.
  • 3. 1 AMS ink essay, "The Assassination of Henry IV Saved him from plunging France into a war which would have destroyed all his past work." 18 Nov. 1938. Pencil notes by AP at end. 6 l.
  • 4. Exams. 3 sets of AMS ink answers to European History papers [probably college collections], with tutor's comments and corrections. Exam question papers for ii and iii are missing. All undated.
    • i) General History Period VI. TS exam paper 1 l. Answers to 4 questions: 24 l.
    • ii). General History Period VI. Answers to 3 questions: 8 l.
    • iii). General History Period VI. Answers to 4 questions: 18 l.
  • 5. AMS ink notes on Cambridge Modern History Vol. V, Ogg's Bourbon and Hapsburg and The Dutch Republic and Edmundson's A History of Holland. 16 l.
  • 6. 1 exercise book with AMS pencil notes on Germany 1805-1890.
  • 7. 1 AMS pencil European History reading list. Undated. 1 l.

G: Miscellaneous Notes, Reading Lists.

  • 1. 1 AMS ink reading list for English III, Protectorate and Political Theory papers. Dated by AP "Summer Vac 1938." 1 l.
  • 2. 1 AMS pencil list of reading and work to be done for English I, II, III, Special Subject and European papers. Undated. 1 l.
  • 3. AMS ink notes on "Industrial Occupations 1924-1931." Undated. 4 l.
  • 4. 1 TS exam question paper: "Sea-Power: Insularity: Democracy." Undated. 2 l.
  • 5. AMS ink and pencil notes on various topics and various exercises [school work?] including Greek and Latin proses, notes on the Gospels, Shakespeare, etc. 99 l.

H: Correspondence on the Pyper Collection.

1. 1 TLS from AP to Dr. John Jones on the donation and content of the collection. 26 June 1992. 1 l. AS note from Robin Darwall-Smith to Dr. Jones attached. 16 July 1992. 1 l.

2. 1 ALS from Dr. Jones to the library about the Pyper Collection. 22 July 1992. 1 l.


In December 1992, having read the catalogue, Mr. Pyper supplied the following information about his work and the tutors who taught him.

1). His essays were always read out to tutors, and were usually handed in to the tutors after reading.

2). Mr. Pyper recalled the following tutors for various parts of his course:

  • B1 (Political Science 1936): Probably K.N. Bell.
  • C2 (English History 1939): Probably R.W. Southern.
  • C3 (English History, undated): Probably V.H. Galbraith.
  • C4 (Short Norman era essays): Probably V.H. Galbraith.
  • D3 (Cromwell era essays 1938): Probably J.E.C. Hill.
  • E1 (English History 1936): Probably B.H. Sumner.
  • E2 (English History 1938): Probably A.L. Rowse, All Souls.
  • F1 (European History 1938): Probably A.L. Rowse, All Souls.

- Tim Procter, Modern MSS Asst, October 1992.

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