Rupert Bruce-Mitford

Rupert Leo Scott Bruce-Mitford, FBA, FSA (14 June 1914 – 10 March 1994) was a British archaeologist and scholar, best known for his multi-volume publication on the Sutton Hoo ship burial. He was a noted academic as the Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge University from 1978 to 1979, in addition to appointments at All Souls College, Oxford, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Rupert Bruce-Mitford
Rupert Bruce-Mitford.jpg
Born14 June 1914
Streatham, London, England
Died10 March 1994(1994-03-10) (aged 79)
Kathleen Dent
(m. 1941⁠–⁠1972)
Marilyn Luscombe
(m. 1975⁠–⁠1984)
Margaret Adams
(m. 1988⁠–⁠1994)
Rupert Bruce-Mitford - Signature.svg

Bruce-Mitford worked for the British Museum in the Department of British and Mediaeval Antiquities from 1938 and, following the bequest of the Sutton Hoo Treasure to the nation, was charged with leading the project to study and publish the finds. This he did through four decades at the museum. He also became president of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Apart from military service in the Second World War he worked at the British Museum continuously until 1977, including two keeperships, and finally as a research keeper. Bruce-Mitford also held the titles secretary, and later vice-president, of the Society of Antiquaries, and president of the Society for Medieval Archaeology. He was responsible for translating Danish archaeologist P. V. Glob's book The Bog People (1965) into English.

Early life and backgroundEdit

Rupert Leo Scott Bruce-Mitford was born on 14 June 1914 at 1 Deerhurst Road, Streatham, London.[1] Following Terence, Vidal and Alaric (Alex), he was the fourth of four sons born to Eustace and Beatrice Jean Bruce-Mitford.[2] Family tradition has it that Rupert's brothers were responsible for his given names, selecting them from their reading: Rupert from Anthony Hope's Rupert of Hentzau, Leo from Rider Haggard's She, and Scott from either Robert Falcon Scott's diary, or his "Message to England".[3]

Bruce-Mitford's paternal great-grandparents, George and Elizabeth Beer, sailed to the Godavari River Delta in India to work as missionaries in 1836;[4] their two sons, John William and Charles Henry, continued the calling, while their two daughters married school teachers in the area.[5] In 1866 John Beer married Margaret Anne Midford, the daughter of an English family living in Machilipatnam.[6] They had five children, including in 1871 Herbert Leonard and in 1875 Charles Eustace, Rupert Bruce-Mitford's father.[6] The family returned to Devon in 1884, when John Beer fell ill.[6] He died shortly after arrival; his wife returned to India, but died there four years later.[6] Eustace Beer, Rupert Bruce-Mitford later wrote, was "himself twice orphaned while still a small boy".[6] By 1891 he was in England, having returned, or never left following his father's death.[6] After studying in Exeter he taught English and Classics at Blackburn Grammar School, but then sailed from Genoa in 1901 to teach at the "School for European Boys" founded by his brother Herbert in Weihaiwei, China.[7] He left less than nine months later, however, departing to Japan.[8] As Rupert Bruce-Mitford later wrote, he departed "with ambitions to set up his own school, and devise its curriculum and ethos according to his own ideas".[8]

Shortly before his 1902 departure to China, Eustace Beer adopted the surname Bruce-Mitford—perhaps indicative of his desire to separate himself from his family's missionary past.[8] "Mitford" was a take on "Midford", his mother's maiden name, and perhaps not unintentionally, that of the unrelated Algernon Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale, whose name carried respect in the British expatriate community in Japan.[9] "Bruce" may have been taken from Major Clarence Dalrymple Bruce, an acquaintance who commanded the Weihaiwei Regiment.[10] In Japan Eustace founded the Yokohama Modern School, which targeted the sons of English, or English-speaking, businessmen and missionaries.[10] In 1903, and likely on the basis of his book and articles on Weihaiwei,[11][12][13] he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society; he subsequently became interested in geography and vulcanology, and in 1905 and 1914 issued additional books on the country.[10][14][15][16]

Eustace Bruce-Mitford had met Beatrice Allison on his ship to Yokohama, and soon after founding his school recruited her as an assistant teacher; they married on 27 July 1904, at Christ Church, Yokohama.[17][note 1] She was the oldest daughter of early settlers of British Columbia, Susan Louisa (née Moir)[20] and John Fall Allison, an explorer, gold prospector, and cattle rancher.[17] In 1908, however, by which time the family had three sons, William Awdry, the Bishop of South Tokyo, announced from the pulpit of Christ Church that "certain marriages of British subjects celebrated in Japan" might not be legally valid, and if so "the couples ... will find that they have been and are living together ... in concubinage and that their children are 'illegitimate'".[21] Though a legal technicality, and one which was remedied by an Act of Parliament in 1912, the announcement disgraced the Bruce-Mitfords, and Eustace lost his leadership of the Yokohama Modern School.[21] He was taken on as an assistant editor by Captain Francis Brinkley, owner and editor of the Japan Mail, though by 1911 had returned to England as a freelance journalist.[22] Rupert Bruce-Mitford was born three years after his family returned from Japan.[23] Three years later, his father left for India to work as an assistant editor at the Madras Mail.[23] Eustace died following a short fever in 1919, when he was forty-four and Rupert five.[23]

