Cyril Fox

British archaeologist (1882–1967)

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Cyril Fox


Four Elms, in Rhiwbina Garden Village, Cardiff, carries a Blue plaque commemorating Fox’s occupancy
Born (1882-12-16)16 December 1882

Died 15 January 1967(1967-01-15) (aged 84)

Exeter, Devon, England
Spouse(s) 1. Olive Congreve-Pridgeon (d. 1932)
2. Aileen Mary Henderson
Children 2 daughters, 3 sons
Scientific career
Fields Archaeology, museum director
Institutions National Museum of Wales

Sir Cyril Fred Fox FSA FBA MRIA[1] (16 December 1882[2] – 15 January 1967) was an English archaeologist and museum director.

Fox became keeper of archaeology at the National Museum of Wales, and subsequently served as director from 1926 to 1948. His most notable achievements were collaborative. With his second wife, Aileen Fox, he surveyed and excavated several prehistoric monuments in Wales.[3] With Iorwerth Peate, he established the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans, and with Lord Raglan, he authored a definitive history of vernacular architecture, Monmouthshire Houses.

Early life[edit]

Sir Cyril Fred Fox was born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, and his first job, at the age of 16, was as a gardener. He was educated at Christ’s Hospital school.[4] He served as a clerk in a government commission on tuberculosis and then as director of a small research station in Cambridge. He moved to work part-time for the university’s museum of archaeology and anthropology, and in 1919 was admitted to Magdalene College, Cambridge, as a part-time student of archaeology, at first reading for the newly-founded English tripos. Spotted by Professor H. M. Chadwick, he was soon allowed to proceed straight to doctoral study, and in 1922 he completed a Ph.D thesis entitled Archaeology of the Cambridge Region.[5] This work was published under the same title in 1923, and met with immediate success, with his election to a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in the same year.


In 1922, he was appointed curator of archaeology at the National Museum of Wales by his close friend Mortimer Wheeler and in 1926 succeeded Wheeler as its Director. He produced a remarkable range of publications. They include The Personality of Britain (1932), drawing attention to the differences between upland and lowland Britain; Offa’s Dyke (1955), a seminal study of that great earthwork, and studies on Celtic Art, on the major discovery of early ironwork at Llyn Cerrig Bach in Anglesey; and Monmouthshire Houses, co-authored with Lord Raglan. For his administrative and scholarly work he gained a wide range of honours, including a knighthood (1935) and Fellowship of the British Academy (1940). Together with his colleague Nash-Williams at the Museum of Wales, he collaborated with the artist Alan Sorrell on reconstruction drawings of the Roman excavations at Caerwent which were published in the Illustrated London News 1937–1942. Among other achievements, he encouraged his colleague Iorwerth Peate in the development of what became in 1946, under Peate’s direction, the Welsh Folk Museum at St Fagans, near Cardiff (now the St Fagans National History Museum).[6][7][5]

Personal life[edit]

Fox married firstly, Olive Congreve-Pridgeon, with whom he had two daughters. After her death in 1932, he married Aileen Scott-Henderson, another archaeologist. They had three sons.[8] The family lived at Four Elms, a house in Rhiwbina Garden Village, in the north of Cardiff from 1928 until Fox’s retirement in 1948.[9] They then moved to Exeter, Devon, following Aileen’s appointment to a post at the University of Exeter. Fox died in 1967.[10]


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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}“Fox, Sir Cyril Fred”. Who’s Who. A & C Black. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Antiquaries Journal, Volume 47, Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1967, p. 337
  3. ^ Charles Scott-Fox Cyril Fox, Archaeologist Extraordinary Oxbow Books, Oxford, 2002. ISBN 1842170805
  4. ^ National Library of Wales (2013). “Sir Cyril Fox Papers”. Archives Wales. Archived from the original on 6 September 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b “Fox, Sir Cyril Fred (1882–1967), archaeologist and museum director”. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2009. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33230. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig 1951–1970 (London 1997)
  7. ^ National Welsh Biography (1951–1971)
  8. ^ “Sir Cyril Fred Fox (1882–1967), Director of the National Museum of Wales, 1926–1948”. Dictionary of Welsh Biography. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  9. ^ “Fourth Blue plaque at 17, Heol Wen”. Rhiwbina Civic Society. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  10. ^ “Rhiwbina’s Blue Plaque Club”. Rhiwbina Living magazine. December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2021.

External links[edit]