Ivor Noel-Hume OBE - OL Cameron (Tower-Grange at Courteen Hall) 1944

30th September 1927 -  4th February 2017

Ivor Noel-Hume died at his home in Virginia in February where he had been Director of the Archaeology department of Colonial Williamsburg.

Ivor was a prolific writer and wrote his autobiography, 'A Passion for the Past', in 2012. This book weaves his personal life and professional career into quite an extraordinary story.

Ivor came to St Lawrence College at Courteenhall in September 1941. He had been at Framlingham College prep school but left in 1939 and had lost five terms of education due to a series of disruptive wartime home moves. He brought to the school a creative and eccentric personality and directed and acted in two theatrical productions which were recorded in the school magazine. The first in Easter 1944 was a patriotic piece he wrote about vile Nazis in France called “He died before dinner” which had two performances. In December 1944 an adaption of “If” by Lord Dunsany was presented again on two nights.

While at Courteenhall he encountered his first thrill of archaeological discovery. He had seen from a top floor window “a curious phenomenon, a dark pattern resembling the ground pattern of a long building etched on the surface of grass wet and shining with dew.” It turned out to be where the medieval Courteenhall house had been before the eighteenth-century mansion was built. The college cricket pitch was near the site and while 'watching' a match he found (with a small excavation) a lead pencil of the kind used through the centuries on schoolboys' slates.

He left school in December 1944 to join the Indian Army. For medical reasons he never went to India and was discharged in June 1945. With introductory help from the actor Ralph Truman OL, he spent the next four years in a thespian career which was ended by the decline of live provincial theatre in Britain. His interest in archaeology brought him a job at the Guildhall Museum in 1949 where he worked until 1956 when he was recruited to Colonial Williamsburg. He was appointed Archaeological Director in 1957 and worked there until retirement in 1988.

He came to London in 1992 to be awarded the OBE for ‘services to British cultural interests in Virginia'.

Richard Graham  OL Manor 1942-1947


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