Following the death of his father, Bruce-Mitford later wrote, "the family was stranded in London and fell on very hard times".[24][23] His mother then earned roughly £220 a year (equivalent to £13,300 in 2021), of which she lent £120 (equivalent to £7,300 in 2021) to Terence and Vidal, to be repaid after their studies, and spent 16s6d weekly (equivalent to £50 in 2021) for part of a house.[25] Bruce-Mitford was also frequently sick as a child, coming down with scarlet fever and diphtheria when aged two, and influenza when around six.[25] The stresses on the family were substantial, and at one point Beatrice Bruce-Mitford had a breakdown, causing Rupert to be fostered for a time.[26]


Folio 74r of the Ashmole Bestiary, which captured Bruce-Mitford's attention at Oxford

Orphaned and poor, Rupert Bruce-Mitford was educated with the financial support of his mother's cousin.[27] She did so, Bruce-Mitford later wrote, "on one condition – that my father's novel, depicting life in Yokohama at the turn of the century, should be burnt; she thought it immoral and scurrilous".[24][25] Around 1920, Bruce-Mitford was thereby sent to Brightlands preparatory school in Dulwich, London, which his brothers Terence and Alec also attended, receiving scholarships to Dulwich College.[25] Bruce-Mitford was baptised around the same time, perhaps to improve his later chances of admittance to the charity school Christ's Hospital.[25] Five years later the Brightlands headmaster nominated Bruce-Mitford to take an examination for Christ's Hospital.[25] Following success in the examination—covering the compulsory subjects of English, arithmetic and practical mensuration as well as all three optional subjects of Latin, French, and mathematics—and his mother's petition for him "to be Educated and Maintained among other poor Children", he was admitted on 17 September 1925.[25]

Bruce-Mitford was successful, and happy, at Christ's Hospital.[26] He was also introduced to archaeology; in 1930 he participated in a dig with S. E. Winbolt at the Jacobean ironworks in Dedisham, Sussex.[26] Winbolt wrote in the school magazine that "unhappily the 'dig' produced no useful results", but added that "possibly, however, the C.H. diggers learnt something", and named Bruce-Mitford "among willing helpers, mentioned honoris causa".[26] Meanwhile, Bruce-Mitford was active in school events, including playing rugby and cricket, acting in (and directing the orchestra for) John Galsworthy's The Little Man, debating at the Horsham Workers’ Educational Association, and writing his first article, on a ten-day signals camp held over the 1931 summer holiday.[26]

By the time Bruce-Mitford was 16 or 17, his studies had been switched from classics to history; "I was not very good at Greek and Latin", he later wrote, despite devoted tutoring by his brother Terence.[28][26] Around the same time, he came across Samuel Gardner's English Gothic Foliage Sculpture in the school's library,[29] and upon reading it discovered his love of the concrete and visual.[28][30][note 2] In 1933, he was awarded a Baring Scholarship in History to attend Hertford College, Oxford.[26] This was a "surprise", he wrote, "for I never had a head for dates and treaties".[28][26] But at Oxford Bruce-Mitford "fell in love with the atmosphere and smell of the oldest part of the Library where, under the flat-arched 15th century ceiling, cases displaying illuminated manuscripts were set out".[28] One, the twelfth-century Ashmole Bestiary, open to a folio of a red eagle on a background of gold, so captured his attention that "after some weeks I could stand my ignorance and quall my curiosity no longer", and, "[s]crewing up my courage", asked for permission to see it; he remained absorbed in the work through lunch and until evicted at the end of the day.[28][30]

During school vacations, Bruce-Mitford would take the tram to the British Museum, where he spent time in the Reading Room.[28][31] He would also walk around the building, listening to guest lecturers speak on the objects, and particularly enjoying hearing about the Chinese paintings and the Royal Gold Cup.[28][32] In 1936, he took a Second Class in Modern History, and in Michaelmas term began a Bachelor of Letters on "The Development of English Narrative Art in the Fourteenth Century".[32] Bruce-Mitford's supervisor was Robin Flower, deputy keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum.[32] The same year, the University Appointments Board recommended Bruce-Mitford for the curatorship of the Castle Museum, writing that he "would do well in a trading or administrative post, but has an exceptional gift for research, a sphere in which he could do work of outstanding merit".[33][note 3] Though he never finished the B.Litt., he would obtain a Master of Arts in 1961, and a Doctor of Letters in 1987, both from Hertford College.[32]


Ashmolean MuseumEdit

By 1937, Bruce-Mitford had taken a position as a one-year assistant keeper at the Ashmolean Museum.[34] Initial work included rearranging and displaying the museum's collection of medieval pilgrims' badges.[28][34] Soon, however, he was introduced to what would be later termed rescue archaeology, when a group of seventeenth-century houses gave way to a large extension to the Bodleian Library.[28][35] Before the demolition, Bodley's Librarian invited the Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society "to investigate and record any features of architectural or antiquarian interest which are contained in the block of houses ... and also to watch for any finds that may turn up during the demolition of these houses and the subsequent excavations for the foundations of the new building".[36][35] The Society, in turn, created a subcommittee consisting of E. T. Long, Edward Thurlow Leeds, and William Abel Pantin,[36] the latter of whom wrote an article on the houses and commented on the "practical consideration or morals to be drawn" from their destruction.[37][35]

