– notes, frequently asked questions and useful links from the archivist and curator of manuscripts at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Opinions expressed are the author's own.

exhibition archive – RL Nettleship

This article was originally on the Balliol Archives & Manuscripts website.

Richard Lewis Nettleship (1846-1892), philosopher


NettleshipRL-18-08Richard Lewis Nettleship was born 17 December 1846, the 5th son of Henry John Nettleship, solicitor, of Kettering. He was educated at Uppingham School [which has a Nettleship Society] and came up to Balliol on a scholarship in 1865 to read Litterae Humaniores (Greats). His second-class degree belies his undergraduate achievements; he was awarded the Hertford Scholarship in 1866, Ireland Scholarship 1867, Gaisford Verse Prize 1868, Craven Scholarship 1870 and the Arnold Prize 1873. He rowed for the College in NettleshipRL-26-056Torpids and Eights. He was made a Fellow of Balliol upon graduating in 1869 and Classical Tutor in 1871. The following year he held the post of Junior Dean, and he was also a Classical Examiner in the University. He published on Platonic philosophy and edited the Collected Works of TH Green, a Balliol colleague. He died of exposure on 25 August 1892 while attempting an ascent of Mont Blanc. The Nettleship Scholarship in music, which is still awarded annually, was founded at Balliol by his friends in his memory.

NettleshipRL-18-10NettleshipRL-26-010In the archives (MBP 32) is a typewritten account of Nettleship’s death on Mont Blanc by GR Benson, 1st Baron Charnwood, one of Nettleship’s students, later a colleague as a Lecturer at Balliol and co-editor of Nettleship’s Philosophical Lectures and Remains. online here

Notes, chiefly from the narrative of his guides, relating to the death of RL Nettleship, published in the Westminster Gazette, 10 July 1982..


More information

NettleshipRL-26-011Bradley, A.C. and G. R. Benson, eds. Philosophical lectures and remains of Richard Lewis Nettleship. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1897.

RL Nettleship’s entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is available online throughout the Oxford network and by subscription.

Another account of the fatal climb was published in the Westminster Gazette, 10 July 1893. A copy is in the archives (MBP 32.6)

NettleshipRL-26-014Balliol Library, Jowett Papers:

I/F12/23: To Mrs. I[lbert]. n.a., Aug 1892, [1 leaf], extracts only. On the death of Nettleship.

I/H67 f54-54v, notes on conversation with RL Nettleship 1886

I/H81 f37-9 [Notes for sermon (?) on the death of] R.L. N[ettleship] 1892/3

III/M126 Letter to Robert Morier. Balliol, 6 Oct 1892, Balliol, ALS [1 leaf]. Reflections on the deaths of Tennyson and Nettleship.

III/N268 n.a., [1 Dec 1869], ALS [1 leaf]. Nettleship, who reminds BJ a little of Clough, has been elected Fellow of Balliol.

NettleshipRL-26-017IV/B5/12 BJ to A.C. Tait. Oxford, 18 Oct 1870 [2 leaves]. BJ is petitioning the Visitor to end restrictions on electing only those in orders to Fellowships. There are not enough good tutors at present, with the honourable exceptions of Green and Nettleship. The resolutions were convincingly carried by the Fellows. Hopes that Tait approves of this. [Tait Papers, vol. 88, fols. 165-7]

A useful bibliography, compiled by Dr Colin Tyler of the Centre for Democratic Governance, University of Hull, is available online here.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s