Welcome to what will become a celebration of the life and work of Miss Muriel St Clare Byrne, OBE, FSA, who was a highly respected historical researcher, writer and lecturer.

Muriel St Clare Byrne, in her 86th year

Muriel St Clare ByrneBorn in May 1895, and educated initially in Liverpool, Muriel studied for her degree at Somerville College, Oxford. She became an Army Education lecturer at Rouen during the latter stages of the First World War and then went on to lecture at Oxford and London Universities for nearly twenty years. In 1923, Muriel became a lecturer at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, a role she was to continue in for the next thirty years.

It was, however, her role as a writer that was to bring her to the attention of a much wider public audience, and she was responsible, either wholly or in part, for the following published works:

Somerville College 1879-1921 – published in 1922
The Elizabethan Home – published in 1925
Elizabethan Life in Town and Country – published in 1925
The Elizabethan Zoo – published in 1926
The Letters of King Henry VIII – published in 1936
Busman’s Honeymoon – published in 1937
Common or Garden Child – published in 1942
Shakespeare in His Own Age – published in 1964
A Victorian Playgoer – published in 1980
The Lisle Letters – published in 1981

Whilst Busman’s Honeymoon differs in that it was a play, which Muriel co-authored with her friend Dorothy L Sayers, the six-volume edition of The Lisle Letters is without a doubt Muriel’s greatest work and one for which she will be best remembered. Arthur Plantagenet, Lord Lisle, was Henry VIII’s Lord Deputy of Calais from 1533 to 1540, and Muriel spent nearly fifty years studying the three thousand letters relating to Lord Lisle’s time in Calais. In The Lisle Letters, Muriel has linked together one thousand seven hundred of those letters to provide a gloriously rich and detailed commentary on what was one of the most important periods of English history.

Muriel died on 2nd December 1983 at the age of 88.

Over the coming years, this web site will be developed to provide a detailed analysis of Muriel St Clare Byrne’s written work together with a portrait of her own life.

Meanwhile, if you have any information on Muriel that you would like to share with the wider world through the medium of this web site, please contact Paul Wood at

Web site launched: January 2010