Demolition lasted from December 1936 to March 1937,[38] after which began, according to the geologist William Joscelyn Arkell, "the removal of the greatest quantity of subsoil ... ever taken out of one hole within the City of Oxford".[39][34] Bruce-Mitford was tasked with watching the site during the excavation.[28][34] Much of his work involved waiting for the well in front of each house to be dug out, revealing two or three feet of mud at the bottom, filled with broken medieval pottery and other artefacts.[28][34] He would wait "impotently", he later recalled, for the jaws of the mechanical diggers (which would not wait for the archaeologists) to pick up the mud and transfer it to a lorry; he would then jump aboard, and pick out the artefacts as the lorry made its way "to some gravel hungry site at Cumnor".[28][34] When back at the Ashmolean he would wash the sherds and stick them together.[28][34] Bruce-Mitford's "energy and keen eye captured a treasure chest", the archaeologist Maureen Mellor wrote four decades later.[40] Because the wells would quickly silt up and be replaced by new ones every 50 or so years, Bruce-Mitford found it possible to accurately date pottery within uniquely short time-frames.[41] In 1939, he published an article on the finds, in which he described, among other things, five distinct groups of pottery in their probable chronological order; his brother Alaric provided the illustrations.[42][43] This was "the first serious study of medieval pottery", wrote Mellor, and "has never had to be challenged, although refined and extended".[44][45][46] Bruce-Mitford's work also influenced him, decades later, to create a national reference collection of medieval pottery at the British Museum.[47][48][49][50]

British MuseumEdit

In December 1937, Bruce-Mitford was named assistant keeper (second class)[51] of the then Department of British and Medieval Antiquities at the British Museum.[48] He was possibly helped in this position by his professor from two years previously, Robin Flower,[48] also the deputy keeper of Manuscripts.[32] The following year Bruce-Mitford was reacquainted with archaeological work, spending three weeks with Gerhard Bersu at the Iron Age site Little Woodbury.[52][53][54] "I learned a lot", he later wrote, "and loved being out on the chalk, in the fresh air."[53] There Bruce-Mitford met Charles Phillips, the secretary of The Prehistoric Society (for which Bersu was digging).[52][53]

In 1939 Bruce-Mitford was tasked with leading an excavation, this time at the medieval village of Seacourt.[52] Though Seacourt was a difficult site, Bruce-Mitford thought it would be able to acquire complete ground plans of domestic buildings and of the church.[52][55] It was also, he wrote, "a village deserted, in ruins, and archaeologically sealed within a century of the Black Death"; this precise dating—the village was deserted by 1439—"promised to provide important evidence for specialists in connexion with the chronology of mediaeval pottery and small objects" such as "brooches, ornaments, buckles, fittings of various kinds, shears, horseshoes, [and] nails" the dating of which was "notoriously vague".[56] Excavations wrapped up 15 July 1939,[57] seven weeks before Britain's entry into the Second World War.[58][note 4]

Second World WarEdit

From 1940 to 1946, Bruce-Mitford served in the Royal Corps of Signals.[48] Joining as a lance corporal and initially assigned to a territorial unit in Essex, he transmitted morse code during the day, after which he watched for fires from the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.[58] He was in Catterick Camp in North Yorkshire by autumn,[58] when The Yorkshire Archæological Journal reported that he and his friends cleared out a hypocaust at Middleham, "made plans and took photographs, and, while confirming [John] Topham's observations [from a c. 1882 excavation[60]], added several important details".[61] The photographs were taken by Eric Lomax.[62][63]

Bruce-Mitford was commissioned as a second lieutenant on 1 February 1941,[64][65] a first lieutenant on 1 August 1942, an acting captain on 20 November 1942, and a temporary captain on 26 February 1943.[66][58] By 1943 he was working on the publications staff of the School of Signals at Catterick,[67] where he authored a booklet on wireless communication, attempted to reorganise the Northern Command's signals system, and travelled around Yorkshire by motorcycle, laying cable.[58] From 1943 to 1945, he led parties from the School of Signals to archaeological and other sites across Northern England, including Richmond Castle, Jervaulx Abbey, Easby Parish Church, Stanwick St John, Middleham Castle, and the Georgian Theatre Royal, taking notes and commentaries when there.[68][58]

British Museum againEdit

Bruce-Mitford spent the war awaiting his return to the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities.[69][note 5] As early as 1940, T. D. Kendrick—then Keeper of the department, and later director of the museum—wrote to Bruce-Mitford at his army camp, telling him he would be responsible for the collection of Anglo-Saxon antiquities, the Germanic collections of Europe, and the Late Celtic collections of the British Isles.[70] The letter closed with a warning: "You will also be responsible for Sutton Hoo. Brace yourself for this task."[70] Bruce-Mitford's responsibility for the Anglo-Saxon Sutton Hoo ship-burial, wrote the Oxford scholar Martin Biddle, would become "the defining moment of Rupert's life, his greatest challenge, the source of almost insuperable difficulties, and his greatest achievement".[69] Discharged from the army as an honorary captain in early 1946, Bruce-Mitford immediately returned to the museum.[71][69]

The Sutton Hoo helmet is one of the most iconic finds from the Sutton Hoo ship-burial.

