Arthur Rowledge

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Arthur John Rowledge
Born(1876-07-30)30 July 1876
Peterborough, England
Died11 December 1957(1957-12-11) (aged 81)
Derby, England
Known for
Scientific career

Arthur John Rowledge, MBE, FRS[1] (30 July 1876 – 11 December 1957) was an English engineer who designed the Napier Lion aero engine and was a key figure in the development of the Rolls-Royce Merlin.[2]


Rowledge was born in Peterborough, Northamptonshire in 1876, the son of John and Ann Rowledge. His father was described as a bricklayer in 1881.[3] At the time of the 1891 census, Rowledge was described as an Apprentice to Engineers Draughtsman[4] and in 1901 he was in Erith, Kent boarding at Rose Hill Villas, Bexley Road and described as a Mechanical Draughtsman.[5]

Arthur Rowledge joined Napier & Son in 1913 as Chief Designer. After designing car engines and the Napier Lion aero engine, Rowledge took up a similar position at Rolls-Royce Limited in 1921, where he became known as 'Rg' in company shorthand. He is credited with designing the Condor III, the Kestrel and the Rolls-Royce R racing engine, which was used with great success at the 1929 and 1931 Schneider Trophy races. Development work on the Merlin engine was one of his last contributions to aero engine design, along with responsibility for the Exe and Pennine projects, before retiring from Rolls-Royce in 1945 at the age of 70.[6][7][8]


Rowledge died on 11 December 1957, aged 81.[8]

Honours and awards[edit]



  1. ^ a b c Rubbra, A. A. (1958). "Arthur John Rowledge 1876-1957". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 4: 215. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1958.0019.
  2. ^ Lumsden 2003, p. 14.
  3. ^ 1881 Census of Peterborough, RG11/1594, Folio 20, Page 34, Arthur J Rowledge, 47 Gladstone Street, Peterborough.
  4. ^ 1891 Census of Peterborough, RG12/1228, Folio 78, Page 33, Arthur John Rowledge, 118 Gladstone Street, Peterborough.
  5. ^ 1901 Census of Dartford, RG13/699, Folio 108, Page 46, Arthur Rowledge, Rose Heath Villas, Bexley Road, Erith, Kent.
  6. ^ Pugh 2000, p. 318.
  7. ^ Lumsden 2003, p. 183.
  8. ^ a b c d Flight, 3 January 1958 Flightglobal. Retrieved 21 October 2009
  9. ^ "No. 31840". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 March 1920. p. 3858.


  • Lumsden, Alec. British Piston Engines and their Aircraft. Marlborough, Wiltshire: Airlife Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-85310-294-6.
  • Pugh, Peter. The Magic of a Name – The Rolls-Royce Story – The First 40 Years. Cambridge, England. Icon Books Ltd, 2000. ISBN 1-84046-151-9

Further reading[edit]

  • Rubbra, A.A. Rolls-Royce Piston Aero Engines – a designer remembers: Historical Series no 16 :Rolls Royce Heritage Trust, 1990. ISBN 1-872922-00-7

External links[edit]