December 4th J.C. Trewin (Birth)

          J.C. Trewin (1987)



John Courtenay, ‘J.C.’ Trewin (1908 – 1990) was born in Plymouth of Cornish parents.  His Gorran Haven – born father had been a maritime captain who, on retirement moved the family to The Lizard to a house which, thirty years later, became the holiday home of the aristocratic fascist, Colonel, The Master of Semple who was the first to land a plane on Scilly. Semple, notoriously, often accommodated Hitler’s foreign minister, Ribbentrop, who had decided to make St. Michael’s Mount his home after the Nazi’s defeat of Britain.

Educated at Plymouth College J.C. joined the ‘Western Morning News’ (1926) before moving to London to work on the ‘Morning Post’ and ‘The Observer’.  He transferred to the ‘Manchester Guardian’ whilst also continuing to write for ‘The Observer’ and served as their drama critic for over sixty years, becoming Britain’s foremost Shakespearean performance expert.  Hugely respected in theatre he was the best man at the wedding of the film star, Robert Donat. 

Married to a fellow critic, Wendy Monk (1915–2000), one of his sons, Ion, administered the man Booker Prize until his death in 2016.  J.C. wrote annual reviews of that year’s theatre productions and wrote extensively on Shakespeare as well as two volumes of autobiography ‘Down To The Lizard’ and ‘Up From The Lion’ about Cornish life which give a tremendous vision of a long gone community but beautifully describes a region which appears, essentially, unchanged to this day.





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