Bruce-Mitford returned to a museum that had suffered during the war.[69] Understaffed and with inadequate facilities, the museum had much of its collection still in storage.[69] The Sutton Hoo finds, excavated in 1939 and nearly immediately taken to the safety of the tunnel connecting the Aldwych and Holborn tube stations,[72] had been returned to the museum only a year or two before.[73][74] Herbert Maryon, a Technical Attaché recruited for the task,[75] set to work restoring what Bruce-Mitford later termed "the real headaches – notably the crushed shield, helmet and drinking horns".[73] "When I began work", he continued, "I sat with Maryon while he took me through the material and with infectious enthusiasm, demonstrated what he was doing".[73] "There followed great days for Sutton Hoo when new, often dramatic, discoveries were being made in the workshops all the time. Built from fragments, astonishing artefacts – helmet, shield, drinking horns, and so on – were recreated."[70]

Early in 1946, Kendrick and Bruce-Mitford placed restored artefacts from Sutton Hoo on display in the museum's King Edward VII Gallery.[76][77][73] In January 1947, Bruce-Mitford was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London,[78] and The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Provisional Guide was published, which he had written and produced during evenings at his kitchen table.[79] The work, wrote Biddle, quickly "turned out to be one of the Museum’s most successful publications ever";[80] by the time the second edition, The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Handbook, was published in 1968, the first had gone through ten impressions. By 1954, he was recognised as the "spiritus rector of present day Sutton Hoo research".[81]

Dozens of articles, chapters, and books on Sutton Hoo would follow. In 1947 he visited Sweden for six weeks at the invitation of the archaeologist Sune Lindqvist, in what Bruce-Mitford would later describe as "one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."[73] There he studied the similar finds from Vendel and Valsgärde, learning Swedish along the way.[80] In 1960 Bruce-Mitford was put in charge of a definitive Sutton Hoo publication,[82][note 6] but before it was completed, from 1965 to 1970 he led another round of excavations at Sutton Hoo to acquire "more information about the mound, the ship and the circumstances of the burial".[86] The first volume of The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial was finally published in 1975,[87] and hailed as "one of the great books of the century" by A. J. Taylor, then president of the Society of Antiquaries.[88] The second volume followed in 1978,[89] and the third volume—published in two parts—came in 1983.[90][91]

In 1955, Bruce-Mitford joined Sir Wilfred Le Gros Clark and H. J. Plenderleith to search Lincoln Cathedral for the burial place of Saint Hugh of Lincoln, although the results were inconclusive.[92][93]

Personal lifeEdit

Bruce-Mitford was married three times, and had three children by his first wife. In 1941 he married Kathleen Dent, with whom he fathered Myrtle (b. 1943), Michael (b. 1946), and Miranda (b. 1951).[58] A professional cellist, Myrtle Bruce-Mitford would herself contribute to the Sutton Hoo finds, being employed by the British Museum to work on the remnants of the lyre and co-authoring a paper with her father.[94] She was also the longtime partner of Nigel Williams,[95] who from 1970 to 1971 reconstructed the Sutton Hoo helmet.[96]

Bruce-Mitford's relationship with Dent was "long in trouble", and he left home in the later 1950s and formed a series of relationships.[97] He married his former research assistant Marilyn Roberta Luscombe on 11 July 1975.[97][98] The two had met eight years prior, when Bruce-Mitford was interviewing her for the position; knowing who Bruce-Mitford was but believing him to be dead, Luscomb said she "quoted at length from one of his archaeological papers" before realizing she was interviewing with him.[98] The marriage was dissolved in 1984,[97] at which point Bruce-Mitford found it necessary to sell his library, which went to Okinawa Christian Junior College in Japan.[99] In 1986 he married for a third time, to Margaret Edna Adams, a child psychiatrist and published poet, whom he had met at Oxford fifty years before.[99]

After years of inherited heart disease, Rupert Bruce-Mitford died of a heart attack on 10 March 1994.[99] He was buried eight days later in the burial ground by St Mary's Church in Bampton, Oxfordshire.[99] The Guardian recalled him as amongst "that tiny band of scholars whose names are linked with great archaeological discoveries".[100] His widow, Margaret Edna Adams, died in 2002.[99]

Bruce-Mitford's first cousin, once removed, is the medieval archaeologist Hugh Willmott.[14][failed verification]



  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1947a). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Provisional Guide. London: Trustees of the British Museum. OCLC 869758063.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (2 November 1951). The Society of Antiquaries of London: Notes on its History and Possessions. London: Society of Antiquaries of London. OCLC 1030053915.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1968). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Handbook. London: Trustees of the British Museum. SBN 7141-1320-4.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1972). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Handbook (2nd ed.). London: Trustees of the British Museum. SBN 7141-1330-1.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1979). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A Handbook (3rd ed.). London: British Museum Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7141-1343-3.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1978a). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 2: Arms, Armour and Regalia. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 9780714113319.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1983a). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 3: Late Roman and Byzantine silver, hanging-bowls, drinking vessels, cauldrons and other containers, textiles, the lyre, pottery bottle and other items. Vol. I. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-0529-5.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1983b). The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial, Volume 3: Late Roman and Byzantine silver, hanging-bowls, drinking vessels, cauldrons and other containers, textiles, the lyre, pottery bottle and other items. Vol. II. London: British Museum Publications. ISBN 0-7141-0530-9.


