FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lord Raglan (author))
Jump to: navigation, search
Fitzroy Richard Somerset, Baron Raglan
Raglanlarge.jpg
Lord Raglan in front of Raglan Castle
Born Fitzroy Richard Somerset
(1885-06-10)10 June 1885
12 Albert Mansions, Victoria Street, Westminster
Died 14 September 1964(1964-09-14) (aged 79)
Cause of death Natural causes
Known for Soldier
Author
Amateur Anthropologist
Residence Cefntilla Court
Locality Llandenny, Monmouthshire, Wales
Predecessor George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan
Successor FitzRoy John Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan
Spouse(s) Julia Hamilton (1923–1964)
Issue Fitzroy Somerset
Janetta Somerset
FitzRoy John Somerset, 5th Baron Raglan
Geoffrey Somerset, 6th Baron Raglan
Cecily Somerset
Parents George Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan
Ethel Jemima Ponsonby

Fitzroy Richard Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan (10 June 1885 – 14 September 1964) was a British soldier, author, and amateur anthropologist. He is best known for his book The Hero, A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama in which he demonstrates that the life stories of many figures from myth and legend follow a common pattern of events, supporting his thesis that this pattern is drawn from the narrative of a ritual drama.

Life[edit]

FitRoy Richard Somerset, heir to the peerage title Baron Raglan, was born on 10 June 1885 to George Fitzroy Henry Somerset, 3rd Baron Raglan and his wife Lady Ethel Jemima Ponsonby.[1] He was educated at Eton and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and received a commission as Second lieutenant in the Militia regiment the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers on 10 June 1902.[2] In 1905 he entered the British Army and was commissioned in the Grenadier Guards. His military career included working as an aide-de-camp to the governor of Hong Kong, service in the Egyptian army from 1913 to 1919, district commissioner in Sudan and as a political officer in Palestine and Transjordan. In recognition of his services in Egypt he was made an Officer of the Order of the Nile.[3] He retired from the military in 1922 with the rank of major.[4]

With the death of his father in 1921, he assumed the title 4th Baron Raglan and, after retiring from the army, returned to his ancestral home, Cefntilla Court near Usk in Monmouthshire. He was very active in local affairs. He was a Justice of the Peace for the county as early as 1909 and served for twenty-one years (1928–49) as a member of the former Monmouthshire county council . He took a great interest in the Boy Scout movement and was county commissioner for Monmouthshire for twenty seven years (1927–54). He served as Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire from 1942 until 1964.[1]

During his life he studied and wrote on topics in areas such as anthropology, political science, and architecture. His interest in the antiquities of Monmouthshire led him to write, with Sir Cyril Fox, three volumes on the county's medieval and later domestic architecture. In 1933 he became president of Section H (Anthropology) of the British Association for the Advancement of Science , and from 1945 to 1947 he served as president of the Folklore Society . He was chairman of the art and archaeology committee of the National Museum of Wales (1949–51) and president of the National Museum of Wales from 1957 to 1962. He was also president of the Royal Anthropological Institute from 1955 to 1957.[3]

On 9 April 1923 Raglan married Julia Hamilton, daughter of Lt.-Col. Robert Hamilton-Udny, 11th Lord Belhaven and Stenton by his marriage to Kathleen Gonville Bromhead. The Lord and Lady Raglan had five children, the first of whom died a few days after birth.

Lady Raglan's also contributed to the study of folklore. In an article in the journal Folklore in 1939, she coined the term "Green Man" to describe the foliate heads found in English churches. Her theory on their origin is still debated.

Lord Raglan was also the source of various controversies over the course of his life. In 1938 he declared his wish to give up his job at the Ministry of Information on the grounds that he was not doing enough work to justify his salary. In 1958 he agitated Welsh nationalist feelings by declaring Welsh a ‘moribund’ language. Demands were made for his resignation from the National Museum of Wales, but he stood fast. (The motto of the Raglan barony is Mutare vel timere sperno: ‘I scorn to change or to fear’).[1][5]

Lord Raglan died on 14 September 1964[6] at age 79 and was buried in the family plot in the Church of St John, Llandenny.

Literary works[edit]

Lord Raglan was not only an active member of many societies and interested in administrative duties in national institutions but also published a number of books and papers on archaeology and anthropology. His first book, Jocasta's Crime – An Anthropological Study, a study of incest and incest taboos, was published in 1933. He followed with The Science of Peace, a work on the origin , development, and prevention of war.

Lord Raglan's most enduring work, The Hero, a Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama was published in 1936. The book's central thesis is that hero figures of mythology had their origin in ritual drama, not historical fact. In the book's most influential chapter, he outlined 22 common traits of god-heroes which he called the "mythic hero archetype". Raglan then encapsulates the lives of several heroes and awards points (marks) for thematic elements for a possible score of 22. He dissects Oedipus, Theseus, Romulus, Heracles, Perseus, Jason, Bellerophon, Pelops, Asclepios, Dionysos, Apollo, Zeus, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Watu Gunung, Nyikang, Sigurd or Siegfried, Llew Llawgyffes, Arthur, and Robin Hood. Oedipus earns the highest score with 21 marks.

Significantly, Raglan excludes Jesus from the study, even though Jesus matched a number of traits in lord Raglan.[7] Raglan later claimed to omit Jesus to avoid conflict with his original publisher.

Quotations[edit]

  • "Culture is roughly everything we do and monkeys don't."

Ancestry[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Jocasta's Crime: An Anthropological Study, Methuen (London), 1933, Fertig (New York, NY), 1991
  • The Science of Peace, Methuen, 1933, reprinted by Pierides Press, 2007 ISBN 978-1406789171
  • If I Were Dictator, Methuen, 1934 (contributor)
  • The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama, Methuen, 1936, reprinted by Dover Publication, 2011 ISBN 978-0486427089
  • How Came Civilisation?, Methuen, 1939
  • Death and Rebirth, C. A. Watts, 1945
  • The Origins of Religion, C. A. Watts, 1949
  • (With Cyril Fox) Monmouthshire Houses, Parts I-III, National Museum of Wales, 1951–54 ISBN 978-0720003987
  • The Temple and the House, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964, Norton (New York, NY), 1965

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Miller, Dean A. (2004). FitzRoy Richard, fourth Baron Raglan (1885–1964) (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 27441. p. 3755. 10 June 1902.
  3. ^ a b "Dictionary of Welsh Biography". The National Library of Wales. Retrieved 30 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Somerset, Fitzroy. The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama. Dover Publications. p. "About the Author". ISBN 978-0486427089. 
  5. ^ "Raglan Family Crest, Coat of Arms, and Family History". House of Names. Retrieved 31 January 2016. 
  6. ^ "Lord Raglan, Soldier, Author, Anthropologist" (182nd year – No. 200). The Glasgow Herald. 15 September 1964. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  7. ^ "Life events shared by Yeshua (Jesus) and the "Mythic Hero Archetype"". ReligiousTolerance.org. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sir Henry Mather-Jackson, Bt
Lord Lieutenant of Monmouthshire
1942–1964
Succeeded by
Edward Roderick Hill
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Fitzroy Henry Somerset
Baron Raglan
1921–1964
Succeeded by
FitzRoy Somerset