Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre

Kevin Sharpe mourns the loss of an historian who wrote and made history.

On 26th January, Lord Dacre of Glanton, former master of Peterhouse and Regius Professor at Oxford, the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper died, aged eighty-nine. Just as he acquired more than one name, so he had different roles and personae. There was Dacre the public figure, the peer and Director of Times Newspapers, the man of affairs who spoke out to denounce the revised Prayer Book, to defend the Union, and to support his friend and pupil President Bhutto of Pakistan. There was Trevor-Roper, the intelligence officer, and former associate of Philby, who remained fascinated by spies and impostors and the process of detecting and exposing them. There was Trevor-Roper the journalist and controversialist who published articles and letters which clarified an issue in pelucid and elegant prose and sometimes clinically demolished a case. There was Trevor-Roper the academic politician, the controversial choice for the Regius Chair at Oxford and the unexpected choice for the Mastership of Peterhouse, who, while being at its centre, seemed always to view the academic establishment with ironic detachment and excoriated its follies and corruptions - notably in the hilarious satires on All Souls, pseudonymously published as The Letters of Mercurius Oxoniensis.

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