  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1950). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial". Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. The Royal Institution of Great Britain. XXXIV (III): 440–449.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert; Hill, George Francis (January–April 1950). "A note by Sir George Hill on the Sutton Hoo Treasure Trove Inquest". The Antiquaries Journal. Society of Antiquaries of London. XXX (1–2): 67–68. doi:10.1017/S0003581500088193.  
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (March 1950). "The Problem of the Sutton Hoo Cenotaph". The Archaeological News Letter. Linden Publicity. 2 (10): 166–169.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (4 March 1950). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial". Nature. Nature Publishing Group. CLXV (4192): 339–341. Bibcode:1950Natur.165..339B. doi:10.1038/165339a0.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (April 1950). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: A New Chapter in Anglo-Swedish Relations". The Anglo-Swedish Review. London: The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the United Kingdom: 69–72.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (October–November 1950). "3rd International Congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences, Zurich, August 14th to 19th, 1950". The Archaeological News Letter. Linden Publicity. 3 (5): 78–79.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1951). "Anglo-Saxon Suffolk" (PDF). The Archaeological Journal. Royal Archaeological Institute. CVIII: 132–133.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1951). "A Late-Medieval Chalk-Mine at Thetford" (PDF). Norfolk Archaeology. Norwich: Norfolk and Norwich Archæological Society. XXX (III): 220–222.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (January–April 1951). "A Saxon jewelled circular brooch from Long Bennington, Lincs". The Antiquaries Journal. Society of Antiquaries of London. XXXI (1–2): 67–68. doi:10.1017/S0003581500058005.  
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (March 1951). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial". The American-Scandinavian Review. Princeton, New Jersey: The American-Scandinavian Foundation. XXXIX (1): 27–32.  
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (April 1951). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial". Scientific American. 184 (4): 24–30. Bibcode:1951SciAm.184d..24B. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0451-24. JSTOR 24945139.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "An Anglo-Saxon Gold Pendant from High Wycombe, Bucks". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XV: 72. JSTOR 4422266.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "The Castle Eden Vase". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XV: 73. JSTOR 4422267.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "A Late Saxon Disk-Brooch and Sword Pommel". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XV: 74–75. JSTOR 4422268.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "Other Dark-Age Acquisitions". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XV: 75–76. doi:10.2307/4422395. JSTOR 4422269.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "A Medieval Polychrome Pottery Aquamanile from Stonar, Kent". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XV: 80–81. JSTOR 4422275.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert & King, William (1952). "Medieval Pottery, Tiles, and Glass". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XV: 81–82. JSTOR 4422276.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (June 1952). "A Late-Saxon Silver Disk-Brooch from the Isle of Ely". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XVII (1): 15–16. doi:10.2307/4422367. JSTOR 4422367.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert & Allan, John (June 1952). "Sutton Hoo—A Rejoinder: With a Note on the Coins". Antiquity. XXVI (102): 76–82. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00023619.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (December 1952). "The Fuller Brooch". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XVII (4): 75–76. doi:10.2307/4422395. JSTOR 4422395.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "The Snape Boat-Grave" (PDF). Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Ipswich. XXVI (1): 1–26.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (4 November 1967). "Sutton Hoo Revisited". Archaeological Section No 2277. Illustrated London News. No. 6692. London. pp. 26–27.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (March 1968). "Sutton Hoo". Gypsum Journal. London: The Gypsum Plasterboard Development Association (47): 11–14. OCLC 21731710.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (March 1968). "Sutton Hoo Excavations, 1965–7". Antiquity. XLII (165): 36–39. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00033810.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1969). "The Art of the Codex Amiatinus: Jarrow Lecture 1967". Journal of the British Archaeological Association. XXXII: 1–25. doi:10.1080/00681288.1969.11894883.  
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (Spring 1971). "Envoi". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XXXV (1–4): 8–16. doi:10.2307/4423066. JSTOR 4423066.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (Autumn 1972). "The Sutton Hoo Helmet: A New Reconstruction". The British Museum Quarterly. British Museum. XXXVI (3–4): 120–130. doi:10.2307/4423116. JSTOR 4423116.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (February 1973). "Sutton Hoo drinking horns". The British Museum Society Bulletin (12): 20.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1974b). "Exhibits at Ballots: 5. A replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet made in the Tower Armouries, 1973". The Antiquaries Journal. LIV (2): 285–286. doi:10.1017/S0003581500042529.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1974c). "Exhibits at Ballots: 6. Anglo-Saxon gold sword mount from Maidstone, Kent". The Antiquaries Journal. LIV (2): 286. doi:10.1017/S0003581500042529.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (February 1974d). "The Sutton Hoo Helmet". The British Museum Society Bulletin (15): 6–7.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (March 1975). "New Galleries for Medieval and Later Antiquities". The British Museum Society Bulletin (18): 6–7.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1977). "Obituary: Basil Brown" (PDF). Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Ipswich. XXXIV (1): 71.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (January 1978b). "The Archaeologist". National Magazine Company LTD. London. 49 (1): 68–69.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1980). "Obituary: Leslie Dow, F.S.A" (PDF). Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology. Ipswich. XXXIV (4): 287–288.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (December 1982). "The Sutton Hoo Helmet-Reconstruction and the Design of the Royal Harness and Sword-Belt: A Reply to Hofrat Dr. Ortwin Gamber with some additional comments on the Sutton Hoo Arms and Armour". The Journal of the Arms & Armour Society. London. X (6): 217–274. ISSN 0004-2439.
    • Response to: Gamber, Ortwin (December 1982). "Some Notes on the Sutton Hoo Military Equipment". The Journal of the Arms & Armour Society. London. X (6): 208–216. ISSN 0004-2439.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1989a). "Early Thoughts on Sutton Hoo" (PDF). Saxon (10).
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1989b). Anglo-Saxon and Mediaeval Archaeology, History and Art, with special reference to Sutton Hoo: The highly important Working Library and Archive of more than 6,000 titles formed by Dr. Rupert L.S. Bruce-Mitford FBA, D.Litt., FSA. Wickmere: Merrion Book Co. OCLC 858531182.
    • Includes prefatory essays My Japanese Background and Forty Years with Sutton Hoo by Bruce-Mitford.


