Dr Marie Clough, (1918-2011)

Marie Clough, who died in June 2011 at the age of 93, was a stalwart of the Sussex Record Society and also of the Chichester branch of the Historical Association. She was a valued member of both organisations and retained honorary posts in each until her death. Marie served as one of the Literary Directors of the Record Society between 1979 and 1985 having long before, in 1969, edited volume 67 of our series: Two Estate surveys of the Fitzalan earls of Arundel, 1300-1464. Renowned for her dry sense of humour and her cartoon doodling on committee papers, Marie was a rather reserved, private individual who said little about her relatively illustrious career. In fact she was one of a very small group of remarkable, very well educated women scholars. Marie trained as a teacher at Roehampton College between 1937 and 1940, where she was introduced to Froebel teaching methods. The war interrupted any thoughts of a career and she served in the Womens’ Land Army between 1942 and 1946. She later had the opportunity to attend Girton College, Cambridge and graduated with a 2:1 Honours degree in History in 1953; she then proceeded, very unusually for the times, to take a PhD under the supervision of the great Professor Postan, which she was awarded in 1957. Whilst at Cambridge she demonstrated political leanings that were to remain with her throughout her life, for in 1952 she became a member of the Keynes Society, an alumni society of Cambridge Liberal Democrats. Years later, after her retirement, she was to serve as a Liberal Councillor on the Chichester District Council for many years. Marie only ever worked part-time, and the first such episode was at the famous Benenden School for girls in Kent between 1957 and 1961. She obviously still felt the call to study, for amazingly for the times, she obtained a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to pursue her medieval studies; this lasted for one year between 1961 and 1962. Marie then went back to part-time teaching, this time at Midhurst Grammar School where she worked between 1962 and 1964. From 1964 until her retirement in 1977, Marie worked as a part-time History lecturer for the Bognor Regis Training College, which then became the West Sussex Institute of Higher Education and has since morphed into the University of Chichester. Marie was always suitably ‘tongue in cheek’ about her experiences in ‘higher education’ and stories of her teaching methods – particularly abandoning students to fend for themselves on field trips – are legendary. Yet, along with her great friends Dr Mary Hobbs and the redoubtable Betty Murray, Marie was a pillar of a number of local societies. She succeeded the latter as President of the Chichester branch of the Historical Association in 1966, served for one year, and then took up the post again in 1983, this time serving for much longer until 2001, when she moved to the ‘back benches’ with an honorary post. A keen naturalist, walker and traveller, Marie remained an intrepid outward bound enthusiast even when she was eventually confined to a motorised scooter terrorising people on the streets of Chichester. Her wisdom, wit, lightness of touch, and shrewd assessment of editors and projects will be greatly missed by this society.

Andrew Foster, 2012