T. C. Lethbridge


Thomas Charles Lethbridge (1901 – 1971), better known as T. C. Lethbridge, was an English archaeologist, parapsychologist, and explorer. Thomas was born on 23 March 1901 in Timberscombe and his family lived there until 1907. His parents, Violet Lethbridge (née Murdoch) and her husband Ambrose Lethbridge, were very wealthy and lived at Knowle House, where they employed seven servants.

T.C. Lethbridge was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, during the course of which he attended an expedition to Jan Mayen island, becoming part of the first group to successfully climb the Beerenberg. During the expedition, Lethbridge was also able to explore his growing interest in archaeology by excavating at an abandoned Eskimo settlement. The Times recognised the expedition as the mountaineering event of the year. After a failed second expedition to the Arctic Circle, he became involved in archaeology.

A specialist in Anglo-Saxon archaeology, he served as honorary Keeper of Anglo-Saxon Antiquities at the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology from 1923 to 1957. Over the course of his lifetime he wrote twenty-four books on various subjects, becoming particularly well known for his advocacy of dowsing. Lethbridge carried out a great number of excavations at various sites around Britain.

Over the course of his career at the museum, Lethbridge produced 60 archaeological reports. During the 1930’s he self-published a series of books featuring his own sketches and engravings of maritime scenes. He also deepened his interest in the paranormal during this period, coming to believe that an acquaintance of his was a genuine psychic and observing an unidentified flying object at Bracknell.

After resigning from the university museum in 1957, Lethbridge moved with his wife to Branscombe, Devon. There he devoted himself to researching paranormal phenomena, publishing a string of books on the subject aimed at a popular rather than academic audience. Most of this involved his research into the use of pendulums for dowsing, although in other publications he championed the witch-cult hypothesis of Margaret Murray, articulated the Stone Tape theory as an explanation for ghost sightings and argued that extraterrestrial species were involved in shaping human evolution.

Books written by T.C.Lethbridge:

Year of publication Title Publisher
1931 Recent Excavations in Anglo-Saxon Cemeteries in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk: A Report Cambridge Archaeological Society (Cambridge)
1933 Shanty Self-published
1933 Some West Country Coasters Self-published
1934 From Dublin to Elsinore in a Sailing Ship Self-published
1935 North About: Notes on a Passage from the Clyde to the Åland Islands Self-published
1936 Short Splices – Some Notes on Ships and Boats Self-published
1937 Umiak: The European Ancestry of the ‘Women’s Boat’ Self-published
1938 Fishermen of Durness Self-published
1939 Notes from Tili Self-published
1948 Merlin’s Island: Essays on Britain in the Dark Ages Methuen & Co. (London)
1950 Herdsmen and Hermits: Celtic Seafarers in the Northern Sea Bowes and Bowes (Cambridge)
1952 Coastwise Craft Methuen & Co (London)
1952 Boats and Boatmen Thames and Hudson (London)
1954 The Painted Men: A History of the Picts Andrew Melrose (London)
1957 Gogmagog: The Buried Gods Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1961 Ghost and Ghoul Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1962 Witches: Investigating an Ancient Religion Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1963 Ghost and Divining Rod Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1965 ESP: Beyond Time and Distance Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1967 A Step in the Dark Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1969 The Monkey’s Tail: A Study in Evolution and Parapsychology Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1972 The Legend of the Sons of God: A Fantasy? Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1976 The Power of the Pendulum Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)
1980 The Essential T.C. Lethbridge Routledge and Kegan Paul (London)

Information summarised from Wikapedia. To read the full article click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._C._Lethbridge