  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1952). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial". In Hodgkin, Robert Howard (ed.). A History of the Anglo-Saxons. Vol. II (3rd ed.). London: Oxford University Press. pp. 696–734, 750–756.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1953). "Some recent results of the application of laboratory technique to antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon period in Britain". In Vogt, Emil (ed.). Actes de la IIIe session: Zurich, 1950. Zurich: Congrès International des Sciences Préhistoriques et Protohistoriques. pp. 321–323. OCLC 797756211.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1954). "Preface". In Lasko, Peter (ed.). Catalogue of an Exhibition of Ivory Carvings Lent by the City of Liverpool Public Museums, Mostly from the Mayer-Fejervary Collection. London: Trustees of the British Museum. p. 3. OCLC 30175308.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert, ed. (1956). Recent Archaeological Excavations in Britain: Selected Excavations 1939–1955 with a Chapter on Recent Air-Reconnaissance. New York: Macmillan.
    • Contains Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1956). "A Dark-Age Settlement at Mawgan Porth, Cornwall". In Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (ed.). Recent Archaeological Excavations in Britain: Selected Excavations 1939–1955 with a Chapter on Recent Air-Reconnaissance. New York: Macmillan. pp. 167–196.
      • Briefly summarised in Griffiths, W. E. (May 1955). "The Second Viking Congress". The Archaeological News Letter. Linden Publicity. 5 (1): 17–19.
    • Contains Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1956). "Treasure Trove: A Note on Law and Practice". In Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (ed.). Recent Archaeological Excavations in Britain: Selected Excavations 1939–1955 with a Chapter on Recent Air-Reconnaissance. New York: Macmillan. pp. 297–301.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert & Harden, Donald Benjamin (1956). "Edward Thurlow Leeds: 1877–1955". In Harden, Donald Benjamin (ed.). Dark-Age Britain: Studies presented to E. T. Leeds with a bibliography of his works. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. pp. ix–xvi.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1956). "Late Saxon Disc-Brooches". In Harden, Donald Benjamin (ed.). Dark-Age Britain: Studies presented to E. T. Leeds with a bibliography of his works. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. pp. 171–201.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1956). "The Pectoral Cross". In Battiscombe, Christopher Francis (ed.). The Relics of Saint Cuthbert. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 308–325, 542–544.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1964). "Preface & Appendix B: Iconography of the Fuller Brooch". In Wilson, David M. (ed.). Anglo-Saxon Ornamental Metalwork 700–1100. Catalogue of Antiquities of the Later Saxon Period. Vol. I. London: The Trustees of the British Museum. pp. v, 91–98. OCLC 886634250.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1967). "The Reception by the Anglo-Saxons of Mediterranean Art Following their Conversion from Ireland to Rome". La conversione al Cristianesimo nell'Europa dell'Alto Medioevo: 14–19 aprile 1966. Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo. Vol. 14. Spoleto: Centro Italiano di Studi sull'Alto Medioevo. pp. 797–825.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1967). "The Lindisfarne Gospels". Great Books of Ireland: Thomas Davis Lectures. Dublin: Clonmore & Reynolds Ltd. pp. 26–37. OCLC 20194.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1970). "Preface". In Grohskopf, Bernice (ed.). The Treasure of Sutton Hoo. New York: Atheneum. pp. vii–x.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1971). "Medieval and Later Antiquities". In Francis, Frank (ed.). Treasures of the British Museum. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 179–209. ISBN 0-500-18125-X.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1971). "Sutton Hoo and the Background to the Poem". In Girvan, Ritchie (ed.). Beowulf and the Seventh Century: Language and Content (2nd ed.). London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. pp. 85–98.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1972). "The Dating of the Sutton Hoo Coins: Some Comments". In Hall, E. T. & Metcalf, David Michael (eds.). Methods of Chemical and Metallurgical Investigation of Ancient Coinage: A Symposium Held by the Royal Numismatic Society at Burlington House, London on 9-11 December 1970. Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication. Vol. 8. London: Royal Numismatic Society. pp. 108–109. OCLC 962994865.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1976). "The Chapter House Vestibule Graves at Lincoln and the Body of St. Hugh of Avalon". In Emmison, Frederick & Stephens, Roy (eds.). Tribute to an Antiquary: Essays presented to Marc Fitch by some of his friends. London: Leopard's Head Press. pp. 127–140. ISBN 0-904920-00-3.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1976). "Excavation at the Sutton Hoo Site, England, 1969". In Oehser, Paul Henry (ed.). Abstracts and reviews of research and exploration authorized under grants from the National Geographic Society during the year 1968. National Geographic Society Research Reports. Vol. 9. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. pp. 49–52. LCCN 68-26794. SBN 87044-136-1.  
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1978). "A Comparison Between the Sutton Hoo Burial Deposit and Childeric's Treasure". Actes du Colloque International d'Archéologie, Rouen 3-4-5 Juillet 1975: La Période Mérovingienne. Vol. III. Rouen: Musée départemental des antiquités de Seine-Maritime. pp. 365–372. OCLC 633625288.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1978). "La Matériel archéologique de la sépulture royale de Sutton Hoo (Grand-Bretagne, Suffolk): dernier bilan des recherches" [The archaeological material of the royal burial of Sutton Hoo (Great Britain, Suffolk): latest research report]. In Fleury, Michel & Périn, Patrick (eds.). Problèmes de chronologie relative et absolue concernant les cimetières mérovingiens d'entre Loire et Rhin: Actes du IIe colloque archéologique de la IVe Section de l'Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris, 1973) [Problems of relative and absolute chronology concerning the Merovingian cemeteries between Loire and Rhine: Proceedings of the 2nd archaeological colloquium of the 4th Section of the École pratique des hautes études (Paris, 1973)]. Bibliothèque de l'Ecole des hautes études: IVe Section — Sciences historiques et philologiques (in French). Vol. 326. Paris: Librairie Honoré Champion. pp. 13–17. OCLC 932310155.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert & Wilson, David M. (1979). "Die Angelsachsen" [The Anglo-Saxons]. In Roth, Helmut (ed.). Kunst der Völkerwanderungszeit [Art of the Migration Period]. Propyläen Kunstgeschichte: Supplementbänd (in German). Vol. IV. Berlin: Propyläen Verlag. pp. 206–222. OCLC 1078702695.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1986). "The Sutton Hoo Ship-Burial: Some Foreign Connections". Angli e Sassoni al di qua e al di là del mare: 26 aprile-lo maggio 1984. Settimane di studio del Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo. Vol. XXXII. Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo. pp. 171–210.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1987). "Ireland and the Hanging Bowls—A Review". In Ryan, Michael (ed.). Ireland and Insular Art, A.D. 500–1200: Proceedings of a Conference at University College Cork, 31 October-3 November 1985. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. pp. 30–39. ISBN 0-901714-54-2.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1989). "The Durham-Echternach Calligrapher". In Bonner, Gerald; Rollason, David & Stancliffe, Clare (eds.). St Cuthbert, His Cult and His Community to AD 1200. Woodbridge, Suffolk: The Boydell Press. pp. 175–188. ISBN 0-85115-510-3. LCCN 88-16805.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1991). "Thomas Downing Kendrick: 1895–1979" (PDF). Lectures and Memoirs. Proceedings of the British Academy. Vol. 76. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 445–471. ISBN 0-19-726107-8. ISSN 0068-1202.  



