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Boston College collection of Ronald Arbuthnott Knox and Wilfred L. Knox

Collection MS-2004-051: Boston College collection of Ronald Arbuthnott Knox and Wilfred L. Knox


  • Creation: 1914 - 1919

Scope and Contents

These papers contain drafts of British Catholic priest, author, and lecturer Ronald Arbuthnott Knox's autobiography A Spiritual Aeneid (1918) and a published copy of his satricial pamphlet Reunion All Round (1914). They also include a typescript by an unknown author, entitled "Why Stand You Here?", which is a critique of Anglo-Catholic priest and theologian Wilfred L. Knox’s work Friend, I do thee no wrong: three sermons on the Church of England.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note: Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

Ronald Arbuthnott Knox was an Anglican-turned-Catholic priest, theologian, author, radio personality, and brother of Wilfred Lawrence Knox.

The youngest child of Anglican rector Edmund Arbuthnott Knox and his first wife Ellen Penelope French, Ronald Knox was born on February 17, 1888, at Kibworth rectory, Leicestershire, England. He attended Eton (1900-1906) and Oxford's Balliol College (1906-1910).

The "High Church" Anglicanism from his days at Eton influenced him. While at Oxford, he attended services with the Crowley Fathers and confessed at Pusey House. In 1911 he was ordained an Anglican deacon and, a year later, took orders as a priest. Yet in 1917 he converted to Catholicism and resigned; a move so controversial his father disinherited him. Knox taught Latin at the Catholic St. Edmund's College, and in 1919 he was ordained a Catholic priest. His autobiographical book Spiritual Aeneid, (1918) was an account of his religious experience.

In 1926, Knox was appointed to the Catholic chaplaincy at Oxford. He began writing stories featuring a fictional detective Miles Bredon, and their revenue provided him with a living allowance. In 1936 he was appointed domestic prelate to the pope and made a monsignor.

Knox remained in the chaplaincy until just before the outbreak of World War II, when he resigned to dedicate himself to his literary work and took a less-demanding chaplaincy at Aldenham Park in Shropshire. His project, a translation of the Bible moving from the Latin Vulgate to English, was published in 1945 and later known as the “Knox Bible.” In 1947, he moved to a chaplaincy at Mells Manor, Somerset, where he lived and worked until the time of his death from cancer in 1957.


Knox, Ronald. A Spiritual Aeneid. Burns, Oats: London, 1958.

"Ronald A. Knox." Dictionary of National Biography 1951-1960. Oxford University Press: London, 1971.

"Ronald A. Knox." New Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol. VIII). The Catholic University of America: Washington D.C., 1967.

"Ronald A. Knox." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online). Accessed on March 14, 2005.

Waugh, Evelyn. The Life of Ronald Knox. Collins: Glasgow, 1962.

Biographical note: Wilfred L. Knox

Wilfred Lawrence Knox was an Anglican priest, theologian, and brother of Ronald Arbuthnott Knox.

Born May 21, 1886, at Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire, England, as the fourth of six children of Edmund Arbuthnott Knox (suffragan bishop of Coventry and later Anglican Bishop of Manchester) and Ellen Penelope French.

Knox studied at Trinity College, Oxford, receiving a degree in classics in 1909. He studied theology at St. Anselm's College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1915. Although he had Anglo-Catholic leanings, unlike his brother Ronald, he did not convert to Catholicism; instead he remained within the Anglican Church arguing for the distinctions he perceived between Anglo-Catholicism and Roman Catholicism. Knox wrote a number of books, including The Catholic Movement in the Church of England (1923); St Paul and the Church of Jerusalem (1925); Meditation and Mental Prayer (1927); One God and Father of All (with Eric Milner-White, 1929); The Development of Modern Catholicism (with Alec Vidler, 1933); and St Paul and the Church of the Gentiles (1939).

Knox received his Doctor of Divinity in 1945, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1948. He died of cancer in 1950, while still working on The Sources of the Synoptic Gospels, which was published posthumously.


Watson, Natalie K. "Knox, Wilfred Lawrence (1886–1950)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004; online edition, January 2009.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Papers pertaining to British Catholic priest, author, and lecturer Ronald Arbuthnott Knox and his brother, Anglican priest and theologian Wilfred L. Knox. Includes a manuscript of Ronald Arbuthknott's autobiography A Spiritual Aeneid (1918) and a published copy of his satricial pamphlet Reunion All Round (1914), as well as a critique of Wilfred's work Friend, I do thee no wrong: three sermons on the Church of England by an unknown author, entitled "Why Stand You Here?"

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Richard O'Brien, before 2004.

Boston College Collection of Ronald Arbuthnott Knox and Wilfred L. Knox
Richard Ford Burley and Lynn Moulton
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States