  • "The Sutton Hoo Musical Instrument". Reports of Meetings. The Archaeological News Letter. London: Linden Publicity. 1 (1): 11–13. April 1948.
  • Summary of lecture given by Bruce-Mitford to the Society of Antiquaries of London on 26 February 1948.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (September 1955). "Points from Correspondence". The South African Archaeological Bulletin. Claremont, Cape Town: The South African Archaeological Society. X (39): 104. JSTOR 3887567.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1956). "Preface to Second Edition". In Watson, William (ed.). Flint Implements: An Account of Stone Age Techniques and Cultures. London: The Trustees of the British Museum. p. v.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1967). "Anglo-Saxon Ship-burials". The Twentieth Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts. p. 33.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1968). "Preface to Third Edition". In Watson, William (ed.). Flint Implements: An Account of Stone Age Techniques and Cultures. London: The Trustees of the British Museum. p. 6. SBN 7141-1306-9.
  • Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (1958). "Anglo-Sassoni e Irlandesi Centri e Tradizioni". Enciclopedia Universale dell'Arte (in Italian). Vol. I. Venice: Istituto per la Collaborazione Culturale. col. 408–425, pl. 248–265.


  1. ^ Beatrice Allison was the sister of Rose Isabella Allison, who in May 1898 married Samuel Dickinson Sandes, an English mining engineer.[18] Sandes was the brother of First World War soldier Flora Sandes, about whom Bruce-Mitford may have read as a child.[19]
  2. ^ Writing in 1978, Bruce-Mitford incorrectly recalled the book as English Gothic Stiff-leafed Foliage by W. R. Lethaby.[28][30]
  3. ^ The spot was filled by Allen Grove, however, for the founder, John Kirk, wanted a curator who came with experience in modern museum practices.[33]
  4. ^ Excavations at the site were continued two decades later by Martin Biddle.[59]
  5. ^ Tellingly, though a commissioned officer by the time he first married in November 1941, he still wrote himself down as a civil servant.[69]
  6. ^ Effective 24 February 1954, Bruce-Mitford was appointed Deputy Keeper in the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities;[83][84] he became Keeper of the department that August, taking over from the retiring A. B. Tonnochy.[85]


  1. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 59.
  2. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 59–61.
  3. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 59 & n.4.
  4. ^ Bromley 1937.
  5. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 60.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Biddle 2015, p. 61.
  7. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 61–63.
  8. ^ a b c Biddle 2015, p. 63.
  9. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 63–64.
  10. ^ a b c Biddle 2015, p. 64.
  11. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1902.
  12. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1903a.
  13. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1903b.
  14. ^ a b Biddle, Martin (23 September 2004). "Mitford, Rupert Leo Scott Bruce-". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/54774. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  15. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1905.
  16. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1914.
  17. ^ a b Biddle 2015, p. 65.
  18. ^ Allison 1976, pp. xl, 189, 197.
  19. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 65–66.
  20. ^ Allison 1976.
  21. ^ a b Biddle 2015, p. 66.
  22. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 66–67.
  23. ^ a b c d Biddle 2015, p. 67.
  24. ^ a b Bruce-Mitford 1989b, p. 10.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g Biddle 2015, p. 68.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h Biddle 2015, p. 69.
  27. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 67–68.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Bruce-Mitford 1978b, p. 68.
  29. ^ Gardner 1927.
  30. ^ a b c Biddle 2015, p. 70.
  31. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 70–71.
  32. ^ a b c d e Biddle 2015, p. 71.
  33. ^ a b Brears, Peter (March 1981). "Letters to the Editor". Museums Journal. London: Museums Association. 80 (4): 220. ISSN 0027-416X.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g Biddle 2015, p. 72.
  35. ^ a b c Biddle 2015, pp. 71–72.
  36. ^ a b Oxoniensia 1936.
  37. ^ Pantin 1937, p. 199.
  38. ^ Pantin 1937, p. 171.
  39. ^ Arkell 1938, p. 1.
  40. ^ Mellor 1997, back cover.
  41. ^ Hinton 1977, p. 224.
  42. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1939, pp. 89 n.2, 115.
  43. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 73 n.67.
  44. ^ Mellor 1997, p. 68.
  45. ^ Hinton 1977, pp. 224–225.
  46. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 72–73.
  47. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1978b, pp. 68–69.
  48. ^ a b c d Biddle 2015, p. 73.
  49. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1964a.
  50. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1964c.
  51. ^ "No. 34472". The London Gazette. 11 January 1938. p. 198.
  52. ^ a b c d Biddle 2015, p. 74.
  53. ^ a b c Bruce-Mitford 1978b, p. 69.
  54. ^ Bersu, Gerhard (January–July 1940). "Excavations at Little Woodbury, Wiltshire". Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. London: The Prehistoric Society. VI (1): 30–111. doi:10.1017/S0079497X00020429.  
  55. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1940b, p. 40.
  56. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1940b, pp. 31, 33, 40.
  57. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1940b, p. 33.
  58. ^ a b c d e f g Biddle 2015, p. 75.
  59. ^ Biddle, Martin (1961–1962). "The Deserted Medieval Village of Seacourt, Berkshire" (PDF). Oxoniensia. Oxfordshire Architectural and Historical Society. XXVI–XXVII: 70–201. ISSN 0308-5562.
  60. ^ Topham, John (1882). "Supposed Roman Remains Found Near Middleham". The Yorkshire Archæological and Topographic Journal. Yorkshire Archæological and Topographical Association. VII: 459–464.
  61. ^ Clark 1941, p. 226.
  62. ^ Roman Britain in 1940, pl. xiii.
  63. ^ Lomax 1995, pp. 25, 42.
  64. ^ "Royal Corps of Signals—Regular Army Emergency Commissions—2nd Lieutenants". The Quarterly Army List. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office: 692z. April 1941.
  65. ^ "No. 35082". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 February 1941. p. 1068.
  66. ^ "Royal Corps of Signals—Regular Army Emergency Commissions—2nd Lieutenants". The Quarterly Army List. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office (2): 693b. April 1944.
  67. ^ "Establishments—Educational and Training—School of Signals". The Quarterly Army List. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office: 2821. January 1944.
  68. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1989b, #5584.
  69. ^ a b c d e f Biddle 2015, p. 76.
  70. ^ a b c Bruce-Mitford 1989b, p. 13.
  71. ^ "Royal Corps of Signals—Regular Army Emergency Commissions—2nd Lieutenants". The Quarterly Army List. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office (2): 692z. April 1946.
  72. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1975, pp. xxxvii, 137.
  73. ^ a b c d e Bruce-Mitford 1989a.
  74. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 80.
  75. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1975, p. 228.
  76. ^ Biddle 2015, pp. 79–81.
  77. ^ Martin-Clarke 1947, p. 63 n.19.
  78. ^ "Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries". The Antiquaries Journal. London: Society of Antiquaries of London. XXVII (1–2): 112. January–April 1947. doi:10.1017/S0003581500017765.  
  79. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 79.
  80. ^ a b Biddle 2015, p. 81.
  81. ^ Magoun 1954, p. 117.
  82. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 82.
  83. ^ Bruce-Mitford, Rupert (April 1954). "Appointments". Personal Items. The Museums Journal. London: The Museums Association. 54 (1): 17.
  84. ^ "British Museum Changes". Manchester Guardian. No. 33, 499. Manchester. 9 March 1954. p. 5 – via  
  85. ^ "British Museum Staff Appointments". Manchester Guardian. No. 33, 634. Manchester. 14 August 1954. p. 10 – via  
  86. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1975, p. 230.
  87. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1975.
  88. ^ Biddle 2015, p. 83.
  89. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1978a.
  90. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1983a.
  91. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1983b.
  92. ^ Williams, Iolo (5 March 1955). "Search for Saint's Burial Place: Doubts Remain". Manchester Guardian. No. 33, 806. Manchester. p. 10 – via  
  93. ^ Bruce-Mitford 1976.
  94. ^ Bruce-Mitford & Bruce-Mitford 1970.
  95. ^ Oddy & Bruce-Mitford 1992.
  96. ^ Williams 1992.
  97. ^ a b c Biddle 2015, p. 84.
  98. ^ a b "Love story". Londoner's Diary. Evening Standard. No. 46, 923. London. 10 July 1975. p. 12 – via  
  99. ^ a b c d e Biddle 2015, p. 85.
  100. ^ Mullaly, Terence (5 April 1994). "Keeper of the death ship". Personal. The Guardian. Manchester. p. II-19.  


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